September 7, 2012 | By Bill Miller | email@example.com
Forty-eight hours before the Washington Redskins' season kickoff in New Orleans on Sunday, general manager Bruce Allen declined to predict how many games the team would win this year at a National Press Club luncheon Sept. 7.
But he was quick to promise that Redskin fans will be captivated by the team’s heralded new quarterback, Robert Griffin III.
“This is a quarterback you’re gonna love,” Allen said, extolling the team’s No. 1 draft pick from Baylor University who last fall won the Heisman Trophy as the nation’s outstanding collegiate player.
Fans will embrace him not only as a player, “but as a person,” Allen said of Griffin, who around Washington already is known as RGIII.
Although he wouldn’t discuss the outlook for this season, Allen said that the addition of Griffin – along with several other new offensive players – is designed to provide the Redskins “consistency over the next decade.”
A regular Super Bowl contender -- and three-time winner -- in the 1970s, '80s and early '90s, the team’s last playoff appearance and winning season was five years ago.
“I can promise you one thing," Allen said about this year. "We will play 60 minutes of football every game.”
Dismissing statistics showing that quarterbacks fresh out of college historically struggle in their rookie year in the National Football League, Allen said that “you can’t look at the past and make predictions about what will happen now.”
He noted that New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez recently was successful in his first season.
Allen and Head Coach Mike Shanahan shook the football world last spring by trading four first-round picks in the NFL draft for the right to select Griffin. No more trades are imminent, Allen indicated.
Barring major injuries, he said, “The roster we have now will be our roster for the season. We will always listen to trade possibilities, but now we will go with what we’ve got.”
Entering his fourth season as the Redskins’ general manager, Allen devoted all but five minutes of his appearance to giving rapid-fire responses to questions.
Among other things, he:
- Expressed confidence that the league will reach agreement with its referees’ union in their deadlocked labor negotiations, which are forcing it to open the season with replacement officials. “But I don’t know when,” he said.
- Hailed improving technology that is helping prevent head injuries – a subject of a spate of lawsuits from former players against the NFL.
- Said the Redskins’ recent announcement that it will hold its 2013 training camp in Richmond, Va., “is a great way to reach out” to fans “in our entire territory.”
- Denied that competition from the surging Washington Nationals baseball team, which likely will play post-season games early in the Redskins’ season, will hurt his team. “We’re excited for them,” he said.
- Said he “doesn’t reject anything” that his dad, former Redskins Hall-of-Fame Coach George Allen, taught him. And, he said, his brother, former Virginia governor and U.S. Sen. George Allen, “does point out mistakes we make.”