ASHBURN, Va. — For the record, Robert Griffin III said Wednesday that his thigh bruise was unrelated to any of the highly scrutinized plays on which he opted to slide — or not slide.
While RG3 said the thigh felt "great," the third-year quarterback of the Washington Redskins again was peppered with questions about his performance in a preseason game two nights earlier against the Cleveland Browns in which his efforts at self-protection (or lack thereof) drew more scrutiny.
"It's stuff that you learn from, and I'll learn from. I'm out there running and doing the stuff and playing the game, and I'll get better at getting down to get out of harm's way," Griffin told the media at his locker stall.
In just over a quarter of play in the Redskins' 24-23 win, Griffin made what he called a "bad" attempt at a slide, a scramble on which he was hit by three Browns before getting knocked out of bounds (he said he attempted to slide too late) and a third slide he described as a successful.
"That intensity you have for the game makes you who you are. It's just for me, the second game of preseason, I just can't do that," he said of his mixed results with sliding. "I acknowledge that ... with my teammates, with the coaches and with the fans. So I understand that, and I'll continue to get better at managing those situations."
Has Griffin, who had reconstructive knee surgery following his rookie season in 2012, practiced sliding?
"I slid in training camp practice. ... My last slide (against the Browns) was a successful slide, got out of harm's way," he said, even though that last slide did resemble a bit of a quick tumble.
"I know people saws me get up limping," said Griffin, clarifying he'd earlier been kneed on a sack. "That was where I got the bruised thigh. It wasn't from the slide.
"I understand the concern. ... So don't worry. I'm taking heed to it. I understand the process."
Against Cleveland, RG3 completed six of eight passes for 112 yards and ran four times for 24 more, including an 18-yard scramble. But he was also intercepted on a third-down play from the Cleveland 27-yard line and charged with a fumble on an attempted pitchout to running back Alfred Morris.
Griffin also drew two penalties for false starts after allegedly moving too much while he was calling signals.
"I mean, any time you're going to say a hard count (aimed at drawing the defense across the line of scrimmage), I mean I can yell at you guys, and I'll move a little bit," said Griffin. "But I don't know. I don't want to say whether it was a good call or not. It's just, hey, he called it. He threw the flag. And me, I've just got to make sure I stand as still as a statue."
Griffin said he and new coach Jay Gruden have discussed the interception, which occurred on an attempted pass to DeSean Jackson before being pilfered by Pro Bowl Browns cornerback Joe Haden.
"It's a ball I can't throw. I can't throw it late. I talked to coach, I watched the film, and that's the take that we had from it," said Griffin.
The Redskins play their third preseason game Saturday night against the Baltimore Ravens. Washington's starters will get more playing time.
On Griffin's final series against Cleveland, Morris was stopped on a fourth-and-goal run from the 1-yard line early in the second quarter. It initially was ruled a touchdown, but the play was overturned on replay. So Washington's first-team offense ended with a scoreless night.
"We just can't continue to shoot ourselves in the foot with turnovers and penalties, and we'll get better in that this week," said Griffin.
"We made some throws, made some great catches. ... We've just got score points."
Gruden fielded multiple questions about Griffin's ability to slide.
"Robert can't slide?" Gruden said with a smile.
He was asked if it's a legitimate concern or something that's unnecessarily been made into a big deal.
"Robert sliding is only a big deal if he gets injured in the process," said Gruden. "I've seen guys get hurt trying to slide. One time, I actually broke my wrist trying to slide."
Gruden played quarterback for Louisville and in the Arena Football League and acknowledged there are appropriate times to slide.
"He has to understand — and he does understand — that quarterback position is very important ... and we need him healthy for 16 weeks," said Gruden. "So if he has the opportunity to take any hit off of him, and slide to play another play and not risk taking an injury, that's what he needs to do."
Gruden didn't totally rule out potentially bringing in a baseball player to refine Griffin's sliding technique. But he also pointed out there are situations when it's tough to slide.
"Now if it's fourth-down-and-8, and the game is on the line in the fourth quarter, I don't want him sliding for a 5-yard gain and lose the game," said Gruden. "He's going to have to take his risks.
He's the quarterback. He's going to make those decisions."
Follow Gary Mihoces on Twitter @ByGaryMihoces
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