RICHMOND, Va. — When the Patriots and Redskins suited up for a joint practice Monday morning, Robert Griffin III was all business. This was not the time to be fraternizing with Tom Brady.
“That’s not really time for us to watch him like we’re at a zoo and try to figure out things that they’re doing,” the Redskins quarterback said following practice. “I will evaluate them because that’s what quarterbacks do, but at the same time, I’m still focused on what we’re doing as an offense.”
RG3, though, did make sure to say hello to Brady in the Redskins’ training camp facility before practice, and has nothing but the utmost respect for him. Griffin said Brady gave him some encouraging words about coming back from his knee injury, which hindered Griffin last year in his second NFL season as the Redskins went 3-13.
“I got a chance to talk to Tom,” said Griffin. “He’s been saying that he’s been in the same offense for 15 years, which is astounding. That’s amazing.
“[He] said this is only my third year, said I have a lot of football left in me, and that’s great coming from a guy like him. I appreciate that.
“Hopefully I get a chance to sit down with him if he’s not too busy. We’ll both be watching a lot of film and getting ready for tomorrow’s practice. Hopefully I get that chance.”
“It’s enjoyable to come out here and work with a guy that’s been the best for a long time.”
Griffin said he enjoyed the competition Monday between his receivers and New England’s Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner, whom he called “two of the best corners in the game.” He especially had nice things to say about Revis, whom he didn’t face in his first two NFL seasons.
“He’s a good corner,” Griffin said. “Quick feet, understands the game, understands concepts, he breaks on things. There’s a couple that he knocked down today, and there’s a couple that we got him on.
“At the same time, you have to throw at him because you don’t want to just isolate one side of the field. And then the luxury the Pats have is they have Browner on the other side, who is amazing.”
Redskins first-year coach Jay Gruden said he, too, was a little bit in awe of watching Brady at practice on Monday.
“Just the way he conducts his business and the pro that he is. Any time you have a chance to watch him first-hand, it’s fun to watch,” Gruden said. “He’s definitely got total control over the offense, and that’s one thing we want to get Robert to.”
The Patriots said hello to a familiar face in Redskins safety Brandon Meriweather, New England’s first-round pick in 2007 and a Pro Bowler in 2009 and 2010.
Meriweather started 40 games for the Patriots in four years and had 12 interceptions, but the team chose not to re-sign him after the 2010 season. He played for the Bears for one year and is now entering his third season with the Redskins.
Meriweather said he still considers Vince Wilfork like a big brother and is in constant communication with Devin McCourty, but he isn’t getting misty-eyed this week about his Patriots tenure.
“I’ve moved past it,” he said. “I’m having fun being a Redskin. I’m a professional, they’re just another team. I’m a Washington Redskin now, and that’s all that matters.”
Meriweather had nice words to say about Brady, saying that “going up against Tom is a great way for anybody to get better.” He also talked a lot of smack to his former teammates Monday, although only seven players on the Patriots offense were with the team in Meriweather’s last season.
“I talk junk to my own teammates — you don’t think I’m going to talk junk to everyone else?” he quipped.
Wilfork, also Meriweather’s teammate at the University of Miami, laughed off Meriweather’s smack talk.
“Yeah, that’s Brandon,” said Wilfork. “That’s Meriweather, from Hurricanes all the way to New England Patriots all the way to Washington Redskins, he’s the same guy.
“Some people run their mouth, some people just play, he does both. You just have to know what you’re dealing with when you’re dealing with Brandon.”
The Patriots have been fortunate on the injury front so far during camp, but there was a noticeable absence Monday: tight end Rob Gronkowski, who hadn’t missed a day of practice until this point while he comes back from a torn ACL and MCL.
But Gronkowski hasn’t suffered any setback in his rehab, according to a league source. He has not been participating in any full-contact drills in camp, and the team simply decided to leave him back in Foxborough and let him work with the training staff instead of subjecting him to the physical practices with the Redskins.
Tight end Michael Hoomanawanui also was left back in New England, but another source said the injury he suffered 10 days ago isn’t serious. Tight ends D.J. Williams and Justin Jones got in a ton of work with the offense Monday with Gronkowski and Hoomanawanui out.