RGIII wants to be ready by training camp start

ASHBURN -- Robert Griffin III continued to throw during practice; he continued to run and he continued to be optimistic about his chances for being ready at the start of the season. That's why, when asked if the start of training camp was a realistic possibility for his return, Griffin didn't hesitate.

"Without a doubt," Griffin said.

Griffin, who underwent surgery on his right knee Jan. 9 to reconstruct his ACL as well as repair his MCL and LCL, obviously must first be cleared by doctors. But Griffin is encouraged by his progress -- he was planting and throwing off his back foot more during practice than he had been the first two weeks.

Add it up and it makes sense that his goal is to be ready July 25 when camp begins.

"One, it's a mindset, and two, it's how I felt and how it's progressed," Griffin said. "Over the last three weeks, I've had a lot of progress and I feel a lot better. I feel really good about that and the start of the season is even farther than that. I feel good about that. That's why I say without a doubt."

Griffin said the target date is not only realistic, but the right one -- despite a fan base that would like even more caution.

"It's the right target if I'm healthy," he said. "If I'm ready to go Week 1, then I'll play. If I'm not ready to go, then I can swallow my pride and not play. It's that simple. ... If there's an ounce of doubt or a minor setback, then I won't play."

Thursday, Griffin ran laps around the field with rookie tight end Jordan Reed as the rest of the team practiced. They also ran sprints. There was a noticeable difference in how he was throwing, not doing so off his front foot as much as in the first two weeks of OTAs. Griffin said coaches told him he ran more fluidly. However, he walked with a slight limp at times.

"I started throwing on the run a lot more, doing a lot more plant throws out of the play action, the type of throws that we do in our offense," he said. "That's the encouraging part. I've also bumped up the long-distance running. That's all good. I'm feeling more comfortable doing everything, and the coaches are saying that I look a lot better when they do get to sneak a peek in there. They say I look a lot more comfortable throwing the ball, look relaxed, and it shows."

Griffin said he still needs to test himself by cutting, which he'll start to do before training camp. It's a big hurdle, but one of the final ones.

Redskins coach Mike Shanahan likes Griffin's goal of a return date, but with an asterisk.

"I don't think anybody knows for sure," Shanahan said. "You always want someone to have goals, that's for sure. You want him to come back as soon as he's ready to go, but the doctors have to OK him."