McCloughan likes what he saw from RG3 in exhibition opener

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) After Washington Redskins coach Jay Gruden's public criticism of Robert Griffin III last season, it sure sounds as if there is a concerted effort to say mostly nice things about the quarterback nowadays.

And not just on Gruden's part. General manager Scot McCloughan, too.

In a brief meeting with reporters after a morning walkthrough at training camp Sunday, McCloughan was asked about Griffin's performance against the Cleveland Browns in Washington's first exhibition game.

''Liked it a lot. Liked it a lot. I see improvement. Liked it a lot,'' McCloughan said. ''I see confidence. I see ball out on time. I see a good football player.''

Griffin played only in the first quarter Thursday night at Cleveland, going 4 for 8 for 36 yards, plus one run for 3 yards. A potential long completion was dropped by receiver Pierre Garcon.

Backup Kirk Cousins was 12 for 14 for 154 yards passing, plus a rushing touchdown.

''Offensively, the second year with Jay's system, the quarterbacks are getting better,'' McCloughan said. ''The whole package is going the right direction.''

When Gruden was asked about Griffin's play against the Browns, he said: ''I just think his comfort in the pocket looked a little bit better. ... We still have a long way to go to grade him, but we're happy with his progress.''

Gruden added a moment later: ''We've just got to continue to work with him and be positive and go from there.''

Quite a contrast from last season. Just one example: Gruden's unforgiving assessment after a loss to Tampa Bay dropped Washington to 3-7 along the way to 4-12.

''Robert had some fundamental flaws,'' Gruden said then. ''He did. His footwork was below average. He took three-step drops when he should have taken five. He took a one-step drop when he should have taken three, on a couple occasions, and that can't happen. He stepped up when he didn't have to step up and stepped into pressure. He read the wrong side of the field a couple times. So, from his basic performance, just critiquing Robert, it was not even close to being good enough to what we expect from that quarterback position.''

On Sunday, McCloughan and Gruden were among Redskins staff members watching as two tight ends worked out in hopes of getting signed. One did get added to the roster: Ernst Brun, who played college football at Iowa State. And later Sunday, the team worked out and signed yet another tight end, D.J. Williams, who has nine career NFL catches - none since 2012.

Washington is in need of depth at the position after season-ending injuries to Niles Paul (ankle) and Logan Paulsen (toe), who were put on injured reserve Sunday. Running back Silas Redd, who tore knee ligaments against Cleveland, was waived-injured.

The GM was asked about the possibility of bringing back former Redskins tight end Chris Cooley, who hasn't played in the NFL since he had one catch in 2012 and is now a 33-year-old radio host.

''I'm not going there,'' McCloughan said. ''Chris Cooley, he's a really good Redskin. He's part of the Redskins still. I'm not going there.''

Note: CB DeAngelo Hall injured a toe on his left foot late in practice and was being evaluated.

---

Follow Howard Fendrich on Twitter at http://twitter.com/HowardFendrich

---

Online:

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and AP NFL Twitter feed: www.twitter.com/AP-NFL

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide—from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Andy Staples, Grant Wahl, and more—delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.