The Redskins did a lot of scout team work and the starters did not work as much against each other as they had in the past. Not a lot of great action. So here’s just a few thoughts on Robert Griffin III:
1. Though Griffin hasn’t always looked sharp it’s way too early to think anything other than this: He’s a rookie. Yes, you’d love to see a guy come in and instantly be on-target all the time. But that’s asking a lot for a rookie quarterback. Keep in mind, too, that when Griffin has held the ball too long more often than not it’s on straight drop-backs from under center (and off fakes). He rarely did this in college. He rarely had to make reads the way he’s asked to do now. There are many parts of the game that are new to him.
2. The Redskins need to get him ready for the drop-back game. There’s the thing. We don’t always know the intentions of the plays in practice. We just see the end results. So we see a guy struggling to get rid of the ball in certain looks. Even if the coaches see this it may not have the same impact. They’ll adjust their play-calls accordingly. It’s likely that Griffin will have issues with this during games (and a banged-up line needs him to make fast decisions). It’s also likely that they’ll try to get some rhythm going for him Thursday (and protect him) with a lot of quick throws. He looked better in practice Tuesday, though it was typically vs. the second defense or the scout team. In warm-ups he was better. In the 11-on-11 and scout team work he was more relaxed and decisive with his throws. Not as much play-action fakes either. Yes, a lot of quick throws. Also, the Redskins clearly will do what Carolina did and incorporate as much as they can from Griffin’s Baylor days. They’re not going to put him in positions to fail. Not if they like their jobs.
3. I don’t know what sort of pro Griffin eventually will become. I don’t know if he’ll always have trouble holding the ball too long. I do know that he’s: smart, talented and works hard. The Redskins aren’t blowing smoke when they discuss his work ethic. Players privately rave about how Griffin works. “You can tell whatever time he had away from here, he was taking care of business,” receiver Santana Moss said. Another veteran said, “His work ethic is phenomenal. A lot of people were in the lounge the other day; he’s studying.”
4. And that’s the one group of people you can’t fool, your teammates. Two years ago Donovan McNabb had the outside world fooled perhaps, but not players at Redskins Park. They saw immediately that he struggled with the plays (I’d heard rumors from league sources about his difficult picking up the offense by mid-August). One veteran said, “Oh, you see it too?” when talking about the difference between Griffin and McNabb’s approach and practice success. Griffin hasn’t tried to fool anyone; he’s done what’s asked.
5. It will take some time to draw a strong conclusion on Griffin and Thursday only provides a small window into what he’ll eventually do. Remember that: a small window. Twelve to 20 plays at the beginning of a career. I’m like everyone else, curious to see what Griffin does. I’m curious to see how much of what we’ve seen in practice carries over into the game. I’m curious to see how another team defends him, too. Will the Bills control the edges to force him up the middle? Will he run (then again, why show it now)? Will he throw downfield much vs. them? I know he said Monday that the Redskins’ defense is not giving them the deep ball, but Rex Grossman has taken shots downfield. Time to find out.
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