Rick Snider: Redskins' RG3 needs some more target practice

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Sports,NFL,Redskins,Rick Snider

Saturday's game against the Chicago Bears will be more about finding a comfort zone than the end zone for Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III.

The rookie's impressive debut against Buffalo on Aug. 9 was a three-series snapshot of the team's most hyped player ever. Griffin will play the first half vs. the Bears hoping to add a few receivers alongside Pierre Garcon on his favorites list.

As expected, Garcon emerged as Griffin's top target after catching three passes for 58 yards and one touchdown vs. the Bills. But then that's why the Redskins signed him in free agency.

"We are looking to grow together as a quarterback and receiver," Griffin said. "Of course I am going to have chemistry with him. Hopefully, I can have that same type of chemistry with Santana [Moss], [Leonard] Hankerson and the rest of those guys as well."

Having multiple targets was a key to the Redskins' three Super Bowl championships. Quarterback Mark Rypien completed 71 passes to Art Monk and 70 to Gary Clark in 1991. The 1987 champions ran 500 times, so quarterbacks Doug Williams and Jay Schroeder only completed 56 to Clark and 43 to Kelvin Bryant in a 15-game strike season after an injured Monk played only nine games. In 1983, Charley Brown grabbed 78 while Joe Washington and Monk caught 47 each during the nine-game strike season.

Will Josh Morgan, Moss, Hankerson or tight end Fred Davis emerge as the No. 2 target, and can the unit go four deep on plays? That's what the remaining preseason games must show. Griffin found his third and fourth options against Buffalo, a remarkable achievement in his first game. Spreading the ball around will prevent defenses from frustrating Griffin by double-covering Garcon.

"You don't want to, pre-snap, say, 'I am throwing it to Santana if I get in trouble,'?" Griffin said. "It's just something that comes about with the flow of the play. If the play breaks down, Santana just happens to have more experience in following the quarterback. It's just certain things like that that can help you out, and you can go to those guys in certain situations. They can tell you, 'I might want to do this or I might want to do that.'

"I think we have all been growing together. There are certain things that I do that other quarterbacks don't do, and they are getting used to that. I am just getting used to just having them on the field and being able to play with some guys like Santana who might be a legend some day."

Griffin is also adjusting to being behind center more and behind a line that will be missing two or three starters against Chicago. He's also getting used to audibling more at the line.

The education continues weekly -- if not daily -- for Griffin. The Redskins just hope he learns enough options so Plan B is not just an alternative but another opportunity.

Examiner columnist Rick Snider has covered local sports since 1978. Read more on Twitter @Snide_Remarks or email rsnider@washingtonexaminer.com.

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