The oft-repeated line is that a tight end is a young quarterback’s best friend. Well, maybe. But the reality is that when it comes to Robert Griffin III, Fred Davis hasn’t been a favored target throughout training camp. It’s Pierre Garcon. And it makes sense.
Why? Because of who Garcon is: competitive, strong, fast. That’s the sort of security blanket any young quarterback would want. And that’s why you see Griffin and Garcon connecting not only in Thursday’s game vs. Buffalo (three catches, 58 yards) but all throughout camp.
Meanwhile, Davis continues having a quiet camp. Maybe he’ll have a big year; he definitely has the talent. But Garcon is the guy that Griffin seems to trust most these days.
“Just his tenacity after he gets the ball,” Griffin said. “He’s confident going across the middle because he knows nobody can really punish him because of his body. He’s got great hands, downfield speed and he’s big and tough. He’s got the total package.”
And complete trust by the quarterback. Wish I had charted how often Griffin went to which receiver during practice. I have to believe Garcon would win by a wide margin. Here’s one thing that helps their chemistry: Garcon is the Redskins’ best receiver. Makes sense that the quarterback finds such a guy. Griffin also talked about how Garcon wants to win in everything. If you throw a ball to that sort of player, you feel good about his ability to win vs. the defensive back.
Tight end Chris Cooley said it’s just a stereotype that his position helps a rookie quarterback most.
“A young quarterback needs to come in and feel very confident in what he’s doing,” Cooley said. “Anyone could be a safety blanket.”
Another reason Cooley said he’s not sold on the tight end being the primary guy for Griffin: His mindset.
“I don’t look at Robert as a guy that will say, ‘I hope I have 12 completions and maybe I can dump it to my tight end,’ “ Cooley said. “I look at him as a playmaker. If Fred and I and Niles [Paul] can make a lot of plays for him, that just accentuates what we can do offensively.”
In other words, Griffin will look to get the ball downfield to his wideouts – the guys more capable of explosive plays.
… Griffin is still adapting to throwing on the run. It’s something he was good at in college, but he’s been inconsistent with it during practices. More often than not he needs to be a tiny bit more patient to gain extra precision. He tried to gun one in to Davis on a bootleg to the left Monday and the ball sailed over Davis’ head. When Griffin misses on other throws, they’re usually not high. He more often than not misses wide or a little low (as happened Monday on a pass to Moss under duress). Why? Because he’s a lot more calm. But on the bootlegs at times he gets too amped to throw. He gets his hips turned around so that doesn’t seem to be the problem. Today, he also looked a little off-balance, leading to a bad throw. I’ve seen him in some practices when working on this throw with receivers become more accurate by being a little more deliberate. It’s tough to do that in a game with a linebacker chasing you down. This play will be a big part of their offense, so it’s something Griffin will need to improve upon.
…Did like a couple of his throws. On a straight drop back, he drilled a pass over the middle between linebackers Bryan Kehl and Lorenzo Alexander to receiver Santana Moss. Griffin also showed his athleticism (again, as if we needed a reminder) when he jumped to throw a screen pass to the left over the head of a pass rusher. But the defender jumped with him so Griffin didn’t throw. He immediately jumped back up to complete the pass. Another time Griffin faked a deep pass, then hit Garcon on an out route.
…I’d like to see a little more consistency in practice when it comes to hitting receivers more in stride.
…Griffin broke a couple ankles when he ran the ball Monday. The one thing I noticed today, too, is that he ran with patience, setting up his blockers by slowing down before kicking back into top speed. Yes, you also see him freeze linebackers with ball fakes.
…He’s definitely a relaxed guy. After one full-team session the quarterbacks broke off to another field while the special teams worked. One quarterback would run a route and catch a pass from another. After doing this one time Griffin did a mini-celebration dance.
…Griffin on the media attention: “We all know that if I am getting a lot of attention that means we’re doing extremely good on the field. When people say to me, ‘Do I care about the fame?’ or, ‘Is it going to bother me if it continues to increase?’ We want to play well. I want to play well so it’s going to increase and we are looking forward to that.”
…Griffin talked about adjusting to playing from under center and also about an audible he made vs. Buffalo. Wrote about those for the print edition.
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