Once again, just a few quick hits on Robert Griffin III’s day. Of course I always think they’ll be quick and, well, the next thing you know…
1. One of the things I’ve wondered about is the speed of Griffin’s dropbacks. He definitely is more deliberate than most quarterbacks when it comes to executing the play-fake and then setting up. Is he just going three-quarters speed because it’s practice (nobody else is and these passes are built on timing)? We’ll see in games.
Yes, the Redskins will use him on moving pockets and bootlegs quite a bit. But you also have to throw in the pocket too. The strength of this line is not pass protection on straight drop-backs; they’re better on the move. So if Griffin takes too long setting up there could be problems.
“That’s why you practice, to make sure it becomes easier and easier,” coach Mike Shanahan said. “That’s why they say the third year is a lot different than the first year because the whole game slows down.”
But practice is not just a learning session for the players. It’s also a time for the coaches to figure out the plays that Griffin can run and can’t run. You can buy time on the drop-backs by how you set them up. It could be off a zone read or a straight drop with a play fake. When Griffin stayed in the pocket Tuesday, there were a couple times he still had the ball after 3.7 seconds (yes, I timed it to the chagrin of some jealous reporters). Another time he held it for almost four seconds before running.
2. Griffin had his first two passes of the practice broken up by DeAngelo Hall. Give credit to Hall for making good plays; Griffin’s first one needed to be a few inches deeper. But his second one should have been intercepted (Hall dropped it). It came off a play fake and he threw back to Leonard Hankerson on the right side.
3. But his legs will bail him out of trouble on those drop-back passes. He won’t need much of a seam if things start to break down. That alone will help the offensive line. Griffin has a little wiggle to him in the pocket that will be a huge asset; we saw it today on one run in traffic (though he might have been sacked as it appeared the defense may have pulled up. Others disagreed. Regardless, Griffin slithered through a narrow lane). Same goes for him in the red zone. His legs will be a major weapon down there, whether on designed runs or simply extending plays.
4. One of Griffin’s worst passes today came off a play fake and then a quick smoke route to the left to Santana Moss. Only, the ball skidded at Moss’ feet. No, Donovan McNabb did not return for one play.
5. Earlier, Griffin would have been sacked on a blitz (in 2.67 seconds). But the defenders pulled up and Griffin, under duress, threw low and wide to Moss down the middle. I think that’s another thing he’ll have to work on: intermediate throws and passes under duress. No big secret there. I’ll also say I’m anxious to see him in a game to see where he’s really at in his development. At times it’s hard to tell because the defense knows how to play him and is now used to his speed. Other teams won’t have that same luxury.
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