1. On Wednesday, Robert Griffin III continued to learn lessons that should help him come August and beyond. Like: Make sure you see the defensive backs in the area. It bit him a couple weeks ago and it did the same Wednesday. Griffin ran a bootleg to the right and corner DeAngelo Hall knew exactly where he was going with the ball as tight end Fred Davis ran a crossing route. So Hall left Pierre Garcon and jumped the route, making an easy interception. It’s obvious to teammates and coaches that Griffin knows the playbook. He doesn’t look lost. But it’s also clear that he doesn’t always see defenders in the area. Yep, still a rookie. It also helps the defense having faced these same plays in some cases for a few years. The coverage in general was excellent Wednesday.
2. There were other times Wednesday where his throws were just a bit off, whether to the wrong shoulder to prevent a better run after the catch or if it led the target a bit too much, forcing a dive.
3. But these lessons are good and necessary. Griffin surely will make them again in the fall as defensive coordinators try to bait him into sucker throws. It’s part of the learning curve and if his own defense didn’t help him learn these lessons, I’d be worried about the D. He’s a rookie and this is an experienced defense with a corner in Hall who has excellent instincts and ball skills.
4. Griffin just wasn’t sharp throwing the ball much of the day. He and Garcon miscommunicated on a route in which Garcon broke it off outside and Griffin threw deep. So on the next play Garcon kept running deep and Griffin’s pass was broken up by corner Travon Bellamy.
5. One thing I wonder about: how long will it take Griffin to fully trust the routes and the receivers. That’s not a knock on them, but there were several times Wednesday when he looked late on his throws. Once, Santana Moss broke outside and only then did Griffin make the throw. Hall easily broke it up. It’s a pass that needs to be made sooner. But that comes from trust – in the route and himself. It's something I'm curious to see develop this summer -- and it's something I anticipate will take a little time. He's throwing to a new receiver in his first season in this offense in Pierre Garcon and another in Leonard Hankerson whom he hasn't gotten any reps with yet in live action. Takes time for all of them. Throw in another newcomer in Josh Morgan and it'll take even more. And top it with having a rookie QB. Griffin’s timing was a bit off on a deep ball to Morgan, who got past Kevin Barnes and Madieu Williams. The ball sailed a few yards over Morgan’s head.
6. DeJon Gomes dropped a Griffin interception, jumping in front of Morgan. If it had been a game Gomes would have kicked himself for a long time for dropping this one. Fear not, Griffin did have a good throw, hitting Aldrick Robinson in the back of the end zone (on a nice leaping grab). And Griffin showed he’s not afraid to try and stick it in a tight window, attempting to hit Moss with Hall right on his hip. There was maybe a five-inch window, but Hall closed that quickly and deflected the pass.
7. When Griffin has great days, you can’t go overboard and when he has a bad day you file it in the same place. And the reality is, until we see him in a game we won’t know just how far along he really is. All we saw the past few weeks were snippets of his skills: the strong arm, the quick feet, the charisma. You also have to take into account that the Redskins are seeing what he can or can’t do, which plays he’s comfortable with. It’s all part of the learning curve and the bad days can help.
“We’re throwing a lot at him,” offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan said. “Some days are better than others. Sometimes it takes two steps forward, a step back, but it’s the whole process of learning everything. Now it’s about going in there and not having to think and just reacting.
“It’s going to be a work in progress all the time. But the guy is very talented and he works at it. So as he does grow, and he’ll always get better, the guy can do a lot of stuff and make plays while we’re waiting for that to fully come.”
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