Five Thoughts on Robert Griffin III’s outing vs. Chicago (5-8, 49 yards, fumble in a 33-31 loss):
1. He was more indecisive than a week ago, but the Bears appeared to give him more looks than Buffalo did. They were walking an eighth defender up more than I expected, rather than just strictly cover 2, though that was in large part because of the three tight end sets Washington used. The Bears would show eight and drop into cover 2. But there were times when they did not play their favored look (like on the first pass of the game when they had nine up in the box). He looked a little more uncomfortable hanging in the pocket than last week, but that’s not a bad thing. Griffin needs to go through every sort of learning curve possible. Games like this will help him more than Buffalo simply because he faced more situations: under duress, third and long; needing to respond to adversity (the fumble). You get more out of games like this. It wasn’t his best night, it wasn’t his worst. Rather, it was like a lot of his practices. But I really believe that teammates pay attention to how a young QB handles tougher moments and Griffin’s personality is such that this isn’t a concern.
2. One of my favorite throws was the 16-yarder to Santana Moss on a third and three in the first quarter. Adam Gettis was beaten on the play so Griffin was under some duress. But he threw from an excellent base and threw over the top of the rush as a defender was about to hit him. Never flinched.
3. This has been noticeable in practice, but Griffin needs to work more on his accuracy on certain throws. It’s not about missing wildly, it’s about hitting the target at their right spots. On a bootleg to the left he threw behind Niles Paul on a third and short. He could have made the catch, but Griffin didn’t make it easy on him. Another time on a slant to Pierre Garcon, Griffin’s feet were a little off target as he threw. His left foot was pointed to Garcon’s outside shoulder, which is where the ball went. Needed to get it inside. It’s a correctable error. And if the shoulders are turned then it may not matter.
4. Griffin will continue to learn when his feet can bail him out and when he’s done. He fumbled on a play-action pass. As he moved up in the pocket the ball was swinging wildly and Griffin went to throw the ball and instead fumbled. I remember when Gus Frerrote was a rookie, talking to Sonny Jurgensen after his first start (showing my age here). Jurgensen said some of Frerotte’s best throws came on throwaways. Griffin will eventually learn that one. Guessing he didn’t have to throw the ball away much at all in college. But give Griffin credit for not just looking to run. Saw that at other times when pressure from the left side forced him up, he nearly tucked it and ran, then pulled up and hit Dorson Boyce.
5. The speed was evident on the third and five run. The linebacker had an angle on Griffin and on most quarterbacks he would have run him out of bounds. Instead Griffin exploded past him for another five or six more yards. There are times when Griffin’s speed won’t help as much. The gaps close quicker than in college as he’s facing faster linemen and linebackers. There are times in practice where those windows close quick. But when he turns the corner and it becomes a footrace? Most defenders will lose. Keep in mind, too, that the Redskins have not really used this part of his game yet. It’ll be part of their packages, which will then have an impact on other plays and how defenders react. Until we see this part of their offense it’ll be hard to fully judge where he’s at in terms of his overall play. He has to improve in the pocket — no crime there — but those runs will help settle him down. Of course, he’ll have to learn to run out of bounds instead of seeking contact to gain one more yard as he did in the first quarter.
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