by Dustin Raymond
On Sunday, Robert Griffin III arguably had the worst game of his short NFL career: 15-of-30 for a pedestrian 132 passing yards with a touchdown, 2 interceptions and 2 fumbles (1 recovered).
Those are disappointing stats to say the least, but from watching the game further issues developed.
Griffin didn’t play like 2012 Griffin. Instead, he became a statue in the pocket, overthrowing open receivers while continuing to stare down his receivers.
However, RGIII shouldn’t shoulder all the blame. The fact is the entire offense failed to function as a unit.
Despite the inadequate showing on Sunday – and generally this season – there’s no reason to be jumping off the RGIII bandwagon at such an early stage. Throughout cyberspace, fans and analysts have begun the “Should the Washington Redskins be worried about Robert Griffin III?” spiel. Honestly, I say it’s way too early.
Nonetheless, there are four key areas Griffin should be focusing on this season and during his first full off-season as a veteran – seeing as he missed last off-season due to rehab.
1) Field Vision – Perhaps one of the more crucial characteristics of any elite QB is the ability to survey the field. It appears Griffin does a great job currently understanding where pressure is coming from and whether to hold the ball or give it to the back during the read options.
The bigger issue is once he’s in the pocket and surveying the field in passing situations. More than once against the Broncos, receivers had spacing between themselves and the defensive back, but Griffin stayed with either a check down or his first read.
The result: The defense reads his eyes and makes a play on the ball — turnover.
2) Progressions/Reads – Building upon the field vision, Griffin has a tendency to stare down his primary receiver. It also seems he will only go through half of the progressions and if they are covered, will attempt to make a play with his feet. This leaves possibilities of positive plays left on the field which could result in a first down or a touchdown.
Rarely in the NFL will receivers have separation, often forcing the quarterback to progress through each receiving option. The phrase “high risk, high reward” manifests itself on the field and Griffin showed flashes a lot more as a rookie whereas this year he seems to be sticking to one receiver and not releasing the ball quick enough.
3) Mobility – Griffin’s forte is his ability to extend the play with his legs. He proved his capability to run outside of the pocket and race for extra yardage. However, his mobility inside the pocket is severely lacking.
It may be a result of conforming more into a pocket passer, but this season Griffin hasn’t stepped up in the pocket when the pressure bleeds in. He’s beginning to take more damaging hits between the tackles than he has outside the pocket. If Griffin wants to develop further as a pocket passer, he must find ways move within the pocket.
4) Audible – This may be more towards the specific play calling and leeway from the coordinator but Griffin really hasn’t shown his ability to audible while at the line. The read option allows him to change from pass or run depending on the look from the defense, but there has been minimal changes before the snap. Either switching into a shotgun or bringing a receiver out of the slot, Griffin still needs to learn how to execute a change at the line.
Fortunately all these skills can be coached and practiced during the offseason. And Griffin’s intelligence and athletic ability will propel him into the elite class once he gets a full off-season to focus primarily on his skills.
So Redskins Nation, be patient with RGIII and remember: he’s still recovering from major knee surgery (Peyton waited 18 months), hasn’t had a complete off-season as a veteran and his work ethic/determination won’t allow him to fail.