1. they stop the run. The Cowboys averaged 67.5 yards per game on the ground in the two meetings last year against the Skins.....Washington won both. The Cowboys have tried to be more balanced this year even though they threw it for 506 last week against Denver. Stopping Murray and making Romo have to make a living on 3rd and long is the only way the Skins have a chance of forcing a few punts and keeping Dallas under 28.
2. the offense dictates the context of the game. Last year, the Redskins put early and constant pressure on their opponents with its offense. The offense was even money to move the ball and score points on most of its drives. That threat of scoring on every possession put a lot of pressure on not only their opponents' defense but their opponents' offense to match the Skins' O. Let's not let the bye week allow us to forget that this year's Skins' offense has 1 touchdown in the first half of its first four games. If that continues tonight, they have no chance.
3. they get some subtle breaks. The Redskins need a few questionable calls to go their way and maybe a few bounces of the ball too. A Griffin fumble deep in his own territory recovered by Montgomery or a Morris fumble that bounces out of bounds are subtle plays that impact significantly the probability of winning. Add to that, a couple of offensive holding penalties on a Dallas first and 10 play that goes for 15 yards but gets called back is the difference between 1st and 20 and an eventual punt or a defense that is on its heels and in trouble. These calls are often the difference between having a chance to win a game on the road versus getting blown out.
Gut feel that the Redskins come off the bye ready to roll while Dallas feels the after-affects of last week's epic 51-48 loss to Denver.
The Redskins got their first win of the year, 24-14 in Oakland. The good, bad, and more.
1. Game's biggest plays made by Skins. This game wasn't a gem by NFL standards....these 3 big plays were the difference between win and potential loss. In order they were....1) David Amerson's pick 6. Down 14-3 with the Raiders on the move again, David Amerson stepped in front of Moore and made a monster play. Who knows if the Redskins would've generated enough offense today to win. I thought at the time that it was a game-saver and given that they won today, it could prove to be a season-saver. 2) Janikowski's missed 52 yd FG midway through the 3rd quarter was a big play in the game. It easily gave the Skins their best field position of the game and they took advantage of it by marching 58 yards for their first offensive TD of the day and their first lead in the 2nd half this year. 3) Kerrigan's sack/forced fumble on Flynn in the 4th quarter. Oakland had made a first down for the first time in the 2nd half and had great field position. It set up the Skins 2nd offensive TD and their first 2-score lead of the season.
2. Defense. After a shaky start, it shut the Raiders out on Oakland's final 12 drives covering nearly 3.5 quarters. The D generated 7 sacks, scored a touchdown, and had a sack/forced fumble.
3. Pass rush. A lot of the credit for the 7 sacks and the many pressures goes to the Redskins' D but a lot of it was that Matt Flynn is incapable. Flynn stunk. I'm not sure how the Skins would've fared against Pryor but they wouldn't have sacked him 7 times.
3. Brian Orakpo. He had his best day of the season. Not only did he get to Flynn twice, he had a near-pick early in the game and a wicked stop on 3rd and 1 on Jennings in the 3rd quarter.
4. Ryan Kerrigan. He makes plays that help win games and he does it a lot.
5. Up-tempo offense. Down 14-zip and looking like the season was teetering on the brink of disaster, the Skins' O went up-tempo and it caught Oakland by surprise. It didn't produce a touchdown but it did produce a meaningful field goal and it started the process of changing momentum after getting behind 14.
6. Raiders stink. The Oakland defense is legit but with Flynn, they just weren't capable on offense. Add to that, the Raiders committed a couple of potential game-changing penalties including the offsides on Helu's catch and maybe fumble. Their clock/game management was amateur. How come they didn't take a timeout at the end of the half with the ball at midfield and take a shot. They just let the clock run out. Then, down 10 points, they went for it on 4th and 1 when the field goal was the right choice. I knew they'd go for it when they went for the play-action on 3rd and 1 but getting it to 24-17 with 3:23 left and two timeouts out left was the right strategy.
7. Morris YAC. Morris always gets more yards than it appears he should.
1. Special teams. The Redskins had some bad plays on special teams today and several near-misses. There was the blocked punt and the fake punt. There were a couple of bad punts. There was consistent lost punt yardage because Thompson let the balls bounce and roll rather than getting up and fielding them. Thompson almost didn't get out of the way of one of the punts inside the 10. Murphy nearly got knocked into a punt that was still rolling on the ground....a punt that Thompson should've fielded. Skins need a new punt returner. If for nothing else then to save them field position by catching the kicks.
2. Pass protection. Is it Robert's responsibility to recognize pressure more consistently or is it that the O-line that isn't doing its job. Only the coaches know for sure but it would seem that 3rd and more than 6 can be a problem if Robert is going to stay in the pocket. Too much pressure today and some bad throws either because of it or at least influenced by it.
3. No timeout on fake punt. We've seen the Skins through the years call timeouts for less serious situations, why not a timeout when the Raiders shifted into an offensive formation on 4th and less than 1.
4. Did Robert look like he got nicked up on the 11 yard read-option keeper? Garcon's holding penalty nullified the play but it looked briefly like Robert hurt himself.
1. Rg3's game was mixed. He missed throws including a potential deep TD pass to Moss. He made some curious decisions including throwing to Fred Davis deep when Garcon was open on the bootleg and the intentional grounding throw on 2nd and goal in the 2nd quarter. His mobility still doesn't look anything like last year however; he did make several "off-schedule" pass plays by extending them with his feet. The 3rd and 10 to Helu in the 2nd quarter was a great play. He made a nice play to find Paulson on one of the only solid 3rd and long plays of the day although Paulson fumbled. The 3rd down TD throw to Garcon was perfect and the escape and throw to Helu for 28 yards after the Kerrigan sack/fumble was the kind of play he must make for this team to have a chance.
2. Lots of injuries. Both teams lost several players during the game.
3. Was Fred Davis dressed? That's an exaggeration but if not for that deep "uncatchable" ball in the end zone I wouldn't have thought he played.
4. I liked the 3rd and 8 draw call to Helu right with 2:30 left. The Raiders were guessing run as they should've but the play made them hesitate and Helu went for 9 and a first down that iced the game.
5. Did Robert look like he got nicked up on the 11- yard read-option keeper? Garcon's holding penalty nullified the play but it looked briefly like Robert hurt himself.
The Redskins fall 27-20 to the Lions. The good, bad, and more.
1. Best effort of the year. They didn't play great but the overall performance was much improved compared to the first two games. I know that's not saying much but the offense finally got into some rhythm with an attack/scheme that looked similar to last year's while the defense gave the team a shot with several stops in the 2nd half. RG3 was back making plays even though some of those plays ended poorly like the 4th quarter run/fumble. The defense wasn't great but it was much better than at any time in the first two games and it gave the team a chance to win in the 2nd half.
2. RG3 played. We hadn't seen anything resembling the RG3 of last year during the first two games but we did today. Even though his performance was far from perfect, he looked much more like the playmaking quarterback we saw last year. The read-option QB keeper was back in the game plan and just the threat of Griffin as a runner made play-action work and led to more room for Morris on runs out of the Pistol. He just looked like a capable playmaker making plays as a passer and a runner. Late in the first quarter he made a throw to Paulson after escaping pressure in the pocket. He hadn't made one play in the first half of any of the first two games that resembled that one. Making a few plays with his feet seemed to make normal throws from the pocket more relaxed. He completed 3 of 4 third-down throws in the first-half alone. They had been 0-9 on third downs in the first half coming into this game, they were 4 for 6 today. His 21-yard 4th quarter run and subsequent fumble was his best playmaking play of the season until of course, the end of the play.
3. Offensive scheme. The true read-option component was back and that meant the defense had to account for the QB in the run game. We saw more of Griffin on the move with several bootlegs called in addition to a few sprint-out throws. The offense only generated 13 points but obviously the two turnovers inside the Detroit 21 and the Robinson touchdown drop cost them 3 more scores. The 420 yards generated today were much more meaningful than the bogus 422 a week ago in Green Bay. Today's offense gave them a chance to win the game. Last week's was garbage offense after falling behind by 31.
4. Pierre Garcon. Arguably the Skins best offensive player although Trent Williams is close. He catches everything and he's a true YAC threat.
5. 3rd-quarter defense. The defense is really struggling but forcing Detroit to punt on all three of its possessions in the 3rd quarter could've turned into the deciding stretch of the game.....but of course, it didn't.
1. RG3 erred. Two turnovers deep in Detroit territory cost them dearly. The first interception was a horrible decision. The 2nd turnover, the fumble, was as uncomfortable to watch as it was for him to execute. He just doesn't seem to be comfortable getting down and avoiding contact in the open field. He also missed some throws and seemed to throw to the wrong guy a few times. On their first drive of the game, he threw to a covered Paulson when he could've run for the first or dumped it off to Morgan. On the next play, he chose to throw the slant to a covered Robinson when Reed was wide open at the sticks over the middle. On a key third-down on the first drive of the 3rd quarter, he threw behind an open Hankerson at the 18. A good throw would've been a new set of downs and a chance to get 7 instead of 3.
2. Robinson's drop. He has to make that catch. It's a chance for a 24-20 lead in the 4th quarter with major momentum.
3. First-half defense. The tackling in the first half was some of the worst of the season and that's hard to believe because it was god awful in the first two games. The 3rd and 10 to Bell early in the game that went for 37 yards included multiple missed tackles. The Bell touchdown run later in that drive was a tackling disaster. Another run by Bell on the Lions' 2nd touchdown drive was aided by bad tackling. And the most crucial missed tackle of the day was Orakpo's miss on Bell at 20-17 in the 4th quarter on a first and 10 at the Skins 21. That would've been a 2nd and 11 on a drive where you had to hold them to a FG, instead, 2nd and 1. Horrible.
4. End of first-half clock mgt. I liked that Shanahan came out aggressively instead of trying to run the clock out after Detroit took the lead 17-14 with :44 sec left. But instead of stopping the clock by using one of their remaining 2 timeouts with :31 seconds left after a 9-yard completion over the middle to Reed to the 35, he didn't use a timeout until after the next play with :13 seconds left. That was a mishandling of the clock and reduced significantly the chances for a FG attempt.
5. Punt and kick returns. I can't imagine there's a team in the league with worse results though the first 3 weeks. They've gotten nothing on returns this year.
1. The play after the Robinson drop/overturn was a disaster but it could've been worse. Even after the replay overturn they had a 2nd and 10 at midfield in a 3-pt game but the Pistol snap hit Paulson and deflected away from Griffin. Griffin actually tried to scoop it up and run. He was lucky he didn't lose it.
2. Say what you want about D-Hall but he does make big plays occasionally. He's now one of just two players in league history to have 4 INT and 4 Fumble returns for touchdowns. I thought he played pretty well considering who he was matched against for most of the day.
3. Merriweather played the whole game! AND, he nearly knocked out his 3rd player in two weeks when he went head first into Orakpo.
4. I wonder if Shanahan considered going for it on 4th and 5 in a tie game in the 3rd quarter in a tie game.
5. There were two booming punts in the game....Rocca had a 63 yarder; Martin had a 72 yarder. Both with the wind I think.
6. Calvin Johnson is incredible but the sideline catch on the first play after Griffin's fumble in the 4th quarter was exceptional.
7. The Lions got a terrible spot on Bell's 3rd and 1 run with just over 4 minutes left. Schwartz would've won a challenge on that spot.
8. The 15-yard penalty for a "defense-less" hit on Garcon late in the game was an awful call.
9. Did Rambo play at all at safety in this game or was it exclusively 3 corners with Wilson playing in the box as a safety on several plays.
What many of us didn't think about when he came up with the slogan "Operation Patience" is that it wasn't a rehab motto for him; it was a warning to us. Maybe he knew all along this would be a slow go when the games finally began. Maybe "Operation Patience" was a heads up that we'd have to wait a few games and deal with Robert while RG3 worked his way back into a groove.
It's just that we never thought we'd have to wait. Why would we have thought it when we were brainwashed for eight months with his "All In For Week One" inculcation.
But now we have to deal with reality even though current reality has a wide range of possibilities. Those possibilities range from not completely healthy to refusing to run last year's offense. In the middle of that reality range are things like rust, the brace, lack of confidence, and any other "lack of" you can think of.
I think it's a mix of everything.
He doesn't look totally football healthy. I know Doc Andrews cleared him and medically I'm sure the knee is healed and ready for certain types of football activity. It just doesn't seem like it's ready for the type of football activity he engaged in last year. Remember that activity? The kind that included using his legs to carry the ball for lots of yards, first downs, and points.
Rust is definitely part of this and it should be. He didn't participate in mini-camps, OTAs, or preseason games. Additionally, for the majority of training camp, he didn't take a snap during meaningful 11 on 11 work.
The brace is restrictive. In fact, that's what it's supposed to be, restrictive. Pierre Garcon told me today, "Robert obviously can't run as fast as he did last year because of his knee brace."
Then there's the question of whether or not he's willing to run last year's offense. More specifically, the 50-series part of the offense. The 50-series, as Chris Cooley explained to me, is the "read-option" series. It gives RG3 the option of keeping the ball and running into open green fields after sticking the ball into Alfred Morris' gut and removing it. Could it really be that he said no to the thing that propelled the offense, the team, and him to great heights?
The irony of the read-option is that people read too much into it. It wasn't used as much as people think and when it was used, Robert didn't usually keep the ball and run with it. The threat of it however was without debate anymore, the single biggest reason for the success of the offense and hence, the success of the team. I don't like to think about him not wanting to run this part of the offense. It would be the ugliest of all the potential realities. It would reflect delusion at best, insubordination at worst. It would also speak to a coach who has less power than I thought.
More than anything else though, he lacks confidence. He's playing tentatively. Last year's RG3 made plays. So far this year, Robert hasn't made any. With or without him being a threat to run, he's just not making plays. Not once during the competitive portions of the first two games has he extended a pass play by escaping the pocket and throwing to an open receiver. Not once have we seen him maneuver in the pocket to create more time and make a throw that matters. He looks like he's thinking more than playing. He looks unsure of himself.
Confidence can be such a tenuous thing when trying to get it back. He looked so sure in July and August but September has brought doubt. Sometimes confidence is distantly elusive and other times it can be a play away from snowballing into major swag. That one play could be a 3rd and 10 scramble for 15 yards that leads to a play-action throw to Garcon for a touchdown and a 7-zip first quarter lead. One play may be all that's needed. One play could spark Robert back into RG3.
While I wasn't thrilled with his self-promotional spring and summer, it didn't overshadow what he's capable of during the fall and winter. And what he's capable of is being the best player on the field on Sundays. No other player on the roster this year or for the last 30 years can claim that.
No matter what the reality is right now, I'm willing to wait for great. For how long? I'll let you know after Sunday's game against Detroit.
The Redskins were manhandled at Lambeau. The limited good, lots of bad, and more.
1. Ryan Kerrigan. He's been the Skins' best player through two games. Two sacks on the Packers' opening drive of the day would've been much more meaningful had the offense and secondary shown up.
2. Pierre Garcon. He's the 2nd-best player on the team through two games. He gets open and if Robert had been more accurate, he would've had an even bigger day statistically.
3. Alfred Morris. He looked more like he did last year. Too bad many of those yards came when the game was out of hand.
1. The offense. It's obviously not anywhere near what it was last year. You could point towards RG3's rust, the offensive line's inconsistent pass protection, penalties, but the #1 reason for this team being 0-2 through two games is that RG3 doesn't look like the run-threat he was last year. And by the way, it's not just Robert being a run-threat from the "Pistol" through plays like read-option; it's the lack of him extending plays outside of the pocket where the possibility of him taking off as a runner needs to be a possibility. He's got to be an extend-the-play quarterback on 3rd downs especially. We haven't seen much of that. Him actually running the ball is so much less important than the clear and obvious perception that he might. Even if teams are taking away the read-option QB keeper, he still needs to be more of a threat to run on pass plays whether it's bootleg or dropback.
As far as Shanahan focusing on poor 3rd-conversion percentage, well no kidding. But they've been poor on third-downs because the quarterback isn't making good throws and he's not moving the chains occasionally with his feet or creating easier throws with his feet outside the pocket.
One more thing. The Redskins would've had more short-term success if a healthy Kirk Cousins had played in the first two games instead of Robert. Maybe the long-term would've been impacted by Robert not getting the work but Philly's defense is bad and Robert wasn't ready to take advantage of it. Additionally, Green Bay's defense isn't that great and the offense wasn't ready to pounce on that opportunity today.
2. The secondary. It was awful. They couldn't cover and couldn't tackle. I can't think of one DB that had anything other than a pitiful game. The catch and run by Finley down the near sideline in the 3rd quarter was as bad a tackling display as you'll ever see. Doughty, Wilson, and Rambo all showed the youngsters how not to do it. BTW, I didn't think the front 7 was that terrible. They got worn down and run on after the game was out of hand. They started strong but no offense and a secondary that couldn't cover made them look worse.
3. The penalties. It all started with the Brandon Jenkins' offsides on the Packers first 3rd-down of the day and it was downhill after that. The #s don't look terrible (7-78 yds) but there were at least 3 declined including one of the two penalties called on Nick Sundberg on one play.
4. Special teams. Sav Rocca has been bad through two games, their field goal kickers are 0-2 on the season, and Chris Thompson is giving them nothing on returns. Kick and punt coverage is decent as it has been for several years now.
1. Cobb's catch and run down the sideline on the game's opening drive should've been an offensive P.I. on Jones.
2. As much as I advocate more of what we saw last year with RG3 as a run threat, I do like when they spread the field with 4 and 5 wides and let him throw it quickly. The first completion to Hankerson on the Skins' first play from scrimmage is an example of that. I would be surprised if we don't see more of that in the coming weeks.
3. Brandon Merriweather concussed two people by leading with his helmet.....Lacy and himself.
4. Morgan dropped a 4th & 5 pass in the first half. Dropping balls is a bit of a problem with him.
5. The Moss TD that was ruled no TD and then challenged by Shanahan....that overturn was a shocker to me.
6. Aaron Rogers is the best quarterback in the league.
The Redskins opened up with the wrong opponent tonight in Chip Kelly's Eagles. They weren't ready for them on defense, offense, or special teams. Not a good combo. The good, bad, and more.
1. The comeback. Say what you will about soft coverages or Philly resting on a big lead, the Redskins didn't throw in the towel and were legitimately in the game over the final 12.5 minutes.
2. 2nd-half passing offense. They shortened up routes allowing Robert to get rid of the ball quickly. It's the only chance the Skins had when they went almost exclusively to their drop back pass offense. They just don't protect well enough in any other situation. While they can be productive at times in pure drop back with Robert throwing the ball from the pocket, I really don't think this is their best formula for winning. RG3 must be a legitimate and consistent run-threat for the offense to reach its potential.
3. It could've been worse on defense. Despite Philly's huge numbers, especially in the first half when the Redskins were turning it over every time they touched it on offense, I thought the defense hung in there enough to keep the game from getting out of hand. Philly helped with a few throws that were off from Vick and a few drive-killing penalties but the defense got the Eagles off the field more than it seemed they could or would. It looked early like they were more Washington State than the Washington Redskins and Oregon was the opponent. While the coaches might tell you that nobody graded out well, I thought Kerrigan and Riley among others made plays to keep the score within reach.
1. RG3 in the first half. Just awful. RG3 didn't appear to be ready. Call it rust or anything else you'd like but he was totally off and overwhelmed in the first half. Sure they didn't have the ball much and yes, their field position stunk, but he didn't look anything like the RG3 we saw before he injured his knee in the Baltimore game last year. If not for a few of his scrambles in the 2nd half that showed glimpses of his escapability and acceleration, I would've been convinced he wasn't 100% healthy. He clearly didn't want to keep the ball on the read-options they ran. If his ability to make the defense play him as a run threat is minimized by him or the play calling, they're in for a long season.
2. Alfred Morris. He may have been the one that didn't get enough preseason action. He fumbled the first time he touched it and he lost a pitch in the end zone that resulted in a safety. He really struggled.
3. O-line in pass protection. Just not good enough. The Skins went to shorter routes to allow RG3 the ability to unload the ball early. The line was overwhelmed by the Eagle pass rush even when they rushed no more than 3.
3. Special teams. They killed field position with some bad kickoff and punt return decisions (see Chris Thompson). Penalties didn't help either,Add to that, Kai Forbath missed a short field goal.
4. Turnovers and penalties. They turned it over 3 times, botched a pitch in the end zone that resulted in a safety, but made up for both of those things by committing 10 penalties.
5.Missed tackles.It’s really hard to get McCoy down on the ground but they missed him in the open field completely several times and when they did get hands on him, they couldn’t bring him down often enough.
1. Robert's entrance during the introductions made it seem that he and he alone was facing the Eagles. It was too individual vs. team for my taste.
2. Chip Kelly's offense is a perfect match with Philly's personnel. When you think about the Foles-Vick competition over the summer you have to laugh. After what we saw tonight, was there ever really a chance Foles could win the job? It was mind-boggling to watch in the first half. 53 plays for 325 yards and could've been more if not for the dropped passes and penalties.
3. Was that Vick pass deflected by Kerrigan really a lateral? I thought it looked like a forward pass. Smart reaction and play by D-Hall.
4.Let’s hope Kerrigan isn’t out for too long with concussion symptoms.They would really miss him.
1. they are aggressive on offense. I'm hearing all the talk about ground and pound with Alfred Morris in an effort to keep the Eagles' offense off the field.....I want 5 wides, spread Philly out, and let Robert throw it and throw it quickly from empty-backfield at times. That may be an exaggeration but I want to see the same aggressive/innovative approach this year. Philly's new 3-4 set with less than average defensive talent should be a mismatch for the Skins if they go after it.
2. they don't give up the big play on defense. Philly has speed and playmaking ability all over the field and the Skins have been there/done that on watching Vick, Jackson, and company light em up on Monday night. Rambo and Doughty will be targeted in this game....they have to keep everything underneath and not give up the 1-2 play scoring drives.
3. they avoid the momentum-changing turnover on special teams. If it's the rookie Thompson on punt returns, he needs to catch and protect.
QB (3)--Robert Griffin III, Kirk Cousins, Rex Grossman-- I still think the overwhelming odds favor 3 QBs vs. 4 with Pat White. Maybe White will conveniently hurt his shoulder tomorrow night against Tampa and find his way to the IR....#stash.
RB (4)--Alfred Morris, Roy Helu Jr., Evan Royster, Chris Thompson--I guess Royster's injury could cost him a spot to the impressive Keiland Williams' preseason but I think they believe he's their most natural runner and is more capable as a 20+carry per game back if he had to do it. I think Thompson is too much of a practice squad risk.....his potential as a speedy playmaker and potential returner is too enticing.
FB (1)--Darrell Young
TE (4)--Fred Davis, Logan Paulson, Jordan Reed, Niles Paul-- 4 tight ends has been the # since before camp started....nothing we've seen changes that.
OL (8)--Trent Williams, Kory Lichtensteiger, Wil Montgomery, Chris Chester, Tyler Polumbus, Tom Compton, Adam Gettis, Josh LeRibeus--LeRibeus reporting to camp in poor shape still puts him in some jeopardy. I don't think his draft status as a 3rd-rounder will make much difference in the decision so it won't shock me if they cut him. I think Pashos goes knowing they could probably get him back if needed.
NT (2)--Barry Cofield, Chris Neild
DE (4)--Stephen Bowen, Kedrick Golston, Chris Baker, Phillip Merling-- Jarvis Jenkins back after Week 5.
OLB (4)--Brian Orakpo, Ryan Kerrigan, Brandon Jenkins, Darryl Tapp-- Rob Jackson comes back Week 5.
ILB (4)--London Fletcher, Perry Riley, Nick Barnett, Brian Kehl-- Barnett gives them their only experienced back-up LB.
CB (6)--DeAngelo Hall, Josh Wilson, David Amerson, EJ Biggers, Chase Minnifield, Jerome Murphy-- Murphy makes it after the injury to Crawford. He may have made it anyway.
S (5)--Brandon Merriweather, Reed Doughty, Baccari Rambo, DJ Gomes, Jordan Pugh-- If Gomes goes then it's Gumbs.
Robert Griffin III had his best day in many ways on Thursday here in Richmond. It almost didn't happen as the rain pummeled the Bon Secours practice facility in between practices, but not at all while the team was actually on the field.
Griffin was by my count 16-of-17 in his increased period of 7-on-7 work. It was the 2nd day in a row, Griffin III handled an increased work load. I noticed early in the practice session while working individual and route-tree drills that Griffin looked more spry and confident with his lower body than I had seen so far in training camp.
You may have read what I wrote the other day http://bit.ly/18QOLBh and others have mentioned the same type of concerns. Griffin looked much more fluid and confident with his plant foot, his shifting of weight coming forward, his leg whip and mechanics.
Griffin started off the extended period with short completions to Aldrick Robinson and Keiland Williams to get into a groove. Once again, I noted in my messy notebook that his right leg swing was smooth and almost natural looking.
Griffin then hit Niles Paul to go to 4-of-4, and had to call a practice timeout because of some confusion amongst the offense. After the stoppage, Griffin hit Pierre Garcon on a nice post crossing route, which he displayed a really nice, confident bounce and hop.
Griffin was given a slight break, which has been a routine and scheduled break as Kirk Cousins came in and threw a interception, staring down young linebacker Will Compton.
Griffin came back and hit Santana Moss, while dragging or skating his foot just a little bit. Nothing alarming, but noticeable. Robert then hit Jordan Reed on the right sidelines, with a very natural throwing motion. He went on to throw completions of various short distances to Keiland Williams and Alfred Morris, which was sandwiched around a scramble sprint to the right side and a completion to Lance Lewis.
Griffin continued his workload for the day, with a dart to Logan Paulsen who caught the pass with one hand. At that point, Griffin was a perfect 11-for-11. Finally, Griffin threw an incomplete pass to the far sidelines, but then got right back to it with completions to Garcon, Robinson and Reed. Griffin hit Josh Morgan for his 15th completion of the day, on a dig route before completing the session with a 16-of-17 effort on a pass to Garcon.
This was the only problem on the day that I saw. Griffin looked so confident and full of life, that as he thrust forward with a big crow hop -- he appeared to feel something in his lower body. Griffin was very animated in his reaction to whatever he was feeling and whatever happened and looked to be in some kind of discomfort.
He walked off the main practice field to the sideline, which is where Pierre Garcon met him and the two huddled closely looking at something on Griffin. We don't know exactly what happened or what it was, but again it is something to just keep an eye on.
After this exchange, Griffin jogged over to the back practice field and motioned enthusiastically to the fans behind the end zone. I didn't see Griffin do much of anything significant afterwards, nor did I see any trainers or medical staff around him so it appears that it was just some kind of tweak or weird reaction that Griffin gave.
It's just something to keep in mind, after a all-around great day for the franchise and the franchise quarterback.
Chris Russell - SFTheRooster@Yahoo.com - www.twitter.com/russellmania980
Every day at Redskins practice, we are assigned to cover a team and to try and track to some degree 90 players and a coaching staff/organization that doesn't exactly like to reveal a whole lot of information. That's fine. It is what it is. Some organizations are revealing and open, some are not.
Often we are left to guess and make our own judgements, because even if you get the help you are left wondering what agenda is in the message that you are given.
I say we cover 90 players (during training camp) but in essence we cover one PLAYER, and then 89 guys vying for the hearts of many and a positive tweet or two. If they have a really good day, they might actually get praised in a blog somewhere.
With that being said, I think we can safely say who that one player is......Tevita Stevens.
No I am only joking. All apologies to the Stevens family, it's not him. Of course, it is Robert Griffin III.
So with that, I am charged with paying special attention to the franchise quarterback at the expense of important drills like one on one periods between lineman on both sides of the ball or running backs versus linebackers.
Griffin III was cleared to return at the start of camp, which simply meant that he could continue to do football related activities in whatever fashion Mike and Kyle Shanahan decided for him. He participates in daily 7-on-7 periods and individual drills, along with various other activities. He does not participate in full team drills.
I am not a coach or a doctor, just a guy with two partially trained eyes and a forum to tell you what I see and think. I am not saying that I am right, but I know what looks normal and fluid versus what looks awkward or uncomfortable.
I closely observed Griffin's footwork during Tuesday's practice, without the benefit of being able to watch the video tape back like he and the coaches can do. In my one crack at seeing his every throw, I was much more interested in his footwork and leg movements, rather than his accuracy or the result of the play. Honestly, I could not care any less. However, to give you a more colorful picture, I did chart the results of what I saw.
During the early portion of Tuesday's workout - Griffin performed some quarterback unit drills and I thought he looked spry and bouncy. He drew a loud ovation for a very nice throw and catch connection to Santana Moss. He planted well on the few throws in this period and Mike Shanahan had a big smile as Griffin "low-fived" him and then the quarterback took off down the field in a fast jog to congratulate Moss for a job well done.
The greater point is that he looked different than I had witnessed in a brief period on Monday -- a good different.
His accuracy and mental knowledge is not in question, it is simply the physical part of the game to make sure that Griffin is ready to go for a long grind of the season. I thought he looked good on Saturday, an improvement from what I witnessed on Friday.
On Tuesday, after the initial period that looked good - I closely honed in on Griffin's lower foot and leg movements. His first pass in 7's was a completed dump off to Niles Paul. I observed a good, but not great thrust or push off his surgically repaired leg.
His 2nd attempt was a completion on a nice dig route to Leonard Hankerson to the right side. I didn't really see Griffin push off hard, but he looked smooth in my opinion in his weight transfer.
Griffin's third snap and throw was a incomplete pass right towards me on the crowd side of the sideline. He fired it high and it was just a rocket that was slightly off target to Dezmond Briscoe. I looked up as the ball was coming right at me, so I did not see his footwork but I can safely say this - Griffin has not lost any velocity on his fastball.
On Griffin's final pass of his first round, he completed a short dump off to Roy Helu to the left side before Kirk Cousins came in for two completed passes.
When Griffin III came back in, I noticed a difference in how he was moving. He hit Logan Paulsen on a short completion in which he planted his right foot, but didn't really push off strongly. I thought Griffin made a hopping motion to some degree. On Griffin's sixth passing attempt, he drifted to his right and hit Jordan Reed on a short dump pass. He looked very awkward and appeared visibly upset with something after the play. He was pretty frustrated to anybody that was watching.
What is not known is what Griffin III was frustrated about. Was he in any kind of pain, or was he mad at himself for some sort of breakdown in the play structure?
On Griffin's next throw, he executed another short pass to Helu but clearly did not step into the throw and once again looked unnatural or awkward in my eyes. Griffin's 8th throw was a drop by Reed, in which he planted his back foot and whipped his leg around in a similar but less noticeable fashion to how he was throwing before surgery.
Griffin's 9th passing attempt was complete to Aldrick Robinson, but it was very clear and easy to see Griffin dragging his right foot on the ground when shifting forward in his motion. It didn't look like anything I had seen so far, and it just appeared to be strange. His tenth and final throw was a completion in which he once again dragged his right foot into the ground, but in a less pronounced manner.
The bottom line is this. It's all part of the rehab process. I get that, but in my eyes Griffin III has quite a long way to go before he looks anything close to the phenom that he was before the injury. He still has a considerable road to walk, and that is not unexpected.
Bruce Allen admitted on ESPN980 this week that he was somewhat surprised that Griffin III was actually medically cleared and they were without a doubt not fully expecting him to be ready for game action and extensive practices.
This doesn't mean he won't be ready to go for September 9th against the Eagles, but the longer it takes for Griffin to be cleared to participate in full team drills lessens the common thought that he is a shoe-in to be the Redskins starting quarterback in Week 1.
I am putting it somewhere between a 10 - 20 % percent chance that Kirk Cousins is the Redskins quarterback that night, where as a month ago - before actually seeing the plan they have for him and witnessing his lower body mechanics I would have said that Griffin was a 95 - 100% chance to start.
I understand my analysis is not going to be greeted well by Redskins nation, but these are simply my observations and clearly a lot of movements can improve over time. Of course, Griffin III is always subject to a setback of some type which would be much worse than any news I could possibly deliver.
Chris Russell // SFTheRooster@Yahoo.com // www.twitter.com/russellmania980