LAKE FOREST, Ill -- Chicago Bears linebacker Lance Briggs chooses not to listen to all the talk permeating the airwaves regarding whether Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III has lost a step coming off knee surgery.
With the Bears set to play the Redskins on Sunday at FedExField, Briggs considers Griffin "ready."
Responding to the suggestion that Griffin looked a step slow last week against the Dallas Cowboys, Briggs asked, "Did you watch last game?"
"I don't know, that second half, that burst was there," Briggs said. "That burst looked pretty good. Don't be deceived. Don't be deceived at all. He's playing better and better each week. Watching him in that second half against Dallas, I saw him pull away from some guys running the ball."
Griffin ranks second in the NFL in pass attempts per game (41.8), fifth in the NFC and eighth in the NFL in passing yards per game (289.6), and is coming off a game in which he rushed for a season-high 77 yards against the Cowboys.
"He's a phenomenal player. A very gifted athlete, a smart quarterback," Bears defensive coordinator Mel Tucker said. "He looks like he's full speed, so it's going to be a huge challenge for us."
With the frequency at which the Redskins throw the ball, the Bears know coverage on the back end is just as important as pressuring the elusive Griffin, who averages 5.5 yards per carry.
"Everything is intertwined with everything. Our coverage has been decent, decent to OK," Briggs said. "We've had some bonehead plays where some of our players left our safeties out on an island and made it very difficult on them or for any safety in this league to make a play. We've stunted our defensive linemen in a lot on passing downs, where we didn't give them an opportunity to create or generate a better opportunity for a rush. We had opportunities to make tackles on third down that would have gotten us off the field and we missed those tackles. Coverage-wise, have we been in position? Most of the time. Have we made the play? No, not all the time, and that has to improve."
Bears coach Marc Trestman agreed, and after watching some of Griffin's game against the Cowboys, thinks the quarterback is close to returning to the player he was in 2012, when he won Offensive Rookie of the Year.
"I caught a little bit of him the other night and I thought he looked like the Griffin of old in terms of his ability to run and the confidence level he had," Trestman said. "I think he's very close to being back to where he was a year ago. This is a team that is averaging close to 400 yards a game, and they are running the football well. [Redskins coach] Mike [Shanahan] and [offensive coordinator] Kyle [Shanahan] have done a really good job with that offense and they are really close. They are doing some really good things."