RICHMOND, Va. -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of training camp:
Robert Griffin III did not have a strong day throwing the ball for a variety of reasons. This is a crucial season for Griffin, who now has a coach he feels comfortable with and more weapons at his disposal. So he must produce and show improvement. He knows it. Griffin did not have a great start to camp, though it wasn't as if his protection was all that great either. One thing when throwing to DeSean Jackson: You need time. He will get open, but at times Griffin will have to sit in the pocket for 3.5 seconds. “Robert was a little erratic,” Redskins coach Jay Gruden said. “The balls were a little wet early on, the ball didn't come out of his hand right a couple of times. He'll be the first to tell you he needs to improve and I'll be the second to tell you he needs to improve. That's going to be the case every day.”
It wasn't just Griffin who struggled offensively. There were dropped passes. There were missed assignments (not atypical on a first day of course). The flip side, of course, is that the defense did a solid job. The question with the defense involves yards after contact, something they've done a poor job with in recent years. And with no live hitting it's hard to know if they've improved in that area. But their rush was solid, with pressure inside and occasionally off the edge.
Jackson's speed was evident, once again. Not that anyone had doubts about Jackson's speed, but you could see it in the spring and once more Thursday. He sped past the defense on a skinny post deep that resulted in an underthrown incompletion. The next time they tried to hook up, Griffin led him on a deep ball as he needed. It allowed Jackson to make a long run, creating a little more separation from the defensive back. Jackson dropped the ball however. If they can gain some consistency on the deep ball -- Griffin must get used to throwing to someone with Jackson's acceleration downfield -- they will become a dangerous weapon.
On Wednesday, Jay Gruden talked about having a schedule, but knowing he had to be flexible. He found out why a day later: Heavy rain caused a 30-minute delay to the start of practice in the morning and a thunderstorm forced them indoors in the afternoon. It rained throughout the morning, easing up in the second half of the workout. “We were fortunate to get every play in,” Gruden said. The players put a positive spin on the rain. “You have a practice like today where weather plays a huge factor and you have to block that out,” Griffin said. “We got better just having to go through a wet practice.”
One player who can't be overlooked with the attention so heavily on the receivers is tight end Jordan Reed. He did not do anything spectacular Thursday, but he did make a nice grab over the top of strong safety Phillip Thomas. It was a throw that required confidence and trust from Griffin because the coverage was sound. But Griffin clearly trusted Reed last season and still does. Reed catches anything near him so even if Griffin is a little off Reed has shown it doesn't always make a difference.