Quick Takes: RG III's passing issues

October, 17, 2013
10/17/13
9:50
AM ET
A quick look inside Robert Griffin III's passing this season:

• Griffin continues to struggle on downfield throws, especially when compared to last season. He’s completed just 36 percent of his passes on throws of more than 10 yards downfield, a steep drop-off from 2012 when he completed 59 percent of such throws.

[+] EnlargeRobert Griffin III
AP Photo/Richard LipskiRobert Griffin III has struggled with the deep passing game this season, completing just 36 percent of throws 10 or more yards downfield.
• Griffin averaged 14.6 yards per attempt on those passes a year ago (with 10 touchdowns and two interceptions); he’s averaging 7.5 this season (with one touchdown and three interceptions). Griffin was dreadful in this area Sunday, completing just three of 15 passes with an interception. All stats, by the way, are courtesy of ESPN Stats & Information.

• It’s easy to see that Griffin has been off-target. But the blame does not fully lie with him. Yes, he needs to throw with more anticipation and with better timing. However, his receivers need to do a better job of winning battles in man coverage. The wideouts did a bad job of this against Dallas, which at times led to hesitation by Griffin before throwing. For example, on the missed out pass to receiver Pierre Garcon in the fourth quarter (before the missed field goal), Griffin had to wait to see if Garcon would win on the route. Garcon did not sell any sort of fake and corner Brandon Carr was never fooled; Griffin’s throw was then late (he had to take two hitch steps) and they ran out of field.

• Griffin had some rough days throwing the ball in camp, one in particular, but none compared to the second half Sunday with the wobbly passes.

• Last year more teams played zone coverage and the Redskins were able to manipulate defensive players out of position with play-action passes -- courtesy of a run game that was productive early in games, unlike this season. The result: More open targets. This year the windows are tighter. Also, the Redskins did not have success with any of their “rub” routes against the Cowboys. And when some receivers were open downfield, there was too much pressure. This failure is a coordinated effort.

• There was a stark contrast in the speed with which Dallas’ Tony Romo went through his progressions compared to Griffin. At times Romo unloaded a pass in 3.0 seconds, having gone through three progressions. There should be a difference between these two given Romo’s experience and that he’s just a more polished passer. It’s still a slow process for Griffin, which is to be expected given his background in college and NFL experience. But it’s an area in which he absolutely has to improve. This is why the coaches felt last season that Griffin would look back in a couple years and realize how little he knew coming in to the NFL (like most quarterbacks)

• I do think he’s gotten a lot better in terms of keeping plays alive behind the line of scrimmage and not just tucking and running. It’s a good start and it’s a way for him to make big plays with his legs without running.

• Griffin ran six times for 32 yards by design against Dallas compared to eight designed runs for 14 yards in the first four games.

• Griffin understands the microscope his game is under: “Whenever you play the way we played as an offense in general -- not just myself -- moving the ball, making big plays, putting points on the board, whenever you play like that and you come back the next year and you don’t play like that and your quarterback has a significant knee injury in the offseason, the scrutiny is going to be there.”

• Incidentally, Griffin and the coaches say there was just one miscommunication between Griffin and Garcon, the one inside the red zone before the end of the first half. Another time in the middle of the field, Garcon ran inside and the ball went outside. But Garcon apparently had no option on that route. I still haven't heard a good explanation as to why there have been a handful of times that Griffin has turned one way on a play-fake only to have the backs go the other way.

John Keim

ESPN Washington Redskins reporter

SPONSORED HEADLINES

Comments

Use a Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook name, photo & other personal information you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment, and may be used on ESPN's media platforms. Learn more.