Redskins' offense: What we learned

August, 13, 2014
8/13/14
8:30
AM ET
RICHMOND, Va. -- Things we learned after three weeks in Virginia's capital:
  • Quarterback Robert Griffin III remains a work in progress as he transitions to being a pocket passer. The Redskins would be wise to still incorporate his legs, but he does not have to be defined by them. Griffin needs more experience in this situation and coach Jay Gruden understands it will take some time. Griffin has not had a bad camp; he has not had a phenomenal camp. He’s better than he was last summer.
  • Gruden will not make excuses for Griffin. He also won’t just knock him. When Gruden talks, he’ll praise but also critique but it never seems personal. Gruden comes across as a fair boss.
  • Gruden coaches with energy and shows his passion on the field. He's not a screamer, but he will get excited and he will chastise.
  • The rookie linemen are not ready to start. Guard Spencer Long has a chance to develop into a starter, but he’s not there yet. Long still needs time to recognize defenses. He missed some blocks in the preseason opener, and in practice those growing pains are evident. It takes time. Tackle Morgan Moses looks good one play and looks like he has a ways to go the next. It’s all about adjusting to playing at his height (6-foot-8) in the NFL. He must bend properly every play or he’ll have issues.
  • The Redskins need stronger play from the backup tackles. That stems from Moses and also -- third-year tackle Tom Compton. He had chances to prove he had progressed enough to be a spot starter, but he lost too many one-on-one battles in practice and against the Patriots. The coaches say he's been fine, but I' not sold.
  • Kory Lichtensteiger will be a good center. I always thought so, but he’s had a strong camp.
  • Not sure how the offensive line will be in protection. There were some issues in camp – was it just the line or indecision by the quarterback? Tough to always tell and, if it was anything like last year, it would be a combination of both.
  • The rookie running backs have some flash, but none are ready to be a third-down back. Lache Seastrunk is a fast back, but loves bouncing it outside a little too much. His hands are questionable and he needs work in protection. But that speed is dynamite. Silas Redd, an undrafted free agent, ran with power in the opener. But he, too, is not a third-down back.
  • So that means Roy Helu should be the third-down back for a second consecutive year. He’s not bad here at all, but they will try to groom someone, perhaps Seastrunk, for this job over the next year.
  • The Redskins added a lot more speed in the passing game, but it’s the running game that has looked the most consistent. That should be the case given that it’s the same as the past few seasons. Regardless, it’s the best part of the offense.
  • The offensive speed is impressive. Andre Roberts hasn’t been a deep threat in his career despite good speed, but he’ll be a threat on underneath routes and crosses. Against man coverage the Redskins can clear out areas and send a receiver running across over the middle. They can put themselves in positions for good catch-and-runs, if Griffin gets enough time.
  • DeSean Jackson’s speed is just different. But there have been a few start-and-stops with him when it comes to leg issues and missing practices. If he can stay healthy, he’ll be fun to watch.
  • Jackson and Jordan Reed will occupy the defense’s attention, even if teams don’t double them. Sometimes it’s just about a player cheating to their side, opening up a better throwing window.
  • Ryan Grant is worthy of the praise heaped on him by coaches. I don’t know what impact he’ll have during the season, but he does run excellent routes. He’s not a burner, so if teams get real physical with him, I’ll be curious to see how he responds. But he’s been good.
  • Reed will be a prime target for Griffin. Reed needs to stay on the field. He offers Griffin the one target with size. Reed offers the best pass-catching radius for Griffin – and the only player with height. That’s a good thing for a quarterback who misses high.
  • Logan Paulsen is fun to watch, if you like watching tight ends with precise technique in warm-up drills.
  • Trent Williams is still fast and athletic. Looks like every year he comes to camp in a little better shape. After they drafted him I’d never have thought he’d be a team leader. Yet he’s the one Gruden wanted as a captain.
  • Kai Forbath needs to pick it up.
  • Roberts doesn’t always look as comfortable as you’d like returning punts.
  • Alfred Morris is still good. There’s a big gap between Morris and the other runners. But 20-25 catches? Not sure about that one.
  • Darrel Young appeared to have a strong camp. Still a good blocker.
  • Chris Thompson can’t stay healthy.

John Keim

ESPN Washington Redskins reporter

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