Last season was a disaster for the Washington Redskins, who are hoping that a new head coach but more than that, a return to his rookie form and health situation for Robert Griffin III will mean a completely different story in 2014.
Jay Gruden as head coach over Mike Shanahan, who wasn’t Griffin’s biggest fan. There were too many bad things going on with the Redskins last season, internally as a ball club and on the field, with each thing affecting the other. At least for now, there seems to be harmony on all accords, and it should show once they take the field for the first time.
New offensive coordinator, Sean McVay, thinks that a Griffin without a brace on his knee is going to be just as good as he was during his 2012 rookie season, and maybe even better. Or at least that’s what he said to the Washington Post.
I don’t think there’s any question: he looks explosive. He looks like he is exactly what he was in the 2012 season. I think people underestimate when you have a brace on your knee how much that truly restricts you. So I think being able to take that off, he looks extremely explosive. When you’re a quarterback that has the ability to kind of buy time with your legs, keep your eyes downfield and then if guys are playing with their back to the quarterback, now he’s got a chance to take off and run it and create yards that way. So I think that’s going to be a big part of what he does. And he’s continuing to get more and more comfortable feeling some of those soft spots in the pockets, and being able to remain a passer while also understanding that hey, I do have this elite trait with my legs and athleticism, that if things do break down I can create that way also.
More and more of a pocket passer? Probably. The Redskins weren’t bad last season just because Griffin was limited in his movement and confidence because of the knee brace, but turning him into a Michael Vick style quarterback who takes too much punishment for his risky play is simply missing the point.
Griffin will primarily be a pocket passer, who goes off running a lot less than we saw him do during his rookie season. Healthy, he should be one of the more dangerous players with the ball when taking off, but sometimes people forget just how accurate of a passer he was during his rookie season (65.6%), and that the decline in that aspect was more worrying and harmful to the Redskins than his inability to break out for big runs. He still averaged 5.7 yards per carry last season.