It’s true that the Washington Redskins have the St. Louis Rams to prepare to this Sunday, but it seems that Mike Shanahan has an equally important job on his to-do list as well: Calming down the hype around Robert Griffin III, who became the first rookie to receive the NFL offensive player of the week award for his debut performance.
People expected it to be a bit slower, but that Heisman trophy and his final year with Baylor didn’t come out of thin air. Robert Griffin III is a star, and everything he showed inside the Superdome against a largely clueless New Orleans Saints (the offensive schemes made them look that way) indicates that this is the real deal. Great arm, great decisions, excellent ability to improvise and operate outside the pocket when necessary. A born star.
John Madden, who some people value his opinion (although less and less do) actually came out and said Griffin is the best player in the NFL today. After one game. The comparison? Tim Tebow who can throw, which is pretty much something you can say about anyone who has the passing-running equation in his favor.
Griffin showed more than promise or potential. He simply showed he was good, right here, right now. The only quarterback in the league to throw for over 300 yards and two touchdowns without getting intercepted. No Drew Brees, no Aaron Rodgers, no Matthew Stafford (who had a lot of problems against the Rams) and no Tom Brady. Only Griffin.
But week 2, and as the season progresses, it’ll get tougher. The Redskins played the same kind of ball fake all game long and the Saints defense, obviously not in perfect condition personnel-wise and preparation-wise, couldn’t handle it. The Rams, who made Stafford look very bad, might offer a big more of a disturbance in the secondary for Griffin. Teams that can stop the run (the Rams aren’t that kind of team) will be hard to handle as well, and the real test of Griffin and his offensive line’s ability to protect him and give him time is still waiting ahead.
For now, it seems like a good start. The Redskins have the kind of front that will give Sam Bradford trouble, like they did with Drew Brees, who had a lot of problems finding good looks or passes over outstretched arms. For Griffin, it’ll be continuing the game plan from week 1. Keeping it simple, throw the defense off balance, before he can come through with his complete skill set. Just remember – eventually, it came down to one score from being a tied game. As good as Griffin is and may be, the Redskins are far from a perfect team or Super Bowl contender at this point.