The RGIII mess in Washington

Things keep deteriorating for Robert Griffin III in Washington. He was hurt again against the Lions, and now the debate begins as everyone tries to assign blame.

Given the offensive play of the Washington offensive line, some are naturally making the argument that Jay Gruden should have sat RGIII earlier in the preseason game.

Also, if you read through this comprehensive breakdown of the RGII plays during the game, it’s clear that the offensive line was a complete mess. First round pick Brandon Scherff is having a very tough time adjusting to right guard (this is discussed in the video above).

But it’s also clear the RGIII is part of the problem. He seems to have trouble finding the right read, particularly on blitzes, and there’s no way he’s going to learn unless he plays. Of course too much abuse can make a quarterback skittish, but RGIII has to learn to move in the pocket, find the right target, and avoid unnecessary contact.

At this point, his basic judgement and decision-making is a real problem. In the first preseason game, I watched him scramble for a first down against the Browns and he took two serious hits from a linebacker and a lineman. His decision was foolish. RGIII is nowhere near a quarterback like Russell Wilson who has an uncanny ability to realize when he should take off running versus using his mobility to buy more time to make a killer throw.

Even Johnny Manziel appears to be learning how to stay in the pocket and go through his progressions.

With RGIII, you can blame the players around him, or realize that he seems to invite contact when he plays. AS the linked article points out, the play that cause the injury was a result of an unnecessary scramble by RGIII and another unforced fumble.

Also, I think the pairing with Jay Grudan was a mistake. While Griffin clearly needs to learn to play quarterback the right way, Gruden’s classic West Coast Offense seems like a poor fit for Griffin’s talents. He probably would have been better served by a system that emphasizes downfield throws like the one used by Norv Turner.

We’ll see how this plays out, but right now the RGIII situation seems like a complete mess.

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