Robert Griffin III’s passing problems raise questions about his ability to become elite
Although it would be easy to ascribe Griffin’s setback to the ongoing rehabilitation of his knee after reconstructive surgery, there’s more to the problem than rustiness. This season, the 2012 NFL offensive rookie of the year hasn’t demonstrated the confidence, instincts or efficiency quarterbacks need to thrive in the pocket.
On many plays this season, Griffin has been a one-read quarterback, usually locking in on top wideout Pierre Garcon or impressive rookie tight end Jordan Reed and failing to find an alternative when they are covered. Frequently, he waits for receivers to complete routes instead of releasing the ball in anticipation of them breaking free from coverage, giving defensive backs more time to disrupt plays.
Robert Griffin III used to be his team’s most uplifting player, but he is becoming a weight, maybe even a burden. Where is that fresh kid with the unbeatable combination of modesty and limitlessness? In his place is a player who’s coming off as an unteachable know-it-all. The guy has played just 22 games, and into that time he has packed a few random stabs at semi-greatness, followed by a lot of unseemly power machinations, and drivel about being a leader, without yet mastering his craft.
“I’m just really focusing on being the playmaker that I know I can be and not letting anybody else tell me how to play this game,” he said.
A second-year guy doesn’t want anyone telling him how to play this game? It’s the statement of someone who has perhaps not been as open to learning as he should have been. According to Hasselbeck, one problem with this Redskins offense is that Griffin doesn’t seem to have graduated to the next level of decision-making. He is not scanning the field and responding to what defenses show him.
He created this power play, but likes to disappear behind a smoothly cultured façade and leaderly sounding platitudes, which, if you analyze them, really mean, “I’m in charge here.”
Listen carefully: “I make sure no one becomes a cancer on the team,” Griffin said earlier this week when asked how he was dealing with failure. “Your job as a quarterback is to know how to manage people. I feel I’ve done a good job of that my whole career.”
There are more than a couple problems with the above statement, starting with the fact that it is utterly lacking in self-deprecation. Second, you’re a sophomore in the NFL. What career? You haven’t had one yet. Come back and talk to us when you’ve played 50 games. Or even 25.