Playing in the same city as one of the best baseball teams in Major League Baseball, one would think finding the resources to learn to simply slide feet first would be an easy task.
But not for Robert Griffin III.
Even after spending an entire season in a knee brace, last Monday night’s preseason game against the Cleveland Browns was evidence that there is still cause for concern in D.C.
Griffin ran the ball four times for 24 yards in the Redskins’ 24-23 win over the Browns. His night started off well showing tremendous pocket presence on a long down-field completion to DeSean Jackson in which Griffin stayed in the pocket and delivered a strike despite the pressure brought onto him by the Brown’s defensive line. Later, on Griffin’s first rush of the night, the former Heisman trophy winner eluded a linebacker in the backfield and scrambled for a short gain and slid safely to the ground feet-first.
After showing these flashes of the RGIII of old, the Redskins’ quarterback went back to being the 2013 shell of himself. Griffin threw an interception, and a very poor one at that. All-pro cornerback Joe Haden was sitting on a route and the ball landed right between his numbers.
But what really got the sportswriters anxious to jump on Griffin’s case was a rush of his that has been consistently described as a “pinball.” The third year starter was hit by three or four Browns before being forced out of bounds.
Soon after that, Griffin attempted a slide, possibly to please his coaches and in doing so, awkwardly came down on his surgically repaired knee. Even more concerning was the fact that Griffin limped around for a little after the play was over.So the real question on everyone’s mind is this: was what we saw on Monday night something or nothing?
My stance on the subject is nothing, and here is why.
Griffin spent a whole season last year with a knee brace, basically being forced to become more of a pocket quarterback. He showed on the first drive that he can stand patiently in the pocket and deliver accurate throws.
Griffin understands that this is the preseason and the chance for injury is significantly lower than that during the regular season because the players are playing at half speed. If there was ever a time for him to test out the ability of his running game, it would be now.
Also, with a new offensive system built around explosive receivers and a pro-bowl caliber running back, the pressure is off of Griffin to make plays with his feet.
The man is a work horse on and off the field. Griffin’s football I.Q. is on par with that of other top-tier quarterbacks in the league. Learning to slide is something RGIII can learn in his sleep, and there is no doubt in my mind and in the mind of the Redskins’ organization that Griffin will adjust and prevail.