Saturday, August 23, 2014

The GBU: RGIII vs. Cleveland Browns

(GET OUT OF BOUNDS OR SLIDE!!!!!! Photo:AP/Evan Vucci)

I think ever since RGIII suffered a concussion early in his rookie season (vs. Falcons -2012) the fan base has held their collective breaths every time Griffin takes a hit, but most importantly when he starts to scramble out of the pocket. I know I do. It's not that Robert is made of glass and will shatter at the mere touch of another NFL player, it's that he tends to carelessly throw his body around as if he had the frame of John Riggins or Mike Sellers.

He doesn't.

If Robert were to read this, I hope that he understands that this doesn't come from someone who doubts his ability or questions his toughness. I'm not a hater, just a person who would like to see RGIII in league ten years from now and not wince every time he takes hits that looks more suited in WWE than the NFL.

It's a few days late but that was my biggest takeaway from the game with the Browns. That said, we saw some very good things with Robert that are worth noting. So let me get right into a RGIII version of my The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.

The Good

(Photo: Richard Lipski/AP)
I can already tell you that the O-line and it's protection will make or break this team. Doesn't really matter who the QB really is, however it will be even more vital for a developing pocket passer in RGIII.

What I loved was that RGIII scanned the field, kept his balance and mechanics intact and made his progressions. The end results were quickly released accurate passes to DeSean Jackson, Jordan Reed and a few others. Griffin would not have done this in 2012 and would have struggled more with this in 2013.

Griffin also showed accuracy in his deep ball to Andre Roberts. Last year he tended to either overthrow or under throw every deep ball last year. So far, he placed the ball in a good position for Roberts to make the catch.

Finally, with the brace off, Griffin looks like he has the speed and the agility that he had in his rookie season. That burst and mobility will help him get out of jams and get to his spots this season.

The Bad

(Photo: Richard Lipski/AP)
I think one of Robert's biggest problems is that he isn't willing to quit on a play. Instead of throwing away the ball, he holds onto it too long and gets sacked or hit. Instead of sliding or running out of bounds he tries to get an extra yard or two and hurts himself either by a rushed slide or taking additional needless hits. This happened again on Monday and if Robert doesn't figure this out, there is no way he'll get through a sixteen game season. I wish Mark Brunell was still around. He knew when to give up on a play and when to run. RGIII could learn something from watching a few of his games from the 2005 season.

The interception was just another example.  Griffin was pressured, threw off of his back foot, while falling backward which led for an easy floater that Joe Haden could easily pick off.

Also, there was a sack by Paul Kruger that Griffin could have avoided had he just stepped up in the pocket. Instead, Griffin tried to use his speed to get away. He went backward and spun away from the pressure. The problem is that he spun right into Kruger. Had Griffin just stepped up, he would have avoided Kruger and had plenty of space (and a clear passing lane) to make a play.

The Ugly

The fact is that RGIII is still in a place where is not a college QB anymore but not where he needs to be to be an elite talent in the NFL. That doesn't mean that he won't get there, it just means that it will take some time to get there. Jay Gruden seems to have Griffin on a better path than Mike Shanahan did and while there were some great moments in 2012-2013, Griffin didn't get developed as well as he needed to be to succeed in 2014.

Poor coaching? Injury? Or player who doesn't fully get it? Maybe a little of all three? Hopefully the 2014 season will start to have us see the player we want to see in RGIII with out holding our breaths on every play.

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