Be Patient With RG3: Everything in D.C. Will Be Fine
When you are writing about the NFL, rather than watching games for pure entertainment, you start to notice that the league and its coverage has distinct patterns.
I wrote an article during the early part of last season telling everybody to not take a reactionary stance on Peyton Manning's early season struggles. He played some of the best teams in the league early that year, and without a preseason on a completely new team, it made sense that Manning did not look like the one we were used to in Indianapolis.
And nowadays, most people don't even remember that Manning was not at his best in the early part of last season. Unfortunately, I am now going to have to write the same thing about Robert Griffin III and the Washington Redskins, because we fans don't ever learn.
Right out of the gate, watching the Redskins offense on Monday night was like watching a first grader try to read. It was awkward, out of sync, and downright unsuccessful. By anyone who knows anything about sports, it was obvious that RG3 was rusty and that the offense simply was not used to having him run the show.
Missing the entire preseason obviously had an impact on Griffin. Although he came out of the game with decent numbers, RG3 struggled mightily in the first half. He did not throw a touchdown until the fourth quarter, and threw interceptions in the first quarter and early third quarter. He also fumbled in the first quarter, although it was scooped up by Alfred Morris.
Even beyond the throwing mishaps, the Redskins offense could not get anything going for the entire first half. That is something we had never seen from this offense last season. So, what now? Has RG3 lost all of the talent that he had last year like the Monstars sucked it out of him?
Let's be reasonable about this. Just like Manning a year ago, it is clear that Griffin struggled due to the fact that he is rusty and that he is coming back from a severe knee injury to a game where players are constantly diving at his feet.
The best advice for Griffin is to become comfortable on the football field again and then deal with the rest later.
It is only human for RG3 to take some time to acclimate himself to the gridiron and become comfortable looking downfield again while defenders are trying to clobber him. That is not an easy task for someone who probably still does not totally trust his knees' strength.
And what is the only way for him to regain that trust? By playing. And although for RG3 to become comfortable again it will take time, it will be worth it in the end.
A major difference between Griffin and Manning, though, is that Manning did not have to deal with all of the pundits telling him how he should play the game like they have been for RG3.
Everyone is telling him to either stop running the ball completely or be smarter when he runs. And although this is not horrible advice, it could get in his head and stop him from trusting his instincts, which is the worst thing that could happen.
Like with Cam Newton last year, we all want to see if Griffin can handle the pressure of criticism. Newton had trouble with it, but the two young quarterbacks have much different personalities.
RG3 appears to be the type of guy to shrug off any kind of compliment or criticism and trust his instincts. That will be key for the next couple of weeks, because I am sure there will be a lot of criticism out there.
The best advice for Griffin is to become comfortable on the football field again and then deal with the rest later. Because if he continues to look like he did in the first half all season, none of that stuff will matter.
But deep down, we all know that is not going to happen. RG3 is simply too good to regress that much. As the game went on Monday night, he looked better and therefore, so did the Redskins.
The biggest problem for Washington is that they have one of the toughest schedules in the league, but I still believe in this team. The NFC East will be wide open and with a comfortable RG3, I will put my eggs in that basket.
So, let's give Griffin III and the Washington Redskins some time to get reacquainted to each other before we start dismissing this team. It will make you all look like much smarter fans in the end.