After taking a second look I wanted to share my detailed analysis of the Redskins vs Bears preseason game. I focused primarily on the offense in both halves, and while I have some comments on the defense and special teams it won’t be as in depth.
What I liked: Griffin showed how deadly he can be on his play action bootleg strike to Hankerson. He was near perfect on that play (perhaps with a softer cushion and no pressure he could put the ball in the numbers), and it’s a play that figures to be a big part of the Redskins offense this year. Another play I really liked was his 16 yard strike to Moss on the 2nd drive. There was a little pressure coming, and Griffin stood tall and made a really good throw in a pretty tight window. The final play that impressed me with Griffin was his 14 yard scramble on 3rd and 5. While there wasn’t a lot of pressure, Griffin was smart to see that he could pick up the 1st down and not wait for a receiver to come open. It was a decisive decision, that Griffin needs to make quickly and it was the right call. He also showed how a simple scramble can turn into a pretty big gain on that play.
What I didn’t like: I thought Griffin’s overall decision making was suspect. At least two of those sacks were avoidable, especially the one where he is simply run out of bounds. He has to know the situation and how to get rid of the ball in the face of pressure. Those were free yards (and in one case a free ball) to the other team. It’s completely understandable for this to be a struggle for a rookie, but Griffin has to get the ball out of his hands quicker. There were two questionable decisions with throws for me as well. The first was on 2nd and 10 from the Bears 34 yard line, when Griffin threw a 5 yard pass to Pierre Garcon. While the pass was fine and Garcon was a nice safe read, it was one of the few plays where Griffin had a sound pocket, and Garcon was not going to have a chance for yards after the catch with some defenders around him. It would have been a nice time to let the play develop and see if you could get a bigger strike. The other play that I questioned was Griffin’s final throw of the night. On 3rd and 4 from the Bears 49 yard line, Griffin attempted to throw to Moss deep, despite Moss being covered well with safety help near by. Again the pocket was fairly sound, and Griffin chose a low percentage throw into essentially double coverage, instead of a shorter route to Davis who looked open and capable of getting the first down. Even if he didn’t like the Davis option, he probably could have waited to see if another receiver got open on a more high percentage throw.
Another area that I didn’t like was Griffin’s accuracy/ball placement. On the throw to Moss in double coverage, on his final throw of the game, Griffin was high and off target, giving the play no chance of success. On Griffin’s other two incompletions, Griffin was also off the mark throwing behind both Niles Paul and Pierre Garcon. Some may make the case that Paul could have caught the ball, but it would have been a really tough catch for even the elite TE’s in the league, and on a simple route without pressure, Griffin has to put that ball in a place where Paul can easily catch it and run for the first down. The Garcon throw, Griffin rushed it and the timing and placement was off. Those are two easy throws that Griffin has to make at the next level. One pass that was sort of in between was his dump off to the FB Dorson Boyce on 2nd and 13. While Griffin did well to not force the ball down field, and stepped up as he felt some pressure, he needs to hit Boyce in stride and not force him to leave his feet. Boyce had no one around him, and if he doesn’t have to leave his feet he probably picks up a couple extra yards, and would maybe have gotten the first down. Overall it’s not a bad play by any stretch by Griffin, but it’s the type of play that you want to see him get sharper on. The final poor throw, was on an attempt that won’t officially count and that is his deep pass to Garcon. Now Garcon did a great job to draw (and actually induce) a pass interference call, but the throw was well off the mark. It won’t show up in the stat sheet of course, and is not a high percentage throw, but it is supposed to be a strong suit of Griffin’s, and one that the Skins haven’t seen.
Overall: Now not much can really be determined from 8 passes and a handful of other drop backs in a preseason game. The evaluation job was made even tougher due to the poor blocking that plagued the Redskins. That being said there are areas both positive and negative that are more apparent about Griffin’s progress than were known before the game. Griffin needs to continue to develop in his decision making and on timing routes. For me the greatest concern was his accuracy and touch, which is considered a strength of his (esp. when on the move). The more indepth throws and reads can come later, but on the simple throws Griffin has to do a better job at setting his feet.
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Check back tomorrow for the rest of the offense and defensive analysis!