Redskins vs Bears Analysis Part 1

August 20, 2012 in NFL

Part 1:Part 2:Part 3:

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.


Robert Griffin-

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.

Check back tomorrow for the rest of the offense and defensive analysis!

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  • BigDaddyTM

    Steve, I'm not diggin' your analysis on this one. On the Tana throw at the end of the night, it looked like a throw away or Tana stopped running the route hard. Either one will get you the result that we saw.

    The Pep push out of bounds play is one where it looked like he was looking for some help from a receiver who could have gotten open if they tried to. He pumped several times signaling to SOMEBODY (I don't know who) to try harder but the opening never came. Can't fault him for that one until I know what he was looking at (it is very disappointing to hear/read EVERYBODY point to that play and saying that he is trying too hard to make a play and should just throw the ball away but no one is asking what he saw…). On the fumble I can't see for the life of me how anyone can scream "Ball Security, Son!" when any QB that I have watched play at any level gets hit there and the ball comes out. The Rook is sidestepping a safety flying at him like a jet, STUMBLES while seeing someone open in the flat, then as he recovers from his stumble and attempts to unload the ball he gets sat upon by a guy who, if he was being blocked by a competent blocker (sorry Fred, but that was awful) never gets close. I think that play happened, in it's entirety, in under 3 seconds. It's easy to do what was done in this article but there is more going on (and I know that you know this) then working back from the end result.

    The ball placement that your talking about is something that we haven't had here consistently since Joe. The last time that we had it at all is with Brad. Give this kid a break and let him grow. I'm seeing some things that, again, we haven't had here in a long time and the perfect way to squash that is for some writer(s) to get the fan base whipped into a frenzy about things that only (maybe) 5% of pro QB's are doing consistently today. Even the great Luck is throwing the ball to a spot where the receiver should be, not leading them towards more yards.

    Perspective is key here people. Despite our expectations and hopes, let's temper what we demand of this 22 year old. Let's save some of these complaints and critiques for the end of the season, or better yet, the middle of next season, if there still hasn't been any improvements shown. Your 'overall' attempted to do what I'm suggesting but then goes back off the rails again by the end of the paragraph. Patience. As a coach this was a great night. With Griffs type of personality it gives you the opportunity to see the things that he is saying out loud become manifest. "I trust my line.", "taking care of the ball is key", "I, and the rest of the offense, want to dominate the D", "I'm not a runner. I'm a QB who happens to be able to run". All of these are statements that were tested. These are truths in Griffs mind that were put under fire. They will now be further ingrained or, if found inaccurate, reformulated. Just what you want as a coach. He will develop from here.

    Another thing that, as a coach, you're looking at is, when adversity hit did that head hang? Did he come unglued emotionally? Did he become reckless? Did the pressure of the moment get to him? Did he try to rally the troops or blame them for the failures? Did he pull himself together out on the field or did it happen after his playtime was over? Did he seize the moment or did the moment seize him?

    I don't personally know him, but I do know the TYPE of guy that Griff is. He will work obsessively to attain perfection (how he sees it in his mind) or he will fail spectacularly.

    In the AREA that he is working to improve.

    However, he will not fail in being one of the best at what he does.

    The key to a guy like Griff (and Cuz for that matter) is what you see happen next practice and next game.

    • Steve Shoup

      thanks for the comment BigDaddy TM,

      couple of things i wanted to clear up:

      -The Santana throw I hope wasn't a throw away since Griffin wasn't under pressure and it was 3rd down. Is there a possibility that Moss ran the wrong route? Sure, but given that it was 3rd and 4 and Griffin went deep to an area with one receiver (even close to it) and two defenders it's a poor decision and throw.

      – on the push out, I'm not expecting him to 'make a play', I'm expecting him to throw the ball away which there he could have easily done by throwing it out of bounds. That was a play that he definitely had time to get rid of it, and being forced out of bounds has got to be the most frustrating play, because that is just a loss of yards. It's not like a defender had his arm around him and there might be a fumble.

      -as for his fumble I'm not knocking him that much as it is a tough play, but when you hold on to the ball with free rushers bad things happen. A play like that the best outcome is probably throwing it at Morris's feet. Overall though I'd like to see him worry about protecting the ball more than avoiding the sack. His number one priority has to be ball security, even if that means the safety sacks him.

      -I have to disagree with you here, the top 10-15 QB's in the league have great to excellent ball placement. If Griffin is going to be a part of that group he needs to do the same. And for what it is worth in the 50 or so preseason attempts that Luck has had, he has been far better in ball placement. Putting it in tight windows, hitting receivers in stride or in the numbers, better touch etc.

      -Overall I agree with you about expectations, and that is what my article was about. Griffin despite the hype and kool-aid is not near his peak potential. There is a lot of development that is there, which is fine, and should be expected. This really isn't a knock on Griffin, just a look at how he performed.

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