Defense Faces Another QB Challenge

From one dual-threat quarterback to another with Robert Griffin III leading the Redskins on Sunday. Green Bay has plenty to fix after being destroyed by Colin Kaepernick last week. The Redskins have plenty to work on, too, after an abysmal first half on Monday.

For the Green Packers, who rank 29th in the league in points allowed and 31st in yards allowed, it doesn't get any easier on Sunday against the Washington Redskins.

After getting destroyed again by the 49ers' Colin Kaepernick, the Packers face another elite dual-threat quarterback in Robert Griffin III, last year's Rookie of the Year.

After a miserable start in Monday night's opener against Philadelphia, Griffin almost rallied the Redskins out of a 33-7 hole. Griffin finished 30-of-49 passing for 329 yards, with two touchdowns and two interceptions. Griffin, whose 815 rushing yards last season set a rookie record for a quarterback, added 24 yards on the ground in his first game of any sort since last year's knee injury in the playoff loss to Seattle.

"No, that's an excuse," Griffin, in a conference call with Packers beat reporters on Wednesday morning, said when asked if his slow start was a byproduct of not playing in the preseason. "I'm not in the business of making excuses. We're responsible for the way we played and we didn't play very well in the first half. We turned it on in the second but it was too late by then. We just have to make sure we play 60 minutes."

The first half was a horror show from Washington's perspective. The Redskins trailed 26-7, with the defense scoring the only points. The Eagles dominated in every way imaginable: 21-3 in first downs, 322-75 in yards, 53-21 in plays. Griffin was just 5-of-11 for 53 yards, with one interception and a passer rating of 22.2. Washington's seven first-half possession ended fumble, interception, safety, punt, punt, punt and end of half. The third quarter started with Griffin's second interception.

"We were just sloppy as an offense," he said. "We made our coaches look bad on a national stage and that's not the way this organization is run, it's not the way we run as an offense. We'll clean that up and we have to do that this Sunday."

At least the Redskins built some momentum, with three touchdowns and 22 first downs on their final five possessions.

"We should have played the second half first, that's for sure," Redskins coach Mike Shanahan said during his conference call. "I was pleased with our guys that they came back the way they did, especially after starting out the second half with an interception. Anytime you've got four turnovers in eight drives, usually good things don't happen."

On Sunday, they'll face a Green Bay defense that was dissected by Kaepernick. While Kaepernick and Griffin have vastly different builds, they boast the same dangerous skill-set with their ability to win games running and passing.

"Bottom line is Green Bay didn't win. We didn't win," Griffin said. "We've got two teams who are hungry to get a win. And they're going to meet on the field in Green Bay and that's all you can worry about. I'm not going to get into the specifics of what their defense did versus Kaepernick and all those other things. We just have to go prepare and that's what we're ready to go do today."

Griffin's development was slowed by the injury, which prevented him from participating in offseason workouts. He did practice in training camp but Shanahan held him out of the preseason games.

Of course, it's not like Griffin was a middle-of-the-pack quarterback who needs to take an enormous step forward during his second season. As a rookie, he finished third in the league in passer rating at 102.4.

"I think it is a difference between night and day because you kind of know what to expect and there's one thing we learned from this team last year—this team's never going to stop fighting," Griffin said. "That was also shown on Monday night, even though it looked like all the odds were stacked against us. We still fought back and got back into that game. So, you don't ever question the heart of this team. I think that's not only what we proved once again, not only to everyone but to ourselves. We just know we have to play better."

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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at

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