By most accounts, Robert Griffin III finished the Redskins first week of training camp on a positive note and provided some much needed reason for optimism.
Griffin needed it, the Redskins coaches have wanted it and it give us in the media something to be optimistic about heading into the second week of camp.
“Overall, I think he’s handled everything extremely well,” Redskins Head Coach Jay Gruden told reporters Monday. “He’s benefiting from Coach (Matt) Cavanaugh’s presence and he’s benefiting from the repetitions. I feel he’s on a steady climb and we’ve just got to keep him that way.”
So much has been made of the criticism Griffin III has received from various national reporters and secret polls, but none of that really matters because it’s just opinion & sometimes nonsense.
Now the question is – how will he build on a mostly solid week one, based on reporters staked out in Richmond?
The answer is simple – we don’t know - but we will be able to tell quickly.
As somebody who has covered the team on a daily basis for six years before this season, I am excited to get my first look at Griffin in person this training camp on Wednesday and then Thursday morning brings an added bonus.
This is what I want to see. A different look, a different challenge. An old-school defensive mind in Romeo Crennel, who serves as Houston’s Defensive Coordinator, and more than just Watt, the NFL’s best player.
The Texans bring the newly signed Vince Wilfork at nose tackle and Brian Cushing at inside linebacker. The secondary includes one of the better young free safeties in the game in Rahim Moore plus a solid cornerback tandem of Johnathan Joseph and Kareem Jackson.
Both of those players gave Griffin and the Redskins offense all sorts of fits in the season opener last year in Houston.
The Texans were relentless with their pass rush in that game while Griffin and the Redskins executed their offense fairly well overall, completing a lot of short, high percentage passes.
The Redskins should have won that game. They moved the ball well enough to win but did not execute in the red zone and also had two costly turnovers.
Still, this is a great test. It will most closely resemble what Griffin’s next challenge is: Figuring out opposing defenses that are trying to beat him down. The Texans experience won’t fully represent what Griffin and the Redskins offense will have to face next Thursday night in Cleveland but it will be a good tune-up or test.
This is also a reminder that no matter what Griffin or any quarterback in the NFL does in August, this means very little when the bullets start flying for real.
As every fan should know or remember, the quarterback is not to be touched in practices. They wear a gold jersey for the Redskins as a reminder.
Quarterbacks think differently and react differently when opposing players have pads on and then it cranks up a notch when they can actually hit them or bring some pain.
That reality affects mechanics and decision making. That is where a true sign of progress will come. That’s when we’ll know the truth about how far Griffin has come.