Russell's review: Grading Robert Griffin III

We can't close the book on Robert Griffin IIIs performance in the preseason opener until we hear from Redskins analyst Chris Russell.

The Washington Redskins edged the Cleveland Browns 20-17 on Thursday night. That’s not really important but it serves as a foot note for the big storylines to come out of the Redskins first football gave in over eight months.

Niles Paul is done for the year. Same for Logan Paulsen and Silas Redd, but the critical loss is Paul who has just continued to blossom every year.

The loss of Paul, combined with the likely long-term loss of Logan Paulsen and Jordan Reed’s health issues leaves the Redskins with an enormous hole at a key position.

It will also affect everything the Redskins do on offense, especially their run attack on the edges and perhaps just as importantly, deny their quarterbacks of a couple of playmakers or safety valves.

Last night, I thought Robert Griffin III was good, but far from great. There were some encouraging moments over his 17 snaps and eight passing attempts.

Let’s take a look at the positives:

**Griffin hit Ryan Grant on a perfectly timed and located shallow cross from left to right on 3rd-and-5 for a first down. He confidently found a throwing lane, stepped into the pass out of the pistol drop formation. Chris Thompson helped with a nice cross-face blitz pickup.

**After another run play, Griffin on a play-action bomb flicked his wrist and hurled an almost perfect pass in the air 53 yards with ease only to have a potential touchdown or at least a 45-yard reception by Pierre Garcon dropped. It’s hard to throw it any better.

**On a 3rd-and-2 situation, Griffin appeared to have missed a couple of open underneath targets but exploded through a big gap in the defense for a three-yard gain and a first down.

**Griffin worked under center quite a bit in his two series of work. He had a short five-yard completion to Ryan Grant on a five-step drop but he got rid of the ball quickly.

He ran a weird-looking play-action boot to his left for a 22-yard completion to Ryan Grant once again, from under center at the snap.

On a 3rd-and-1, Griffin quickly dropped from under center and fired a pass to Darrel Young. Young caught it but was brought down immediately.

On a 2nd down red zone situation, Griffin took a three-step drop from under center, hit his back foot and fired a pass into the end zone that was thrown out-of-bounds intended for Pierre Garcon. The pass wasn’t exactly what you would want, but I loved the drop, plant and ability to throw off his plant. It appeared to be good timing.

Now the negatives:

**Griffin fired an inaccurate pass on a tight hook route to his left to rookie Evan Spencer on a 3rd-and-5 situation on the Redskins sixth offensive snap. Just have to make a better throw. Spencer appeared to have created a window of opportunity against Justin Gilbert.

**Griffin’s base on a five-yard completion appeared awkward and then he missed the couple of open targets mentioned above on the 3rd-and-2 run for a first down.

**On the play-action boot to his left, Griffin had an extremely awkward looking gallop as he executed the boot element of the play. On the throw, Griffin might have overthrown Niles Paul who was in the area on a crossing route underneath Grant who snatched the ball with a nice adjustment.

Not sure what exactly was supposed to happen with the particular play.

**On his final two throws of the night, Griffin was inaccurate in the end zone on a play described above in the positives section, and then on 3rd down was a tick late on an incomplete to Garcon again in the end zone. Griffin was belted hard on this throw off a safety blitz.

In the end, I thought Griffin was good for him and showed some signs of progress. Was he great? No. Was he perfect? Far from it. Does he need to do a lot more? Hell yes.

I give him a B minus grade for his first game action of 2015. What say you?

Breaking Burgundy Top Stories