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Washington Redskins: Breaking Down Robert Griffin III’s Pre Season Debut

Washington Redskins defeated the Buffalo Bills Thursday in their pre-season opener, 7 – 6. Of course, the biggest story-line revolves around Heisman trophy winner, and 2nd overall pick – Robert Griffin III. Two attributes most use to judge a young Quarterback is command of the huddle and poise in the pocket. Robert displayed both attributes Thursday. There wasn’t much flash in his outing, but the quarterback managed to go 4 for 6, 70 yards, and 1 touchdown. Robert even displayed his ability to go through his progressions quickly and make decisive decisions ( I guess holding on to the football during practice worked after all). Not to mention, all 6 of his throws were drop-back passes. He didn’t run any boots, he didn’t move laterally in pocket as many athletic QB’s tend to do. He dropped back, stood tall, and threw the ball accurately.

While watching the game live, a few things – especially protection wise, went unnoticed. Below we’ll review each of Griffin’s passes, from what I saw after reviewing the game tape.

Throw #1:

  • Shotgun trips left - Leonard Hankerson lined up as a single on the far right, with a “trips” look on the left with Santana Moss, Fred Davis, and Pierre Garçon.
  • Perfect protection by the offensive line. It should be noted that Mario Williams played over the right tackle, Tyler Polumbus on this play.
  • 3 step drop, throws an accurate pass to Garçon who ran an “out” route. The catch was ruled incomplete, due to Garçon not getting two feet in. Hard to tell from the replay if he did or didn’t, but it was a good throw.
Throw #2:
  • Pistol formation – Two receiver set with Garçon and Leonard Hankerson.
  • Solid protection with Mark Anderson on Trent Williams and again, Mario Williams over the right tackle – Tyler Polumbus.
  • Griffin – catch, rock, and throws to Hankerson on an “out” route. Play results in a competition of 12 yards, mostly due to Hankerson’s YAC (yards after catch).
Very next play, the hand-off between Griffin and Royster was muffed. That’s typically on the quarterback and Griffin took full  responsibility for not making sure the hand-off was secured. Though Royster defended his quarterback saying he should have held on to the ball.


Throw #4:
  • Single back, two receiver set – designed QB running play with an option to dump off.
  • Play action – Robert notices a defender with a free shot at him and wisely chooses not to run, but instead throws it to Niles Paul – the designed check down. Play results in a incomplete, and was the first of many drops for Niles. Robert displayed his variety of delivery points by throwing side armed. Showed great athleticism and decisive decision making on the play.
Throw #5:
  • Pistol formation – Two tight end/receiver set.
  • Protection, again was great. Mario Williams was over the right tackle – Tyler Polumbus, who held his own. Adam Gettis and Will Montgomery did a great job keeping Kyle Williams’ bull rush under control. Maurice Hurt handled Marcell Dareus as well.
  • Two step drop, Robert looks to his first option and moves on through his progression making a decisive and accurate throw to Pierre Garçon who ran (what looks to be) a “6″ route. Play results in a gain of 19 yards.
Throw #6:
  • Shotgun formation
  • Screen pass over the 6ft 4 Mark Anderson, into the hands of Pierre Garçon who went 20 yards for the only touchdown of the game. It should be noted – in ’11 the Redskins only scored once through the air with a ball caught in the field of play. That displayed the lack of playmakers that can create YAC and is the reason Washington brought in guys like Garçon during the off-season.
  • Trent Williams and Maurice Hurt did a great job pulling out and making blocks on the second level.
Emmanual Benton is a featured Washington Redskins columnist for If you enjoy talking Redskins and all things NFL, follow Emmanual on Twitter: