The Washington Redskins had a tough task of facing the Chicago Bears Saturday, giving Robert Griffin III an extremely brash welcome to the NFL. Griffin was under pressure a lot during the first half and was sacked 3 times. At certain points it looked bad, but through it all Griffin maintained his poise and used this game as a learning experience.
When asked if the adjustment period was as expected or more difficult, Griffin said, “I think it’s as expected. I don’t think it’s any more difficult than I thought it would be. I didn’t think it would be easy and I certainly didn’t think it would be hard either. It’s just as expected, it’s right there in between. There’s a fine line between playing with fear and then taking bad plays and playing with no fear.”
Griffin ended his day going 5 of 8 for 49 yards, which is not bad considering he was under pressure for the majority of his snaps. With Griffin having world class speed and playmaking ability, it should come as no surprise that he now has to learn how to play smart football when on the move. It’s a different ball game in the NFL than college, and Griffin understands that. Against the Bears, he held on to the football at times trying to make a play and didn’t get out of bounds quickly on a few occasions as well. He was put in different situations that will help him grow as a football player.
Mike Shanahan talked about Griffin’s performance during his Monday presser - “Everybody wants to dissect every play. At the end of the day, you put him in different situations. [On] third downs, a couple of screens we had called were covered, and he took a couple of sacks on that instead of throwing it away – different things that will help him throughout the season. Every time he goes in a game situation, there are going to be constant learning experiences, and you’re hoping that you don’t make the same mistake twice.”
Washington faced a good Chicago 4-man front and cover 2 defense, which caused problems for not only Griffin, but the entire offense. “Against Buffalo, we didn’t play very much and it was kind of a clean slate, Griffin said.” “We went out, had two three-and-outs and put together a touchdown drive and got out. I think against the Bears we did a good job of coming back from my turnover and going and putting points on the board. Whether it was seven or three points, I thought we did a good job there. Other than that, I don’t necessarily point out little things that I did because it’s the old cliché, ‘There’s no I in team.’ I just try to pick out one thing that I did that was extremely great and that helped us out.”
In all, Washington has to look at this experience as the glass half full. Griffin has a ton of upside and an extremely unique skill-set that will continue to be molded. He’s a smart player that will learn quick from his mistakes, and although he took his lumps, there’s a lot of positives that came out of that game.