Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Talking Robert Griffin III and Redskins wide receivers

ESPN analysts, the sports talking heads and columnists are having a heyday with critiquing — and certainly criticizing – the performances of Cleveland Browns quarterbacks Brian Hoyer and Johnny Manziel after Monday night's loss to the Washington Redskins. They can have at it.

Neither QB showed any improvement from the first preseason game. In fact, Hoyer and Manziel seemed to regress; Manziel looked as if he were running scared.
Sack time! Washington Redskins outside LB Ryan Kerrigan takes Cleveland Browns QB Brian Hoyer to the ground during the Browns' first possession.  (John Kuntz/The [Cleveland] Plain Dealer)

"Johnny Football" didn't help his case as being immature and not ready for the NFL when he flipped off the Redskins' bench. That definitely will come back to hit Manziel where the sun don't shine — not to mention his wallet. Bet that NFL defenders' mouths are watering to get a chance to pound that cocky little dude into the ground.

I don't have much more to offer on the Browns except to say there were plenty of catchable balls thrown by both QBs that the Browns wide receivers simply dropped. Football analysts and fans need to keep that in mind. Yes, Hoyer and Manziel threw some off-target passes, but there were plenty of dropped balls.

Being a lifelong 'Skins fan, I'm pleased to see my Boyz squeak out an ugly 24-23 win. Here are some things that drew my attention Monday:

(Evan Vucci/Associated Press)
QB Robert Griffin III needs to take sliding lessons. RGIII admittedly told an ESPN sideline reporter he slid too late, which resulted in the ugly side, but he can't do that on a regular basis.

His leg took an awkward turn as he began to slide — and Griffin got up limping. Granted, he shook it off and it didn't seem to affect him later in the game, but another awkward move like that and my man could be injured. Again. (Check out this WASHINGTON POST story about how Redskins coach Jay Gruden plans to talk to RGIII about protecting himself.)

So here's my recommendation: Track down Joe Theismann and get some tips from him; Theismann was a master of sliding at the end of a scramble.

RGIII has to get out of bounds sooner when he runs. Sure, he made some nice yardage on a run to the sideline, but there was no need for him to get the extra yards. Griffin had the opportunity to step out of bonds just before the first Browns defender. Instead, as RGIII told ESPN, the three Cleveland defenders delivered a series of "ping-pong" hits before he went to the sideline.

Redskins QB Robert Griffin III drops back for a pass.
(Brad Mills/USA Today Sports)
Griffin is developing as a pocket passer. (I've already addressed this in a previous CCC post when I previewed the game.) Needless to say, the more RGIII becomes confident in hanging in the pocket, the more dangerous a passer he will be. And I saw a significant development there Monday.

Why didn't coach Jay Gruden call an end-around run for running back Alfred Morris before fourth down? Heck, Coach Ashby here called that before it happened! Having the 'Skins run Morris on the outside at the goal line on second or third downs would have kept the Browns' defense a bit more honest and possibly meant the Redskins had more options to punch it into the endzone.

Morris needs to learn to handle pitch-offs. I had a bad memory of last year's season opener against the Beagles — I mean, the Eagles — when he fumbled during the first drive. 'Nuff said.

Redskins QB Colt McCoy greets Browns QB Johnny Manziel after Monday's game.
(John Kuntz/The [Cleveland] Plain Dealer)
The 'Skins have a nice trio of talented quarterbacks. Second-stringer Kirk Cousins looked sharp. And despite throwing interceptions, both he and former Browns starting QB Colt McCoy threw some nice long balls.

• Even more important, the 'Skins have a dangerous set of wide receivers. Washington has a wealth of talent in its receiving corps: Pierre Garcon, DeSean Jackson, Santana Moss and and Jordan Reed. 

Given Griffin's arm strength, talented and speedy running, Morris being such a beast and the 2014 version of the 'Posse, there's no reason the 'Skins can't do quite well during the regular season. Here's hoping the offense will click and the Redskins' defense can shut down their opponents. So what else can I say but "Hail to the Redskins!"


  1. Great article! I completely agree so of course I consider it insightful.

  2. Thanks for the feedback. Go Skins!!!!