Those who think that the Redskins have a chance of showing substantial improvement this year are likely counting on Robert Griffin III having better ball security in 2012 that did Rex Grossman and John Beck last year.In 2011 the Redskins and their fans endured a season of Good Rex and Bad Rex with Grossman mixing in some nice downfield passes with interceptions that made you want to bang your head against a wall. Grossman (20) and Beck (4) combined for 24 picks; only the Eagles and Bills threw more.But the conventional wisdom is that RG3 might turn the ball over a lot as well as rookie quarterbacks are prone to doing. Is it reasonable to think that Griffin will be able to throw substantially fewer interceptions than the Beck-Rex combo did last year?There are a few reasons to think that the rookie might hold onto the ball better than the veterans who preceded him. In three-plus seasons as Baylors staring quarterback (one year was cut short when he tore is ACL early in the season), Griffin threw just 17 interceptions in 1192 pass attempts. Doing the math, just 1.4 percent of his passes were picked off.While the good habits that prevent interceptions can carry over from the NCAA to the NFL to some degree, Griffin will be facing considerably tougher defenses in the NFC East than he did in the Big 12. That doesnt render his Baylor performance totally moot but it does leave us looking for more evidence that he can stay away from throwing the ball to the guys in the other-colored jerseys.One thing we can do is look at how well quarterbacks with similar credentials to Griffins have performed as rookies. Since 2008, four quarterbacks who were drafted in the top five picks of the draft have started 15 or 16 games as a rookie. Cam Newton (17 interceptions), Sam Bradford (15), Mark Sanchez (20), and Matt Ryan (11) all threw fewer picks as rookies then Beck and Grossman did last year. In addition, Andy Dalton, a second-round pick of the Bengals last year, started all 16 games and threw just 13 interceptions.So, it can be done. It is not unrealistic to think that Griffin will be able to cut into the interception total substantially in 2012. Given all of the picks thrown last year, it is not a particularly tough act to follow.
Coming into the offseason, there was plenty of talk coming from the Redskins organization that the team needed to upgrade the defense. Those who have been following the team for a while have heard this for many years now. However, usually the talk is just that, with more draft capital and free agency money going to the offense year in and year out.
But this year things are different.
The lion’s share of free agent spending went to the defense. They added linemen Terrell McClain and Stacy McGee, linebacker Zach Brown, and safety D.J. Swearinger. Now they have started off their draft with a laser focus in the defensive side of the ball.
In the first round, they were delighted to take Jonathan Allen, the top-rated defensive lineman on their board. In the second round they went with outside linebacker Ryan Anderson, a teammate of Allen’s at Alabama. Then in the third round the pick was cornerback Fabian Moreau out of UCLA.
It’s been 20 years since the Redskins have gone so heavy with defensive picks at the top of the draft. Not since 1997 have they taken defensive players in the first three rounds of the draft. That year they took DE Kenard Lang, LB Greg Jones, and LB Derek Smith in rounds one, two, and three, respectively.
We will see how much impact the three draft picks have on the defense and, as Redskins fans have learned over the years, an influx of free agents on defense doesn’t guarantee improvement on that side of the ball.
But at least the Redskins organization is putting its money, and its draft picks, where its mouth is and that has be considered a positive development.
On the field, Fabian Moreau makes plays from his cornerback slot that translate to the NFL game. Staying on the field has been a different matter though.
In five seasons at UCLA, Moreau dealt with his fair share of adversity. He took a medical redshirt year in 2015, suffering a Lisfranc injury three games into the year. More devestating to his draft status, however, was an injury suffered during his Pro Day in late March. Moreau tore his pectoral muscle while lifting weights.
For many, that injury caused his slip from a possible fringe first rounder to Washington's prize with the 81st pick. It's possible Moreau will be back from injury by the time training camp opens, but it seems likely he begins the summer sessions in Richmond on the PUP list.
At the combine, Moreau ran a 4.35 40-yard dash. Serious speed, and it instantly makes the 6-foot, 206 lbs., Moreau the fastest corner on the Redskins.
In his senior season, Moreau grabbed two interceptions, forced a fumble and made 31 tackles. Not scared to get physical and play press coverage, Moreau's mindset should mesh well with Josh Norman and Bashaud Breeland as he looks to force his way to playing time.
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