This may be breaking news to some of you but Robert Griffin III spent the vast majority of his meeting with reporters on Tuesday talking about football, not about his self-assessment of his quarterbacking abilities. They are playing a preseason game against Detroit on Thursday and Griffin was asked about what he wanted to accomplish during the game.
“We want to get points on the board,” he said. “This is a tough defense we’ll be going against so this will be a good test. We’re trying to get plays, trying to get the rhythm and timing down on the game days, see how guys are moving, continue to increase our tempo as an offense and just get positive plays.”
The Lions do indeed have a tough defense. Football Outsiders had them third in the NFL in defensive DVOA last year and even though they lost some very good players such as tackle Ndamukong Suh they will still provide a stern test.
Griffin didn’t know how long the first team would play, although Jay Gruden said later that the starters will play about a quarter, depending on how things go. But he’s not worried about how many snaps he plays.
“Whatever time coach gives us, that will be sufficient for that,” said Griffin. “We just want to get in and out healthy, obviously last game we had a couple of injuries . . . You can say what you want about the preseason but we want to get in and get out, make sure we put together a good drive, two drives, however many drives coach wants us to get in and then get on the sideline and watch the other guys go at it.”
In Cleveland last Thursday the Redskins lost starting tight end Niles Paul was lost for the season with a dislocated ankle and reserve running back Silas Redd with a knee injury.
No matter how much he plays, Griffin needs to play better than he did last year in the second preseason game. His top-level numbers against the Browns at FedEx Field didn’t look bad. He completed six of eight passes for 112 yards. But Griffin lost a fumble to end the Redskins’ first offensive possession and he threw an interception to end the second.
The third drive ended when the Redskins couldn’t get into the end zone on four running plays in a series that started with first and goal at the three. That certainly wasn’t Griffin’s fault but it was a rather shaky drive. Griffin was sacked for a loss of nine yards and committed a false start penalty. The Redskins benefitted from three Cleveland penalties that resulted in first downs. Griffin completed only one pass during the 13-play, 82-yard drive but it was a big one, a 49-yard toss to Andre Roberts.
The bottom line was that the starting offense didn’t get the ball into the end zone. That was the second straight game they had failed to score a touchdown with Griffin in the game. After Griffin and company were kept out of the end zone last week the skid has stretched to four games.
Griffin attempted a total of 20 passes during the preseason last year. He didn’t seem to be ready once the season started. But he said that the decision on how many preseason passes he throws is not his.
“I don’t look at it that much,” he said. “That’s for coach and them to assess and break down. You just want to get in a flow and a rhythm. We’re not game planning very heavily right now so even the throws I do get, it’s not like the throws we’re going to be doing during the season. You don’t want to show your cards.”