The Washington Redskins are off to a disappointing 0-2 start to the 2013 season, for a number of reasons. Most mainstream sports media outlets are pointing the finger at quarterback Robert Griffin III, who is coming off of an ACL injury and hasn’t played quite like himself over the first two games of the season.
Redskins receiver Pierre Garcon was on ESPN 980’s Sports Fix on Tuesday and says that one of the reasons for RGIII’s struggles is not a revamped offense but more so the heavy knee brace he has been wearing, and that the brace is hindering Griffin’s abilities as a play-maker:
“We’re running the same offense,” Garcon said. “We’re running the same exact offense. It’s no different. It’s just we’re not getting the same production, and teams are seeing what we’re doing, but we’re running the same exact offense. We actually added more stuff to the offense.
“They know Robert obviously can’t run as fast as he did last year because of his knee brace and his knee, but it’s the same offense, to be honest with you. When you’re walking around with a knee brace or playing with a knee brace, obviously it’s slowing you down a little bit,” Garcon said. “It’s just natural. It’s common….I don’t know how much it weighs, exactly, but you always think about it when you have it on there, and it’s a constant reminder. It’s not gonna let you be the guy you are without the knee brace.”
Garcon went on to say that the Redskins want to keep Griffin in the pocket more as a passer more and not exposed as much as a runner. “He’s ran, but he’s not ran as much as last year,” Garcon said. “But that’s actually a good thing for us. We don’t want him out always to keep running; we want him to throw the ball more, and whenever he has to run, run. But we don’t want him out there running.”
I’m no NFL offensive coordinator, but if a quarterback that ran for 815 yards as a rookie is being asked to stay in the pocket by design, then that indeed qualifies a tweak in the offense. One of the things that makes Griffin so special is his speed and ability to make plays on the run from the quarterback position. If he is unable to do so for whatever reason — the knee brace, the team asking him to run less or a number of other factors — then his effectiveness is diminished a bit.
Despite his success last season, we have to remind ourselves that RGIII is no super hero. He is a second-year quarterback coming off of a major knee injury and hadn’t faced a live defense since January. A layoff such as that can cause a bit of rust and he needs time to shake it off.
My guess is that with a little time, Griffin will be fine. The ‘Skins have other pressing issues to address besides RGIII, namely their defense that has given up over 1,000 yards of offense to the Eagles and the Packers so far this season.
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