When the Washington Redskins gave up a lot to move up to select Robert Griffin III with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, many were skeptical. But through the first quarter of the 2012 NFL season, Griffin III has eased the minds of the Redskins after helping them get off to a 2-2 start. Simply put, Griffin III has been the most impressive player through the first four games of the season.
And by that, I mean that RG3 has been the most impressive player in the entire NFL, not just on the Redskins. He has made that big of a difference.
Washington has scored the second most points in the NFC through the first four games. Unfortunately, they have allowed the second most. That will contribute to up and down games, as well as an up and down season. It is also why the team is 2-2 instead of possibly 3-1 or even 4-0.
Of course, if it were not for Griffin III, the Redskins would probably be staring at a winless record.
As was the case with the Baylor Bears in college football last season, Griffin III is doing as well with his legs as he is with his arm. He is also making smart decisions and demonstrating excellent ball control. For a rookie, Griffin III has looked more like a seasoned veteran through the first four games. Here is a look at the rest of the numbers on offense for Washington.
Robert Griffin III: 86 completions of 124 attempts for 1,070 yards // 4 TD and 1 INT
Alfred Morris: 82 carries for 376 yards // 4 TD
Robert Griffin III: 39 carries for 252 yards // 4 TD
Fred Davis: 15 catches for 212 yards // 0 TD
Leonard Hankerson: 13 catches for 181 yards // 1 TD
Josh Morgan: 12 catches for 155 yards // 0 TD
Pierre Garcon: 5 catches for 129 yards // 1 TD
Santana Moss: 10 catches for 197 yards // 1 TD
Griffin is doing very well running and throwing the football, and he has been helped out by fellow rookie, Alfred Morris. Mike Shanahan was high on Morris throughout training camp and the preseason, but nobody believed him due to the fact that he changes his mind on his running backs more often than he changes his tanning creams. Garcon appeared to be the favorite target of RG3, although he was hurt in the first half of the team’s first game and returned to play sparingly just this week. Going forward, he must remain healthy.
But as I previously mentioned, the 2-2 record is not the fault of the offense. If it was just for them, Washington would be 4-0. The defense needs improvement. They rank 31st in passing yards allowed per game, which is deplorable. The run defense is 10th, so they are doing their job. With a tough game on tap this week against the Atlanta Falcons, the pass defense will get another work out, and that is not going to be a good thing if the Redskins cannot get better coverage downfield.
Of course, injuries have not helped Washington, especially on defense. Already without Brian Orakpo for the rest of the season, the Redskins will be without Brandon Merriweather for another game or two following his scary pregame collision with wide receiver Aldrick Robinson. Simply put, this is not a team who can afford any more injuries, especially on the defensive side of the football.
It would also help if Billy Cundiff could make more than 60 percent of his field goal attempts.
Going forward, the Redskins will have a few things to figure out of they are to compete for a playoff spot in 2012. They will have to keep Griffin III healthy and hope that he does not hit that dreaded rookie wall toward the end of the regular season, much like Cam Newton did with the Carolina Panthers last season. They will also need to play better defense. If they do, Washington can hang around in the crowded NFC East.
Through the first four games of the 2012 NFL season, the Washington redskins have earned a C- due to the poor play on defense and the injuries.