Somewhere in Washington, I bet there are people going nuts. When will the Redskins turn it around? Or better yet, will they turn it around?
You have to give quarterback RGIII some credit. Despite being only 23 years old, there is even more proof that the former Baylor quarterback has got his head screwed on straight.
I don’t know if there is a such thing as an easy game, or a ‘gimme’ in the National Football League but this weekend is apparently a sign of good things to come for Robert Griffin the 3rd and his Washington Redskins.
“I think we’re real close,” Griffin said. “We can see it on the tape. No one wants to be sitting here 0-3. That’s not a good thing for us. It’s not who we are.”
This time last year, the Redskins played with energy in part because of the then-rookie Griffin and his electrifying style.
He’s not electric right now. And the offense isn’t providing any sort of jolt to offset a defense that has, through three games, allowed more yards than any other team in NFL history.
“Sitting at 0-3, but I don’t think the team has lost its sense of confidence,” Griffin said. “We know we can turn it around. We’re built to get out of this hole just like we were last year.”
Last year when Griffin was a rookie, they opened up with a win over Drew Brees and the Saints, in New Orleans. Griffin had 320 passing yards. They proceeded to drop four of the next six games. They lost the next two games and headed into their bye week sitting with a record of 3-6. Then they ripped off seven wins in a row to end the season in fairly dramatic fashion, beating the likes of Dallas (twice) , the Giants and Super Bowl Champs, the Ravens. Washington turned that 3-6 start into a 10-6 finish.
Everything was swell to say the least until he tore his ACL in the playoffs when Seattle beat them at home 24-14.
The way RGIII is starting to sound these days, he is more than ready to do it again this year. With the added exception maybe of a few playoff wins, would be nice.
He’s still got the confidence.
“You look to that as a sense of confidence like, ‘We know what this team is made of. We know what we can do,'” Griffin said. “But you don’t look at that and relax and say, ‘Hey, we can just keep on losing, it will be all gravy.’ That’s not the way you approach it. You use that as confidence that you can build on toward the next week and don’t lose that swagger that we have. I think the team is ready.”
Head Coach Mike Shanahan said Griffin will do just that.
“I know one thing — it’s that he’s a competitor,” Shanahan said. “When you get down or you don’t have a great game, he’s going to do everything he can, or he can do, to get himself the best opportunity to be successful. And that’s what he does. He’s a hard worker and hopefully he’ll play his best game of the year this weekend.”
Griffin turned over the ball twice against the Lions but also had an apparent 57-yard touchdown pass overturned. There are positives the players say they can build upon. But Griffin knows this isn’t about just him.
And there’s only one way out of this mess.
And hopefully it will come by way of a win against the Oakland Raiders, who were basically turned inside out by Manning and the Broncos this past Monday night.
“We want to start winning, and it starts this week against Oakland so we go into this bye week with a good feeling,” he said, “and come out of it ready to go on a tear.”
Exposed over the past 3 weeks has been Oakland’s weak secondary. One of two things is the problem. Either they are guilty of slacking off (huge losses to the Broncos and Colts), or the secondary just isn’t any good this year; if the latter is the case, look for Mr. RGIII to swing back into form big time on Sunday afternoon.
Oakland’s secondary has been undisciplined, one of the reasons why they give up an average of 8.1 yards per attempt.
Both Manning and Andrew Luck have completed over 75% of their throws against the Oakland defence.
But if I were a Raider fan, I’d be even more worried about the health status of former Ohio State QB Terrelle Pryor.
If there was to be a week where RGIII should go from Clark Kent to Superman, it should be Week IV.
Washington’s offence worked wonders down the stretch last season when they strung together seven wins in a row. Part of the reason for that was that Coach Shanahan coached a much more balanced attack; that allowed them to burn the opposition on play-action passing. The good news for the Redskins is that Oakland allows an average of 4.1 yards per run.
IN THE SECONDARY
Will Bacarri Rambo return to the lineup? Redskins coach Mike Shanahan made it clear Monday that Rambo needs to make plays. The rookie safety has a lot to learn, but, though he had a reputation as a playmaker in college, that’s not what we’ve seen from him since camp opened. Smart? Yes. Usually positioned correctly? Yes. But if you’re not going to make plays, you must be a consistent tackler. Rambo needs to prove he should not only have the job, but hang onto it. The Redskins don’t have a great alternative to Rambo, but give the coaches credit last week for trying something different. It’s how they dug out of the 3-6 mess last season.
RAMBO NOT RESURRECTED
Rambo didn’t play a single snap in the loss vs Detroit last weekend.
He says he understands. It’s also clear coach Mike Shanahan wants him to take more advantage of his chances when he does return.
There was a rational explanation for Rambo not playing: the Redskins wanted to focus on coverage and therefore used three corners in their base package. When they needed a second safety, then corners Josh Wilson or E.J. Biggers would play deep alongside Brandon Meriweather.
“I was very surprised,” Rambo said of the game plan. “But it was based on the personnel and type of offense they ran. I just did my job and played special teams.”
On Monday, Shanahan said, “When he gets his opportunities he has to take advantage of it. We’re not here to keep his spirits up. When he does play special teams, whatever role you’re in, you better play 100 percent and make some plays. If he doesn’t play anything on defense, he better play well on special teams. And if you don’t play well on special teams and you’re not a starter, you won’t be dressing. Everyone has a role and it changes during the season.”
Rambo was known as a ballhawk while at the University of Georgia. That hasn’t been his game, whether in the preseason or the two games he did start. But the coaches also point out that teams haven’t beat him deep. Rambo is rarely caught out of position. His main trouble involved tackling in the open field, something that has plagued others on defense.
Rambo said it was difficult to sit and watch, relegated to just special teams. But, he said, it will eventually help him. In the meantime, like Shanahan he wants to see himself make more plays.
“I’m just waiting on the opportunity right now,” Rambo said. “I really haven’t had many chances to show my ball skills and what I can do. I’m trying to help the team as much as I can even if it’s causing a turnover on special teams.”
Should the Redskins try for the more balanced attack, Griffin probably isn’t going to throw another 300 yards again, but he should have a more productive day. Unless the Raider defence somehow shapes up completely in the next three days, there is no limit to how much offence Washington may get out of this game. And even better, it could be the best way possible for the ‘Skins to enter their bye week.
And one more note about the Washington Redskins. Lay off the pressure to change their nickname. They are the Redskins, they always will be the Redskins and they are not insulting or belittling anyone by keeping the Redskins name. Drop it people! Some people are just too damn sensitive.