On Griffin and the deep ball, and his incomplete passes

October 29, 2013

Robert Griffin III unloads a deep pass that was incomplete, intended for Pierre Garcon, in the fourth quarter against Denver. (John McDonnell/The Washington Post)

Mark Maske’s story for Tuesday’s print editions included this quote from Chris Cooley, explaining some of his thoughts on why the Redskins are off in the passing game.

“I think right now he’s pressing so hard to make a play, especially to make a big play, that on a lot of these play-actions that they dial up, he’s sticking with that deep throw or the deep guy with the belief that, ‘This is the coverage we thought we’d get. This is what we practiced. This is the way this coverage should unfold,’ ” Cooley said. “And it isn’t happening that way, and he’s not getting off his reads fast enough. He’s had a lot of opportunities to make some good throws and missed some guys open.”

Cooley’s opinion is more credible than most, because he played in this offense, with Griffin, last season. If what Cooley is saying is true, shouldn’t some numbers reflect that?

Pro Football Focus sorts a quarterback’s throws by deep passes, ones which the target is at least 20 yards downfield.

In 2012, Griffin was the fifth-best quarterback in the NFL at going deep, provided a quarterback completed at least 25% of his long throws. Only Colin Kapernick, Aaron Rodgers, Peyton Manning and Cam Newton were better.

Griffin’s line over 15 games was 16 of 36 for 559 yards, seven touchdowns and one interception. There were two drops, which meant he was accurate on 50% of his deep passes.

In 2013, Griffin is 33rd, 6 of 27 with one drop, for 187 yards, two TDs and three INTs.

Pro-football-reference lets you sort Griffin’s longest passes by play length. He’s got 16 plays this season that have gone for more than 20 yards, regardless of where the target was; six of them were short completions turned into longer plays.

Last season, Griffin hit on 60 passes that went for 20 yards or more, including 22 that were completed as short passes. That might support the contention that his playmakers aren’t doing as much for him in the passing game. Either way, 16 big plays through seven games is well behind the pace of 60 through 15.

One more place you can find some interesting numbers on Griffin: The bottom of his player page on the Stats section of our Web site.

There, they detail Griffin’s incompletions this season, including what they count as drops (17 of his 110 incompletions this season), poor throws (35) and passes defensed (37). There are also the eight balls that were intercepted, five hit at the line and 16 “other,” whatever that means.

As for conclusion, well, you get to draw your own. I just point you toward the numbers.

Have a Redskins question? E-mail Mike Jones at mike.jones@washpost.com with the subject line “Mailbag question” for him to answer it in The Mailbag on Tuesdays.

What’s ahead:

● The Redskins resume practice Wednesday, preparing for Sunday’s home game against the San Diego Chargers.

More from The Post:

D.C. Sports Bog: The Redskins and second-half routs | More Bog

Snyder and Goodell meet about the franchise’s name

Mailbag: Trade deadline, passing game woes, Aldrick Robinson and returns

Griffin, Redskins struggle in the passing game | Hamilton: Too much passing

Redskins interested in dealing Fred Davis at deadline

Follow: @MikeJonesWaPo | @MarkMaske | @Insider | Insider on Facebook

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Mark Maske · October 29, 2013

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