No argument here.
From his first pass attempt at Soldier Field, Griffin had the look of an overwhelmed newcomer. Throughout a shaky 26-play performance, Griffin held the ball too long, absorbed unnecessary hits and failed in his first responsibility: Ball security.
After a solid but brief 14-play outing in his preseason debut against Buffalo, Griffin definitely took a step backward in the Redskins’ second exhibition. Facing a Bears defense that blitzed (the Bills went vanilla with a four-man rush), Griffin didn’t display the pocket presence that had sports talk radio and the Internet abuzz after the Redskins’ victory over the Bills.
Of course, the Redskins, who are missing three starting offensive linemen, struggled against the Bears’ pass rush. And if the team has to go with Tyler Polumbus at right tackle to start the season, well, that would be a very bad thing for Washington.
There were some encouraging developments for the Redskins — whose starters trailed 17-0 at one point — in a mostly dreary performance. Rookie running back Alfred Morris impressed with the type of high-energy play that Shanahan and his son, Kyle, the Redskins’ offensive coordinator, want from the position.
It seems the diminutive
is still too small to make an impact in the passing game. But his home run ability in the return game — Banks returned a punt 91 yards for a touchdown — is the type of thing that prompts coaches to put players on season-opening rosters.
Wide receiver Leonard Hankerson continued to help himself in his bid to become a major part of the passing game in his second season, which also could prolong Santana Moss’s career (we’ll explain).
The Redskins could have big problems on defense if Pro Bowl outside linebacker Brian Orakpo (shoulder) and safety Brandon Meriweather (knee) don’t return soon. Those are issues for later in the week, though.
Griffin, as always, was the immediate focus for a team that needs him to eventually reach superstar status on the field. The process is unfolding just as Shanahan has said it would — slowly.
Rookie’s mistakes show
It’s commendable that Griffin attempted to extend plays with his feet against the Bears. He sought to give Redskins’ receivers a chance to break free from coverage. Clearly, despite having the speed to outrun most NFL defenders, Griffin is committed to being a pass-first quarterback in this league.
But foremost, he should concentrate on being a healthy quarterback.
On the Redskins’ third play from scrimmage, Griffin ran around way too long and was thrown out of bounds by Bears all-pro defensive end Julius Peppers. He should have just stepped out of bounds with Peppers approaching him.