RICHMOND – Robert Griffin III and DeSean Jackson still have work to do to perfect their timing. That was evident as the two had a number of missed connections on the first day of training camp. But both players and their head coach believe it’s only a matter of time before the two develop the chemistry required to produce great results.
The Redskins this offseason acquired Jackson with visions of pairing him with Pierre Garcon, who led the NFL in catches last season, to give Griffin two dynamic targets.
Just as he did during offseason workouts, Jackson displayed his electrifying speed on Thursday. But at times – both during the offseason program and on Thursday – Griffin underthrew him. The misses had nothing to do with arm strength. Griffin can make all of the necessary throws.
Instead, Gruden chalked those instances up to the duo’s still-developing rapport.
“We had a play today that he’s running a little skinny post and Robert saw him running, he just floated it up there and DeSean outran it,” Gruden said. “It was 10 yards underthrown, but [Griffin] couldn’t tell [Jackson] was running that fast. But once the ball is in the air and he takes off, he’s gone.”
Griffin said he and Jackson have great chemistry, just have to continue to work.
“He knows if I miss him one time, I’m going to get him the next and if he misses something then he’ll make that play for me,” Griffin said. “That chemistry’s there. He’s a dynamic football player and we look forward to him making dynamic plays. ”
“We’re still in the learning stages, but so far so good. We’ve still got a couple weeks until the preseason,” he said. “It’s just going out there and being on the same pages and everything. In minicamp, we connected a lot. … It’s the first day, so there’s a lot to build on.”
Jackson came to Washington after falling out of favor in Philadelphia, but the Redskins have seen none of the attitude problems that the three-time Pro Bowl receiver was rumored to have had. Jackson has displayed a strong work ethic as well, Gruden said. The coach would, however, like for Jackson to focus on maintaining consistency when it comes to the level of intensity at which he practices. Doing so will help expedite the acclimation process for Jackson and his quarterback.
“Really, I think he’s been a fine teammate,” Gruden said. “He’s been to the OTAs, he’s practiced, he’s worked hard. I think the only negative I would say – if I had one – is sometimes he looks too cool for school when he runs some routes, but he is running fast. We’ve just got to keep working with him on his get-offs and making sure all his routes look the same. But overall, as far as teammate goes, he’s very coachable and I think he wants to be here and he wants to do well.
“They just have to keep working together, working on their chemistry and getting to know each other, and Robert needs to get to know [Jackson’s] speed and how he runs these routes because … he’s dynamite. He’s definitely a force to be reckoned with. You have to maybe roll over the top of him or play softer coverage and [it] opens up some underneath stuff, it opens up the running game. So having a guy like DeSean is obviously a great benefit… And [tight end] Jordan Reed in the middle, yes, of course, and [Garçon] on the other side, and the running game.”