The Washington Redskins offense looks very ordinary when Robert Griffin III does not run with the ball...well.
Griffin and the Redskins are failing the eyeball test, especially in the first half of games. Their performance does not look good, but the passing numbers are not as bad as you might think.
RGIII ran ‒ under duress ‒ nine times in two games for 2.9 yards per attempt. Griffin and the offense are delivering a top 10 performance in the passing game. Most of that is coming in garbage time.
The Shanahans are not attacking defenses with Griffin's running. Defenses know it and show no fear of Griffin's running. That is hurting an offense that cannot crawl out of the hole opposing defenses dig for it until the other team relents.
Hog Heaven cannot tell yet whether ineffective running by RGIII is hurting Alfred Morris' production. We are still aghast at Morris' end zone fumble against the Eagles (officially attributed to Griffin). Morris ran well against the Packers (107 yards).
Just how healthy is Griffin, really?
Mike Shanahan does coach speak better than anyone, even Joe Gibbs who was a master ("All of us together...fighting our guts out...to get a win"). So I don't expect an honest answer from coach on Griffin's true condition. Nor do I want it. Why reveal anything useful to the Lions.
Hog Heaven is redefining his definition of "100 percent" when it comes to RG. He is 100 percent ready to play in games. He is not all-in on the read option schemes that made Washington so dangerous.
After two reconstructive surgeries on the same knee, Griffins 100 percent might be 95 percent of the mobility he showed last year.
Is the man ready to run that scheme, or not? Or, are the Shanahan's going away from read option?
Redskins' terrible quandary
RGIII is delivering the performance Hog Heaven thinks Kirk Cousins could deliver. That puts the Redskins in a terrible quandary.
Should Griffin play at all before the BYE?
Washington needs a healthy RGIII more for the last four games than for the first four games. There was nothing special about Griffin playing in the Philadelphia game, national TV audience notwithstanding.
It was only important to RGIII, who wore his emotions on his sleeve about it. It was important to fans who expected a linear progression of RGIII's 2012 performance into 2013.
Yet the later the Redskins start Griffin, the longer before he reaches 100 percent game effectiveness. Shanahan must play Griffin and live with the ramp up.
I'm all in for playing Griffin now.
Leonard Hankerson, budding No. 2
Third-year player Hankerson is rewarding the Redskins for their patience with him. His eight receptions in two games puts him on par with Santana Moss. But Hank averages 14.4 yards-per-catch and he has two touchdowns. That's a better performance than Moss or Pierre Garçon.
That projects to 64 receptions and 16 touchdowns over the season. Best of all, Hank caught eight of the 10 passes targeted to him ‒ a real step up from last year.
The sample size is too small to make this anything more than a fuzzy projection, but the trend is a good one.
I hope he carries this through the second half of the season after opposing defensive coordinators draw a bead on him. It would be a good thing if DC's are forced to game plan Hankerson.
Jordan Reed makes me smile
The Redskins have great needs in the secondary, so we quite understand the focus on David Amerson and Bacarri Rambo. Hog Heaven was always more intrigued by rookie tight end Jordan Reed.
I break out a smile every time Reed does something. "Does something" is eight receptions and a score in two games. That's more than Fed Davis has done.
Please, dear reader, don't be like those fans who are ready to kick the starter for the upstart. Remember the silly people ready to dump Clinton Portis for Ladell Betts? Don't be that guy.
Contending teams average up the roster at every position. Washington needs Davis and Reed along with Logan Paulsen and Niles Paul. Davis is recovering from his own injury. We forget that with all the noise about RGIII.
If the Redskins should lose Davis to injury or free agency, Reed might possibly could conceivably fill the void at tight end. Maybe.
Redskins urgency is slightly more urgent than Cowboys, Giants, Eagles urgency
Every team in the NFC Beast lost yesterday. The Giants, Eagles and Cowboys lost to teams that are still on the Redskins' schedule. And those teams must still play the Packers.
If there is any positive from Washington's loss it is that we didn't expect them to beat the Packers anyway. Washington is the only Beast team with two losses within the conference.
There is runway left to the season. That's plenty of time to balance things out, but no time for complacency.
Washington's urgency is more urgent than our rivals. Team better play that way.
"What the hell is going on out there?" ~ Vince Lombardi
Hog Heaven just does not have the emotional capital to invest in the problems on the defense. No part of the team looks less ready than the D.
Ryan Kerrigan is playing the beast. We need more from the pass rush to help a beleaguered secondary. London Fletcher is not as rangy as he has been. The rookie DBs are on a steep learning curve. I have decided that Brandon Meriweather is just a rumor.
The entire team is off balance. That speaks to preparation and that points to coaching.
Mike Shanahan will figure this out. Hog Heaven is not an insider so we can't pinpoint the real problem(s). We try to avoid pointing to subjectives, like "effort" and "character."
We do wonder if the whole offseason-preseason focus on RGIII's return, fed by the man himself, is having a negative impact.
It's as if no one put a real effort to prepare for the season until RG declared himself 100 percent.
That's over-simplifying it, but you get the idea.
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