Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III remained unfazed and brushed off criticism from experts in spite of his preseason struggles.
Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III remains unfazed despite his preseason struggles.
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The Washington Post's Jason Reid says Griffin is confident he will be able to dazzle everyone once the regular season kicks off on Sept. 7:
"Undeterred by his struggles in the preseason, Robert Griffin III remains confident he possesses what it takes to become a productive pocket passer and 'put up some big numbers and do some great things,' he said before Monday's practice at Redskins Park.
"Griffin has become the subject of scrutiny amid preseason struggles by the first-team offense, which played poorly in Saturday's 23-17 loss to the Baltimore Ravens. In failing to lead his teammates into the end zone, Griffin, who continued to appear shaky in the pocket, completed 5 of 8 passes for 30 yards with an interception. He was sacked three times and had a 27.1 passer rating.
"In 10 possessions spanning three preseason games, Griffin failed to engineer a touchdown drive. With Washington's starters scheduled to sit out Thursday's preseason finale against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Griffin won't play again until the Sept. 7 season opener against (the) Houston Texans.
"Many in the organization have called for patience as Coach Jay Gruden attempts to help Griffin become primarily a pocket passer for the first time in his career. But from the overwhelmingly tone of things on social media, fans appear concerned Griffin may never get it. Griffin has no such doubts.
"'We just take it and move forward,' said Griffin, who finished the preseason with a 46 passer rating. 'We can't worry about what outsiders think and what they say. We've got to keep moving forward here. We know what we've got to do to be successful, and that's what we're gonna do.'
"At this stage of the season, Griffin is not overly concerned about his ineffectiveness and subpar statistics. The first-team offense had only one bad performance, Griffin believes.
"'As an offense, we put together a bad game,' he said. The other starters on offense "go as I go, so I have to play better. But I thought we did a good job in the first two preseason games.'
"Griffin, however, acknowledged he must improve.
"'There's a lot of things that we felt like we could have done better. A lot of things I felt like I could have done better,' he said. 'You're never going to put together a perfect game, but we would like to come out and have a better showing than we did this last game.
"'We had two good preseason games. This last one was bad. That's the last thing people remember. For us, we know that this is still the preseason. We're still working through some kinks and working to get in rhythm. We'll continue to that and be ready for Houston.'"
On Aug. 23, former Redskins quarterback and current team analyst for the Redskins Broadcast Network, told The Washington Post's Dan Steinberg that Kirk Cousins is clearly outplaying Griffin under center:
"Kirk Cousins's stats were far better than Robert Griffin III's stats on Saturday night. But Griffin was playing against the Baltimore first-stringers, and Griffin is the franchise quarterback, and Griffin is the unquestioned starter. So you might have thought that Joe Theismann -- a perpetual optimist who works for the Redskins Broadcast Network -- would have downplayed this discrepancy between the two signal callers. He did not.
"'Let's stop beating around the bush,' Theismann said early in the fourth quarter. 'Kirk Cousins has played much better at the quarterback position than Robert Griffin III has. Now, Robert is learning to work out of a pocket. He doesn't look as smooth or as comfortable throwing the football. I mean, your eyes will tell you everything you need to know.
"'It's going to be a decision that Jay Gruden is going to have to make,' Theismann said. 'Right now, Robert Griffin III is his quarterback. Now, if there was a quarterback competition, it wouldn't be a competition. Kirk Cousins would be the man I believe he would have to go, because of the efficiency with which he has run (the offense). Now Kirk, like I said, is basically a drop-back quarterback. I see Andy Dalton in Cincinnati, I see Kirk Cousins that way...'
"As the game ended, Theismann came back to this topic.
"'I think there's going to be a lot of conversation after this football game regarding the quarterback position,' he said.
"'I would agree,' play-by-play man Kevin Harlan agreed.
"'You can't avoid it,' Theismann went on. 'Your eyes don't lie to you. Robert has struggled in the limited opportunities that he has had. And Kirk Cousins has seized the opportunities that he has had. And Kirk Cousins has seized the opportunities that he has had when it comes to playing the position and understanding the offense.'
"'And Joe, the numbers speak for themseves,' Harlan said."
The 24-year-old Griffin has thrown for 6,403 yards, 36 touchdowns and 17 interceptions for a 91.5 passer rating through his first two NFL seasons. He has also rushed for 1,304 yards and seven more touchdowns in 28 regular-season games, per ESPN stats.
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