When Washington quarterback Robert Griffin III burst onto the scene with a spectacular rookie year in 2012, he was like nothing the NFL had seen before: A good enough athlete that he could have been an Olympic hurdler, playing the quarterback position.
But when Griffin’s rookie year ended with a major knee injury, and he looked like something less than an Olympian when he tried to run in 2013, many questions were raised about whether Griffin really had the fundamentals to be an NFL quarterback. There were questions about Griffin’s footwork as a passer and questions about his ability to read through his progressions, although many of those questions came from people who lack the credentials to question an NFL quarterback’s passing fundamentals.
Say what you will for Ron Jaworski of ESPN, but he does have the credentials. And Jaworski says that Griffin looks fundamentally flawed as a passer.
“He’s still developing,” Jaworski said on ESPN Radio, via the Washington Post. “We’ll see what Jay Gruden and this new offensive staff can do for him. But clearly he’s got to learn to play from the pocket. His mechanics have regressed, by the way. They have regressed in the fundamental way of throwing the football: his throwing slot, his footwork, his inability to remain consistent in that. When you and I talk all the time, the word that comes up a lot in my mind is consistency. And we see a lot of players in this league, they make great throws. They can make a great play. But you have to do it on a consistent basis. That’s what separates the great players from the guys that have short careers.”
Griffin declined across the board as a passer last year: His passer rating, completion percentage, passing touchdowns and yards per pass were all down, while his interceptions were up. And his performance in the preseason hasn’t done anything to assuage the concerns of those who think the 2013 version of Griffin is the version we’re going to see going forward. If what Griffin really needs is work on his mechanics, then there’s no more important priority for Gruden in his first year in Washington.