Full Report Card for Robert Griffin III Preseason Debut

Zach Kruse@@zachkruse2Senior Analyst IAugust 10, 2012

ORCHARD PARK, NY - AUGUST 09:  Robert Griffin III #10 of the Washington Redskins hands off to Chris Cooley #47 of the Washington Redskins  at Ralph Wilson Stadium on August 9, 2012 in Orchard Park, New York.  (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images)
Rick Stewart/Getty Images

No. 2 overall pick Robert Griffin III made his Washington Redskins debut Thursday night in Buffalo, as the Redskins beat the Bills 7-6 to open up the 2012 preseason schedule. 

Below, we grade how Griffin III looked in his first bit of NFL action. 


Play-by-Play of Griffin III's Night

Griffin's first throw to Pierre Garcon was a nice toss to the near sidelines. Garcon really should have drug his back foot on the sidelines for a completion. If that happens, Griffin III completes a third-down throw and the Redskins' first drive continues.

The Redskins went to the shotgun for Griffin's next attempt. He completed it to Leonard Hankerson on a quick throw to right side. The decision on the stick route was the correct one, and Griffin III made it in an instant. 

On 3rd-and-1, running back Evan Royster fumbled on the transition. Griffin III put it right where it needed to be. The Bills took over and later kicked a field goal to go up 3-0. 

After getting the ball back, the Redskins tried to get tricky. Playaction was the call, with a designed roll out to the left. The Bills were all over it. Griffin III made a smart decision to get rid of it quickly on the underneath screen. Safe play in the face of pressure. Incomplete. 

Griffin III made his best play of the night during a perfect work-through of the progression. Griffin III looked right initially, but he came back to the middle (Garcon) to his second option and delivered a strike. Twenty-plus yards and a first down for the Redskins' offense. 

Griffin III drew the Bills' defense offsides and then delivered a completion to Garcon on the post. The completion was good for another 20 yards. Griffin had good velocity on the throw, although the accuracy wasn't perfect.

Griffin III had to call timeout before a third-down play. The play clock was running down on him and he hadn't gotten a chance to scan the defense. Smart decision to give himself another look at things. 

The timeout paid off on the very next play. Griffin III completed a touchdown pass to Garcon, although it was a simple throw for Griffin III. The play was a slip screen, run perfectly by the Redskins' offense. For Griffin III, it was just one step and a quick release over the charging defender on the edge. Garcon walks, or should I say somersaults, in for six. 



Griffin III came out after his touchdown drive having led the Redskins to seven points on three drives. A pass that should have been completed and a silly turnover ended the two non-scoring drives. Overall, his night finished 4-of-6 for 70 yards and a score. He was credited with a lost fumble, but it was clear to my eyes that Royster was at fault. 




Poise: A

At no point did Griffin III seem rattled. The moment was never too big for him, but maybe that was to be expected. Still, it was a very confident start for the No. 2 overall pick. Even in the face of some pressure Buffalo threw at him, Griffin III was very poised. It will be interesting to see how Griffin III deals with a cluttered pocket, because he didn't really see one Thursday night. 


Arm Talent: A-

It's very clear that Griffin III has NFL arm talent. His first throw to the far hash was right on the money and had good velocity. On downfield throws, the ball came out quickly and was delivered on a line. The accuracy in terms of ball placement wasn't perfect on a couple of completions, but there was nothing that stood out. Ball placement will get better as Griffin III learns the speed of the game. 


Athletic Ability: N/A

Don't cringe at the "N/A" rating, because Griffin III simply didn't have to do much with his legs Thursday night. I'll take that as a good thing early. He was confident in the pocket and avoided tucking it away and running. We all know the ability to make plays in the open field is there. 


Overall: A

A year ago, too many made too much of Cam Newton's sloppy start to his rookie preseason. I'll avoid doing the same on the opposite end of the spectrum with Griffin III.

But there's still no doubting the kind of upside he has, and Thursday night was a very strong start. Griffin III didn't look like a rookie making his first NFL appearance. Overall, I'm not sure anyone could have asked for a better beginning to the RG3 era. 

Griffin III was poised and confident, all while leading the Redskins on an impressive scoring drive that featured a handful of NFL throws and completions. The future looks bright in Washington at the quarterback position.