3 Areas Where Robert Griffin III's Game Must Improve Most

Gary Davenport@@IDPSharksNFL AnalystSeptember 24, 2012

LANDOVER, MD - SEPTEMBER 23:   Robert Griffin III #10 of the Washington Redskins drops back to pass against the Cincinnati Bengals during a game at FedExField on September 23, 2012 in Landover, Maryland.  (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

The Washington Redskins sit at 1-2 after three games of the 2012 NFL season, but blame for that less-than-stellar record certainly can't be laid at the feet of rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III.

The 2011 Heisman Trophy winner and second overall pick in April's NFL draft has been nothing short of spectacular out of the gate, completing over 67 percent of his passes, accounting for seven touchdowns and posting a quarterback rating over 100.

To say that that's about all you can ask from a rookie signal-caller after three games is something of an understatement, but that doesn't mean that there isn't still room for improvement in the young man's game.

The first area in which Griffin still has room to grow is something that's just inherent to rookie quarterbacks, and one that should improve over time. Griffin still struggles at times to read NFL defenses, and while that hasn't come back to bite him yet there have been a few occasions where Griffin was fortunate that a poorly-thrown ball into coverage wasn't intercepted.

There are other areas, however, where Griffin must get better in quickly both for the benefit of the Redskins and his own self-preservation.

Whether it's due to a porous offensive line, Griffin holding the ball too long or a combination of the two, the rookie is taking far too many hits, a fact that head coach Mike Shanahan alluded to according to Mark Maske of The Washington Post, although Shanahan admitted that some of that was due to the Redskins being forced to play catch-up in their 38-31 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals.

“You don’t want a quarterback taking as many shots as he did yesterday,” Shanahan said. “That’s for sure. You never want to play catch-up in the National Football League, if you can help it. You don’t want to put yourself in third-and-long situations. If you do, your quarterback is going to have a number of sacks…If you keep on putting yourself in third and long, you’re going to have some shots, because that quarterback is going to concentrate downfield and he’s going to take some pretty good shots.”

Playing catch-up aside this isn't the first game this season where Griffin has taken a beating, and if the first three games is any indication the Washington offensive line, which is feeling the bite of the injury bug, isn't going to buy Griffin a lot of time. He has to get rid of the ball quicker.

The third area where Robert Griffin needs to improve is an off-shoot of this. Granted, it's great that Griffin can extend plays with his legs, and his 200+ rushing yards this year have certainly been a boost to the Redskins offense.

However, Sunday's loss to the Cincinnati Bengals marked the second straight game in which Griffin rushed the ball over 10 times. That's not a sustainable number unless the Redskins want their star quarterback to develop what my colleague Jesse Reed called "Mike Vick Syndrome", which is otherwise known as looking out your earhole.

It may seem antithetic to attempt to rein in such an electric talent on the field, but if the Washington Redskins want to keep him on it they'd better, because Griffin can't keep taking shots like this.