Robert Griffin III is one of the most heavily scrutinized players this year.
Every step he takes is analyzed. Every word he speaks is dissected to uncover its hidden meaning. After two weeks of coaches, analysts and fans studying Griffin's every move, what have we learned?
Griffin has had no setbacks in his limited action so far
Robert Griffin III is one of the few players who has taken part in every practice so far this training camp. He participates in all parts of practice with the exception of 11-on-11s, where Griffin is relegated to "mental reps," a.k.a. watching Kirk Cousin from the sidelines with Kyle Shanahan.
During the special teams portion of practice, Griffin works on the sidelines with Kyle Shanahan and wide receivers, going through agility drills and simulated pocket passing. According to ESPN writer John Keim, Griffin looks smooth and agile while performing these drills, but there may be some mechanical inconsistencies.
Robert feels he is ready for more work, but Mike Shanahan is sticking to his timetable
It's clear from their Monday press conferences that Griffin and Shanahan have different beliefs on how fast Griffin should increase his participation in team practices.
Griffin had the following to say about his work level, according to Redskins.com:
I’m ready to move on. You can only do so much in 7-on-7. The completion percentage is there. I feel like the rhythm is there with the guys. We’re finding the holes in the defense when we have to, we’re throwing the checkdowns when we have to as well. So, coach will tell you something else, but I’m ready to move on. I’m ready to go to team reps and other things. So, I just have to keep doing what Coach asks me to do.
Griffin has seen his work increase gradually over the first two weeks of camp. Here is a breakdown of all pass attempts and completions for Robert Griffin III during seven-on-sevens. All statistics were taken from the Washington Post Redskins Insider and Redskins.com.
Mike Shanahan understands that all eyes are on Griffin right now. Regardless of how his star quarterback feels, Shanahan's first priority is to have Robert healthy for Week 1.
In his press conference Monday, Shanahan stated, per the WP Redskins Insider, “We do have a plan for him. He may not always like that plan, but that’s my job, sometimes not to be liked. My job is to do the best thing for him. And that’s what I’ll do.”
Griffin jokingly referred to his limited practice regimen as "Operation Patience" on July 29. While he attempts to appear patient, his responses to questions during his August 5 press conference suggest otherwise. Fans can only hope his competitive desire to prove himself on the field won't result in taking unnecessary hits once he is given the green light by Mike Shanahan.
Robert Griffin III and Mike Shanahan have both stated that Griffin will not play during the preseason.
Shanahan has yet to reveal his schedule for increasing Griffin's workload over the coming weeks. With the start of the regular season still one month away, there is no need to push Griffin ahead of the timetable developed by Redskins staff and renowned knee surgeon Dr. James Andrews.
Griffin continues to throw with accuracy and velocity, but his mechanics are inconsistent
On most days of practice, Robert Griffin III is seen planting on his reconstructed right leg and firing the ball to his wide receivers with a level of accuracy few quarterbacks in the league can match. However, there are also days when his feet are not in the proper position, affecting his accuracy.
Griffin's worst day of practice came on July 31, where heavy rain may have been a factor. According to Mike Jones of the Washington Post, Griffin relied more on his upper body strength and did not appear completely comfortable planting his back leg. It resulted in his lowest completion-percentage day of camp.
One day later, Griffin went 16 of 17 passing.
Griffin appeared more comfortable planting his back foot and dragging his toe during his follow through. This toe drag is a sign that he is using his core muscles and driving off his back foot.
ESPN's John Keim has noted inconsistencies in Griffin's footwork as well. Keim noted on Tuesday, August 6 that while Griffin's completions were crisp and on target, his misses were by a wider margin than one would expect. Robert would occasionally fail to get his lower body into the proper position, leading to greater inaccuracy.
Even though it feels as though the start of the season is right around the corner, it's important to remember that Robert does not need to be ready until September 9.
Griffin's surgery took place exactly seven months ago. Each month he has shown dramatic improvement in his strength and mobility. With one full month left before the season opener, it is reasonable to expect that any mechanical issues due to his knee will be focused on and corrected.
Robert Griffin III's work ethic and elite physical attributes have helped him recover from his second ACL tear in near-record time. Everyone, including Griffin himself, must continue to show patience as he works towards his goal of starting September 9 against the Philadelphia Eagles.