Robert Griffin III's Rusty Start Nothing to Worry About for Washington Redskins
After all, he deservedly won the NFL's Offensive Rookie of the Year honors. Before his injury, there was nothing RGIII couldn't do on the football field in the minds of his devoted fans—a notion that isn't far from the truth.
Unfortunately, the firework display fans were hoping for got dunked in a cold tub of reality.
Griffin III was rusty—and that's putting it nicely—to start the season.
To get things started in the first quarter, Griffin threw an interception on his second attempt—a deep throw down the middle intended for Santana Moss.
As noted by ESPN Stats & Info, he burned the Eagles last season, completing all four of his 20-plus-yard attempts with three touchdowns before his interception on Monday:
Last season, @RGIII was 4-for-4 with 3 TD passes vs Eagles on throws more than 20 yards downfield. This year: 1st such throw leads to INT— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) September 9, 2013
Things didn't get any better. On the next Eagles possession, he made a poor pitch in the end zone to running back Alfred Morris, who fumbled the ball and then fell on it for a safety.
He finished the first quarter having completed just one of three passes, and if not for a timely defensive touchdown to open the game, the Redskins could have been down by a score of 19-0 instead of 12-7.
By the end of the first half, Griffin III had completed just five of 11 passes, and the Redskins were down 26-7.
How long will it take RG3 to get back to 100 percent?
Clearly, he's not 100 percent.
There were times when RG3 clearly didn't have the same drive on his passes—especially on deep throws—and he appeared to be wary of putting too much pressure on his left leg on those throws.
Additionally, even though he has looked terrific in shorts this summer during practice sessions, Griffin III wasn't as nimble in the pocket, nor was he as quick as we saw from him pre-injury last season.
But Griffin maintained his focus, didn't let his early rust defeat him and led his team to a valiant comeback bid that fell just short, as Washington lost 33-27.
He finished the game having completed 30 of 49 passes for 329 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions—numbers that demonstrate his ability to move the offense effectively.
Displaying all the poise and leadership that helped spur the Redskins to the NFC East divisional title and a playoff bid in 2012, Griffin III made a commanding statement to his teammates and the rest of the league, even in defeat.
His teammates responded with passion, doing everything in their power to scratch and claw for every inch of gridiron real estate. Unfortunately, the Redskins just made too many mistakes to win the game against the Eagles.
But given what we saw from the second-year man out of Baylor, the Redskins are going to win more games than they lose in 2013. RG3 won't stay rusty for long, and this team will be right there in the thick of things for the NFC East title at the end of the season.
Follow me on Twitter @JesseReed78
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