Robert Griffin III got off to a slow start to the 2013-14 NFL season during the first half of the Washington Redskins' Week 1 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles, but the team shouldn't be concerned about its star quarterback.
There were a few uncharacteristic things about Griffin III's first game of the season that should be blamed on rust more than anything.
After all, Week 1 was the first game RG3 has played since the playoffs last season. He didn't get any time to practice during the offseason while recovering from his injury, and head coach Mike Shanahan may have teased him about playing during the preseason, but that didn't happen, either.
It isn't easy to simply walk into a game like RG3 did after such a long layoff and have that same rhythm he had last season. A lack of rhythm was especially clear in some of his bad throws during the contest. He was afraid to step into certain throws as his knee injury clearly lingered in the back of his head.
What was also bizarre was the fact that Griffin III threw two interceptions. The Redskins' signal-caller threw just five last season and never threw more than one in any game during his rookie campaign.
The second half of the Redskins loss was far more indicative of what's to come for the 23-year-old. Despite throwing his second pick of the game in the third quarter, Griffin III amassed 276 of his 329 yards through the air in the final two frames while tossing two scores in the fourth quarter.
Once down 33-7, RG3 helped lead his team all the way back to lose by just six points, 33-27.
Now, that's more like it.
Perhaps the most alarming stat of the night was the amount of times the Eagles got to Griffin III. Washington's lack of effective blocking led to nine quarterback hits during the game, and RG3 took three sacks as a result.
If Washington hopes to keep RG3 from running the ball, protection will be key in order to help the Redskins QB remain safe in the pocket.
Sure, there were plenty of negatives in Griffin III's first game of the year, but that was to be expected. It's easy to forget that RG3 is human, and these things happen to humans no matter how great they may appear to be.
What's most important is that he looked healthy when running and throwing, and I'm sure the Redskins and their fans will take one rusty performance if it means their quarterback is healthy and on the comeback trail.
You certainly won't hear Griffin III complain about rust or make excuses for his bad play, which is a good thing for such a young quarterback. But he should remember his slogan, "Operation Patience," because clearly the operation is ongoing as he is oh-so-close to returning to his old, dominant form.