His first performance back on a football field went much like you’d expect for someone who spent the last eight months recovering from reconstructive knee surgery and missing every preseason game.
A couple of poor decisions early on resulted in interceptions, both showing the rust many imagined they would see from the quarterback. Poor decision-making and mechanical issues were to be expected. It was his first live game action since January, after all.
And while it wasn’t pretty, Griffin did get a chance to boost his confidence after his team was overwhelmed quickly by a 33-7 deficit. Chip Kelly’s offense relented, and Griffin salvaged his evening by bringing his team back, just falling short of leading a heroic comeback win.
This week, he has a chance to get off to a better start against another defense susceptible to being beat down the field.
The Green Bay Packers D is an opportunistic unit that swarms the line of scrimmage and takes chances in its secondary. Stopping Griffin on the ground will likely be their main mission, while making him prove he can beat them through the air.
Mobile quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who torched the Pack in the playoffs for 181 yards rushing last season, accepted the challenge and went to the air often and successfully in Week 1.
The gifted dual-threat quarterback was more effective through the air this time around, torching the Packers’ depleted secondary for 412 yards and three touchdowns and was only sacked twice. He rushed seven times but only totaled 22 yards for the game.
If the Packers choose to test Griffin by taking away the run, the results could be similar to what Kaepernick was able to do to them last week. That’s especially true if defensive backs Casey Hayward and Morgan Burnett miss the game or are still slowed by their injuries.
Without them, we saw how poor the Packers’ secondary can be last week. Youngsters Jerron McMillian and Micah Hyde were poor, but the issues weren’t isolated to those two. Even if Hayward and Burnett are on the field, Griffin and the Skins’ offense have a chance to put up some big numbers.
We know RGIII probably still isn’t 100 percent, but if his performance in the second half last week is any indicator, he’s getting really close. Expect Mike Shanahan to allow him to stretch the field much earlier to build off of that performance last week and keep his confidence high.
Against the Packers, he should be able to have a big day to help quell any remaining pessimism about his recovery.