Robert Griffin III Is Only Part of the Redskins' Problems

Jeremy Fuchs@@jaf78Correspondent IIISeptember 29, 2013

LANDOVER, MD - SEPTEMBER 22:  Robert Griffin III #10 of the Washington Redskins throws a pass in the third quarter during a game against the Detroit Lions at FedExField on September 22, 2013 in Landover, Maryland.  (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

All the talk surrounding the nation's capital is about Robert Griffin III and his recovering knee.

It is true that RG3 looks off—he's only run the ball 15 times for 62 yards. Coaches tell you how they feel about their players by how they use them, and it's clear that Mike Shanahan feels that RG3 is not ready to run the ball as much as he did last year.

That's why he's thrown the ball 139 times for 975 yards. He's throwing because his knee is not ready for running.

Take a look at the interception RG3 throws here against the Green Bay Packers:

He's clearly not willing to put any weight on his injured knee. If he was fully healthy, he would be throwing with proper mechanics.

While RG3's knee is a real problem, he is not the sole reason for the Redskins's 0-3 start. 

LANDOVER, MD - SEPTEMBER 09:  Quarterback Robert Griffin III #10 of the Washington Redskins hands the ball off to running back Alfred Morris #46 before Morris fumbles in the first quarter against the Philadelphia Eagles at FedExField on September 9, 2013
Patrick Smith/Getty Images
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Take a look at Alfred Morris.

Morris has, for some reason, only run the ball 40 times this year, a little under 14 carries per game. Last season, he ran the ball almost 21 times per game. Why the Redskins are shying away from Morris is unclear.

The team has just abandoned the run as a general principle.

Last season, according to Thomas Boswell of the Washington Post, the Redskins had more runs than passes, and just two teams passed less. This year, as per Boswell, the Redskins have thrown the ball the second-most times in the league.

There's no reason for this sudden reversal. The Redskins owe all of their success last season to the running game. This year, it's ranked 20th in the league. Morris is actually averaging almost a yard more per carry this season as opposed to last. Yet the Redskins are still avoiding him like the plague.

Even if the Redskins do decide to finally re-adopt the running game, it may not even matter. The offense can put up as many points as it wants, but with a defense this bad, they'll still lose.

LANDOVER, MD - SEPTEMBER 09:  Cornerback DeAngelo Hall #23 of the Washington Redskins returns a blocked backwards pass 75-yards for a touchdown in the first quarter against the Philadelphia Eagles at FedExField on September 9, 2013 in Landover, Maryland.
Rob Carr/Getty Images

The Redskins are ranked 31st in pass defense, giving up 333 yards per game. Their run defense is also ranked 31st, as they give up 155 yards per game. They give up an average of nearly 33 points per game. They are leakier than a colander. 

This is not new, as last year the Redskins were 30th in pass defense. But they are much worse this year. They gave up an average of 281.9 yards per game in the air last near. This year they give up 51 more yards per game. Last year, they gave up 24 points per game. This year they give up nine more points per game.

The defense was bad last year, but it's abysmal this year. Brian Orakpo hasn't done much since returning from missing most of last season, and Bacarri Rambo should not be a starting safety. Age has caught up to London Fletcher. DeAngelo Hall continues to be all talk and no game.

This is not Griffin's fault. He's sixth in the league in yards and the team is fifth in pass yards per game. He's had a remarkable recovery and while may not be as mobile as he used to be, he still has a cannon for an arm. 

The Redskins are in this position due to their own ineptitude. They refuse to run Alfred Morris more, even though he's one of the best young backs in the league, and is averaging almost a yard more per carry this season.

Their secondary is devoid of talent and they haven't drafted an impact defensive player in the last two seasons. 

RG3's knee will get better, and while it is holding him back in the run game, he's still throwing the ball well. But Griffin can't do it all. The coaching staff needs to get Morris involved more. The secondary needs to find a way to stop somebody. Even a little improvement will go a long way.

The 'Skins have dug themselves in quite the hole. At this pace, it would be a miracle if they make the postseason. The Redskins need to get back to their game and hope that the defense can hold up.

If not, then it's going to be a long season. 

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