Has RGIII's Return Campaign Hit a Major Road Block?

Chris Trapasso@ChrisTrapassoAnalyst IOctober 28, 2013

Oct 27, 2013; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos defensive tackle Terrance Knighton (94) sacks Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III (10) in the fourth quarter at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Washington Redskins fans can breathe easy. Robert Griffin III is fine. 

He might have completed only 15-of-30 passes for 132 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions as his team surrendered a 21-7 lead over the Denver Broncos and ultimately lost 45-21, but the knee injury he suffered in the fourth quarter on a hit by nose tackle Terrance Knighton isn't thought to be serious.

Dr. James Andrews, #Redskins doctor, tells our Omar Ruiz that RGIII is "ok." Shanahan said he kept RGIII out "because of the score"

— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) October 28, 2013

Also, it's important to note that RG3 tweaked his left knee. He tore ligaments and had reconstructive surgery on his right knee this offseason. 

Couple Griffin III's remarkably efficient, ultra-productive rookie season with the devastating injury he endured in January, and it was probably unrealistic to expect the reigning Rookie of the Year to be the same player he was in 2012. 

Here's a reminder of how special RG3 was a season ago:

Robert Griffin III's 2012 Season vs. 2013 Season
Completions (Per Game)17.222.5
Attempts (Per Game)26.238.2
Completion Percentage65.659.0
Yards (Per Game)213.3268.3
Yards Per Attempt8.1 (led NFL)7.0
TD %5.13.4
INT %1.3 (led NFL)3.0
Rushing Yards Per Carry6.8 (led NFL)5.6

While the quarterback's completions per game and yards per game are up, he simply hasn't been as efficient with the football. 

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Griffin III obviously deserves blame for his slight regression, but Washington's offensive philosophy has been altered just enough to make him more of a higher-volume/lower-efficiency quarterback than he was asked to be in his debut NFL campaign:

Redskins' Offensive Comparison: 2012 vs. 2013
Rushes Per Game% of Total Offensive Yardage That Came Via The RunPassing Attempts Per Game% of Total Offensive Yardage That Came Via The Pass

The scary moment against the Broncos came after what ESPN Redskins' beat writer John Keim called "the first official return of Griffin pre-knee injury" in the 45-41 win over the Chicago Bears in Week 7.

In that game, RG3 completed 18-of-29 passes for 298 yards and ran 11 times for 84 yards.

It was a type of performance he put on a handful of times in 2012.

Just because Griffin III didn't build on the masterful outing against the Bears—tough to do—it doesn't mean he'll continue to disappoint in 2013.

The more balanced the Redskins can be offensively, the better RG3 will play. 

/Getty Images

It appears that Washington, and Griffin III himself, dodged a bullet on the injury front against the Broncos. 

At this point, both should be encouraged by that reality and focus the attention on a more complementary game plan. 

Remember, the Redskins were 3-6 before going on a seven-game winning streak to capture the NFC East division title in 2012. 

That amazing run coincided with Washington truly dedicating itself to the run. 

Here's a look at Alfred Morris' usage statistics from 2012: 

How Redskins Used Alfred Morris' During The 2012 Season
# of 20-Carry Games# of 20-carry games before seven-game win streak# of 20-carry games after seven-game win streak

The powerful runner is averaging 5.2 yards per-carry—compared to 4.8 in 2012—but he has yet to receive 20 carries in a single game this season. 

Alfred Morris' Usage (Continued)
Rushes Per Game% of Offensive Plays

With the San Diego Chargers, Minnesota Vikings and Philadelphia Eagles ahead on the schedule, the Redskins will be tempted to throw the ball often. 

Washington fans need not worry—the loss to the Broncos didn't derail RG3's return campaign. 

However, to get the 2012 Robert Griffin III back, the Redskins, quite logically, must treat their quarterback like they did in 2012by creating a methodical offensive attack with a relatively even run-to-pass ratio.