Don't write off RG III just yet
There may not be an NFL quarterback entering the 2015 season with more to prove than the Washington Redskins’ Robert Griffin III. His excellent 2012 rookie campaign aside, during which he graded out as PFF’s No. 9 QB in the NFL and was named the NFL’s offensive rookie of the year, he hasn’t yet lived up to the expectations of a QB for whom his team traded three first-round picks.
The torn ACL that ended his 2012 season kept him out of the 2013 preseason, and while that season was an inconsistent one for Griffin, it wasn’t as bad as many seemed to think it was. In fact, despite the Redskins having a 3-6 record after nine games, Griffin had a positive grade as a passer. However, after a string of four below-average games, the Redskins decided to shut Griffin down for the season.
The 2014 season was Griffin’s worst. It started with a dislocated ankle in Week 2. It ended with seven straight negatively graded games to end the season for Griffin. From Week 9 onwards, only three quarterbacks posted a lower grade than he did. His four touchdowns were the fewest thrown during that same span.
Heading into 2015, it’s fair to wonder if Griffin will ever regain his 2012 form. He saw limited action in the Redskins’ first preseason game and finished with a positive grade on 18 snaps. He made a handful of good throws, including what would have been a 61-yard touchdown pass if Pierre Garcon hadn’t dropped the ball. Most importantly, he looked more comfortable inside the pocket and didn’t make any bad decisions. Coach Jay Gruden said that he was happy with Griffin’s progress, but that he still had a long way to go.
Griffin shouldn’t be expected to suddenly turn the Redskins around and lead them to a Super Bowl any time soon. But he still has the potential to be a good quarterback. This is a guy who has put up some impressive performances so far in his career, and if his calm and comfortable performance in his first preseason game is a sign of things to come, then perhaps 2015 is the season that Griffin starts to turn it around.