Once he got the hang of the NFL, second-overall pick Robert Griffin III looked a lot like the Baylor quarterback who ripped up defense after defense — but there were interesting new wrinkles as well.
Griffin played through the Redskins’ first three drives in their 7-6 preseason opening road win against the Buffalo Bills. While Griffin showed the arm strength and mobility we all know from his college highlights, he also displayed excellent pocket presence, the ability to process multiple reads, and a real feel for play action. And unlike some QBs who run heavy shotgun in college, Griffin didn’t look uncomfortable in his dropbacks from under center.
On the Redskins’ third drive, RG3 put together an eight-play, 80-yard drive for the team’s only touchdown. Griffin went 4-for-7 for 70 yards with one touchdown pass and one fumble, which was actually by running back Evan Royster, but the genius officials blew it dead and charged the fumble to the quarterback.
On that third drive, Griffin hit new best buddy and former Indianapolis Colts receiver Pierre Garcon for three completions — one short middle, one short left and an 18-yard pass to the deep middle against Buffalo’s relatively vanilla defense. That’s the caveat when it comes to preseason — every defense is running base stuff after the first drive — but for a first go in a new offense, it was an encouraging sign. The Redskins gave up a lot for Griffin, and their drafts in 2013 and 2014 will suffer with no first-round picks as a result, but when you have a chance to get a player of his talent, you drop the hammer. The Redskins look wise in doing so.
“Felt really good,” Griffin said after the game. “You know, we went out there, we went three-and-out on the first drive but came back with a good completion on the next drive and a really good drive on our third drive, so to put points on the board was great. Makes me feel good and it keeps the team confident.”
Per Griffin, the chemistry with Garcon has been a key component so far. “You know, me and Pierre are definitely gonna grow together. He’s still a young player, trying to help the Redskins win just like I am. He’ll definitely be a big part of our success. So me and him will continue to hook up.”
“I felt like I played extremely well in the limited time that I had,” Griffin concluded. “Got in a good rhythm there, the offensive line protected me, didn’t even get any pass rush from that front four, front five that the Bills have. I think we’re going to do extremely well. I never put a limit on anything. So whatever we decide to do and go out and execute and be about, that’s what we’re gonna do.”
So far, RG3 appears to be as advertised — he’s still the same guy we called the best player in the 2012 draft class. It’s why this preseason will be one of the most interesting in the Redskins’ long history.