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SP: Robert Griffin III Showing Rookie Growing Pains - Some Missed Opportunities for the Rookie vs. Carolina


RedskinParadigm

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After watching film of the Washington Redskins loss to the Carolina Panthers, it has become clear that Robert Griffin III is simply not as sharp as he was in the first few games of the season. Everyone has seen the offense struggle the last two weeks, and there is this pervading theory that defenses have “figured out” Kyle Shanahan’s option offense; that this “gimmicky” scheme was only bound to last so long; that there is a blueprint available to shut down what seemed so unique and unstoppable early in the season.

Well from what I have seen, none of that is true. The struggles here appear easy to explain; the Redskins simply are not executing well enough. Against Pittsburgh, there were 10 drops by Redskins receivers. That is unacceptable. Against Carolina, there were a few more. Again, that is unacceptable. As we have all seen, the Redskins are the most penalized team in football. Utterly unacceptable. All it takes is a mistake from one guy to throw off a play. And when you only have two drives in a single half of play (which happened in the 1st half against Carolina), all it takes is one play to significantly affect your ability to maximize points.

Here’s the thing; very rarely will you see a play run in this offense where nobody is open. This scheme is, quite honestly, brilliant at taking advantage of the defense’s weaknesses. On film, that was still apparent against Carolina. The Redskins simply could not capitalize. And part of that had to do with Robert Griffin III missing plays that he was seemingly perfect on early in the year.

Miss # 1 – Playaction Bootleg Intermediate Cross to Logan Paulsen

3rd Quarter – 13:37 Left – Carolina 14 – 3 Redskins – 2nd & 10 – Redskins 41-Yard Line

This is the Redskins 1st drive of the 3rd quarter, trailing by 11 points. Alfred Morris had just run twice in a row for 18-yards and 0-yards. Kyle Shanahan calls a playaction bootleg out to Griffin’s left.

Paulsenmiss4.jpg

Here we can see the fake run off right tackle with Griffin rolling out to his left. Logan Paulsen is going to fake a block on the right hand side, and then run a crossing route at a depth of about 12-yards. Josh Morgan (at the bottom of the screen) is going to keep the deep safety honest with his post, while Leonard Hankerson (top of the screen) is going to clear the space with a deep out for Paulsen to come open underneath.

Paulsen-miss-2-.jpg

At this point, Griffin has just carried out the fake, which was effective in causing the defense to bite. Paulsen is already behind MLB Luke Kuelchy and ready to come open over the middle.

Paulsen-miss.jpg

Right here, Griffin has ****ed his arm back for the release. Circled above is Paulsen. He has nearly a full 20-yard cushion around him (10 yards of green both ahead of him and behind him). Nobody is remotely close to him, and Griffin has a clean throwing lane without any immediate pressure.

Paulsen-miss-3-.jpg

Here is the endzone look of the same snapshot. Again, wide open. This should have been an easy 1st down for Paulsen, plus extra. With the space Paulsen has to work with along with a potential blocker (Hankerson) out in front, this had big-play potential all over it. Unfortunately, Griffin simply missed the pass. He threw too low for Paulsen, who did everything in his power to make the reception, but was ultimately overturned for an incomplete pass. Coupled with the subsequent play, this incompletion resulted in a punt when it should have put the Redskins in Carolina’s territory.

Read more here. Includes a missed quick slant to Josh Morgan, a missed WIDE open TD to Aldrick Robinson on a deep post, and a missed opportunity to slide in the pocket to convert a 3rd & long. I also tried to end it on a positive note, showing a great throw to Niles Paul for a 22-yard gain.

I don't think Griffin is regressing at all; I merely think he had an off day, which all QBs are bound to have at times. But, as you can tell, I'm a big fan of this offense, and I don't think there is anything wrong schematically here. A lot of people are placing the blame on Kyle Shanahan for the offense's poor performance the last two weeks, but I don't believe it's fair, based on what I've seen on film. Interested to hear others' takes.

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When I saw that play to Morgan on the all-22 I actually thought it was a poor decision by Griffin and that his best option was either to hand it off or take off with it himself depending on what the exact call was. Certainly no mistaking the fact that that was a run play with a slant option based on how the blocking developed.

Here’s the thing; very rarely will you see a play run in this offense where nobody is open. This scheme is, quite honestly, brilliant at taking advantage of the defense’s weaknesses. On film, that was still apparent against Carolina. The Redskins simply could not capitalize. And part of that had to do with Robert Griffin III missing plays that he was seemingly perfect on early in the year.

I keep saying this but I don't think it's getting through to the people in panic mode. Hopefully your fancy diagrams do the trick :pfft:

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Excellent post. I think he's a little rattled due to the lack of pass blocking. This week he should clear the cobwebs and come out on fire.

I really, really, really appreciate these posts because I simply do not have time to do anything like this - I may not even have the talent. Thank YOU!

Hail.

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Excellent post. I think he's a little rattled due to the lack of pass blocking. This week he should clear the cobwebs and come out on fire.

I really, really, really appreciate these posts because I simply do not have time to do anything like this - I may not even have the talent. Thank YOU!

Hail.

Griffin was clearly rushing his throws even on the occasions when he had good blocking by the fourth quarter. No doubt that it contributed to a few of his overthrows in the short game at the end there, too.

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Thanks everyone...I really enjoy making these (whenever I have time), so I'll try to keep them up as much as possible.

When I saw that play to Morgan on the all-22 I actually thought it was a poor decision by Griffin and that his best option was either to hand it off or take off with it himself depending on what the exact call was. Certainly no mistaking the fact that that was a run play with a slant option based on how the blocking developed.

I like the idea of Griffin placing trust in his WRs to make plays for him. Whether or not they're consistently capable is another story, but I think RGIII tries to be too perfect sometimes. If he and Morgan/Hankerson can develop the chemistry to consistently beat 1-on-1 coverage, even in the red zone, it'll open up the box for Morris and Griffin just a little bit. I'd like to see them perfect that quick slant and develop a back shoulder fade to add those weapons to their arsenal.

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Yeah, that was kind of the elephant in the room - people didn't want to admit RGIII was hitting the rookie wall, as ALL rookies do, so they blamed Kyle. But then if 22/37 with multiple drops is hitting the rookie wall, then I'm feeling pretty good about our QB. Doesn't help that Polumbus gets destroyed on every play and we have to scheme so he's not as much of a trainwreck.

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Nice article once again RP.

The misses from this game reminds me of some week 2 observations:

o Kyle is feeling his way through guiding a new offense

-efficiency, efficiency, efficiency especially on 3rd downs

-We're doing so many different things on offense that I wonder if he's figured out exactly what they want to do in critical situations and ultimately its what you do in critical situations that will determine how good this offense will become.

I thought zone-read+packaged play WR screen would be a good way to go on critical 1st downs but what do I now?

o What is the next step for this offense?

I would like to see more rhythm drop back passing where Griffin gets to take a drop and go through his progressions and make his decision/throw; eventually this is where Griffin will make his hay.

We're showing so much pistol/spread that I think we should start mixing in regular Denver/Texans WCO offense to give teams less tape of the Baylor stuff and to take advantage of teams keying in on the Baylor stuff.

Imo I think lack of rhythm could have a lot to do with Griffin's misses. Having watched a lot of Griffin at Baylor he was not the type of QB that shy'd away from pulling the trigger. If Griffin was more in rhythm he easily makes the plays he missed from this game. When you look at the hardest throw of the plays you pointed out was the anticipation throw to Paul. If Griffin can hit that throw there is no reason why he should miss the reads in the other examples.....My though watching the Robinson play was OH MY GOSH..no way he misses that if he's in rhythm.

Also, I heard rumblings that Griffin had a rib injury that required a shot at half time. That news imo highlights the risk involved when your QB running ability is an intergral part of the running game concept.

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I like the idea of Griffin placing trust in his WRs to make plays for him. Whether or not they're consistently capable is another story, but I think RGIII tries to be too perfect sometimes. If he and Morgan/Hankerson can develop the chemistry to consistently beat 1-on-1 coverage, even in the red zone, it'll open up the box for Morris and Griffin just a little bit. I'd like to see them perfect that quick slant and develop a back shoulder fade to add those weapons to their arsenal.

True. The Panthers seemed really keyed in on the slant in this game, though. They actually seemed quite aggressive in jumping on shorter routes throughout to the point where Griffin could probably have manipulated them a bit with his eyes or pumped to open up the deeper routes. That's the one thing I haven't seen out of him yet that I'm waiting on.

Yeah, that was kind of the elephant in the room - people didn't want to admit RGIII was hitting the rookie wall, as ALL rookies do, so they blamed Kyle. But then if 22/37 with multiple drops is hitting the rookie wall, then I'm feeling pretty good about our QB. Doesn't help that Polumbus gets destroyed on every play and we have to scheme so he's not as much of a trainwreck.

Polumbus wasn't the only one that contributed to Griff's late game jitteriness, unfortunately. Lichtensteiger got frozen in his boots by a defensive player on one occasion where, IIRC, we had a receiver wide open. Paulsen, Paul, and especially Royster haven't been great when called on to pass block, either.

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Imo I think lack of rhythm could have a lot to do with Griffin's misses. Having watched a lot of Griffin at Baylor he was not the type of QB that shy'd away from pulling the trigger. If Griffin was more in rhythm he easily makes the plays he missed from this game. When you look at the hardest throw of the plays you pointed out was the anticipation throw to Paul. If Griffin can hit that throw there is no reason why he should miss the reads in the other examples.....My though watching the Robinson play was OH MY GOSH..no way he misses that if he's in rhythm.

Also, I heard rumblings that Griffin had a rib injury that required a shot at half time. That news imo highlights the risk involved when your QB running ability is an intergral part of the running game concept.

I completely agree regarding the rhythm component. While I doubt few games will ever match the emotion and excitement of an athlete's first professional game, he just didn't look nearly as comfortable, smooth, and decisive as he had early on in the season. Part of me has to wonder whether the performance of the defense is weighing on him, making him feel like he has to make every play out there just to keep the Redskins in it.

You make a good point about the ribs, but if I'm not mistaken, the injury occurred when Griffin took a shot from a blindside rusher just as he was about the release the ball. I remember the pass fluttering dangerously incomplete, as two Panthers were in the area for the potential INT.

I'm still looking forward to your ideas on the spread offense zone-read. I'd love to hear/see what new wrinkles Shanahan may think about introducing in the future.

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I completely agree regarding the rhythm component. While I doubt few games will ever match the emotion and excitement of an athlete's first professional game, he just didn't look nearly as comfortable, smooth, and decisive as he had early on in the season. Part of me has to wonder whether the performance of the defense is weighing on him, making him feel like he has to make every play out there just to keep the Redskins in it.

You make a good point about the ribs, but if I'm not mistaken, the injury occurred when Griffin took a shot from a blindside rusher just as he was about the release the ball. I remember the pass fluttering dangerously incomplete, as two Panthers were in the area for the potential INT.

I'm still looking forward to your ideas on the spread offense zone-read. I'd love to hear/see what new wrinkles Shanahan may think about introducing in the future.

In the Saints game Kyle seemed to make a concerted effort to get Griff in rhythm by running the 'packaged' plays where Griffin had a choice of the zone-read/bubble screen. It really seemed to get Griff in rhythm early.

But, imo Griff needs to find rhythm in the drop back passing game in general and that aspect of the offense needs to be featured both earlier and more often for Griff to find that rhythm.

I've given up on spread-zone read, i'm assuming if we haven't shown it by now we don't have it. The irony is that media often compare the Kyle/Griffin offense to Griff's offense at Baylor but the Baylor offense was spread zone read our offense is Pistol spread which is more like Texas A&M then Baylor.

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Well from what I have seen, none of that is true. The struggles here appear easy to explain; the Redskins simply are not executing well enough. Against Pittsburgh, there were 10 drops by Redskins receivers. That is unacceptable. Against Carolina, there were a few more. Again, that is unacceptable. As we have all seen, the Redskins are the most penalized team in football. Utterly unacceptable. All it takes is a mistake from one guy to throw off a play. And when you only have two drives in a single half of play (which happened in the 1st half against Carolina), all it takes is one play to significantly affect your ability to maximize points.

Here’s the thing; very rarely will you see a play run in this offense where nobody is open. This scheme is, quite honestly, brilliant at taking advantage of the defense’s weaknesses. On film, that was still apparent against Carolina. The Redskins simply could not capitalize. And part of that had to do with Robert Griffin III missing plays that he was seemingly perfect on early in the year.

I don't think Griffin is regressing at all; I merely think he had an off day, which all QBs are bound to have at times. But, as you can tell, I'm a big fan of this offense, and I don't think there is anything wrong schematically here. A lot of people are placing the blame on Kyle Shanahan for the offense's poor performance the last two weeks, but I don't believe it's fair, based on what I've seen on film. Interested to hear others' takes.

Thank you. It gets so old that so many on here constantly complain about our coaches or players and want them gone simply because we lost or they look at stats or something but show no real evidence of their opinions.

It is very refreshing to have someone actually show concrete evidence and stat the obvious that the problem does not lie with Kyle Shanahan, it is in the players right now. Consistent execution has been our biggest struggle all year, of course you can put some of that on the coaches, but most of the blame should be on the players. Either they are going to step up and execute better or we're going to be in for more of the same over the last 7 games.

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The only thing I see about Kyle is he tries to get too cute when he should just line up and bust some defense in the mouth, and besides that, Great post and great work! As we all see, the WR crew we have on this field is good enough to beat anybody on any given Sunday, if they will just execute it better and hold onto the ball when it gets to them. RG3 and this team needs to just go over this and all the season so far, then come out swinging after the bye.

This season is far from over if we start executing, just like how fast the 1st half of this season brought pain and grief, the 2nd half could bring much joy. We have the NFC East 3 times in a row when we come out our bye, there is no better time to take back and earn 1st place in our division!

I ain't heard no fat lady sing, it isn't over till it's over! Lets do this Redskins!

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RP. As a fan that loves the X's and O's as a fan that loves X's and O's aspect of football, I can't tell you how much I appreciate your work here. It is both joyful and painful to read. Thank you so much.

Hate to say it, but it looks like III was playing scared. Meaning, instead of looking to make the big play, he appears to want to avoid mistakes at all costs. That's what seperates him and Luck ........for now.

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Rookie qb. Very promising. Bad team around him. This is what we knew going into this season. Nothing's changed. Growing pains.

As for the defense, something needs to change cause they are pittiful.

Yup, pretty much. On the Robinson miss as soon as the player was over Griff looked to the sideline and said my bad. Shows me he gets it he just missed the play. It should be expected by a rook i have no problems with it at all. But like you said the D is sooo bad. Its a joke.

And great post OP

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Honestly, no one is perfect. And with as little as "growing pains" as he has had, I would not even bother to call them "growing pains". The truth is that RG3 and Luck are WAY ahead of the curve and are making some the mistakes most experienced QB's would make. The problem with RG3 is not that he sometimes misses the wide open guy (EVERY QB does that), let's face it, he's got the ball to the wide open guy at a higher percentage than most QB's in the leauge. His problem is the fact hat he's been hitting his targets and they've been dropping the ball.

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I can't thank you enough for taking the time to break down these plays like you have done! I really like being able to see and analyze these plays and as much as I try to do it by DVR'ing the games and going back and watching each play in slow motion I just can't seem to get nearly as good of an understanding as you do. Thanks again for taking the time to do this for Redskin Fans!

HTTR!!!

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I think you can also contribute some of these miss throws to his injured ribs. There were several short throws through-out the game that sailed wide over the heads of his receivers. This is something I've personally never seen him do so the injury plus with having an off day may have led to some of these days.

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Thanks everyone...I really enjoy making these (whenever I have time), so I'll try to keep them up as much as possible.

I like the idea of Griffin placing trust in his WRs to make plays for him. Whether or not they're consistently capable is another story, but I think RGIII tries to be too perfect sometimes. If he and Morgan/Hankerson can develop the chemistry to consistently beat 1-on-1 coverage, even in the red zone, it'll open up the box for Morris and Griffin just a little bit. I'd like to see them perfect that quick slant and develop a back shoulder fade to add those weapons to their arsenal.

Great job and an enjoyable read. I don't expect RGIII to be perfect every game, he was looking infallible. Fortunately I believe he has the demeanor to grow from here, which is great.

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