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Did the Redskins’ preseason TD drought lead to Griffin’s injury?

Aug 21, 2015, 11:55 AM EDT


If you follow the Redskins closely at all you are well aware of that the first-team offense has not scored a touchdown in two preseason games this year. They didn’t score one in three preseason games last year either (the starters don’t play in the 4th preseason game). So, doing the math, that makes five straight preseason games without a touchdown for the starting offense, led by Robert Griffin III.

The drought was a topic of conversation around Redskins Park this week and Jay Gruden and the players were well aware of it. Did the no-TD skid play a role in Griffin sustaining a concussion in the second quarter against the Lions last night?

Had the offense put a touchdown on the board this year perhaps Gruden would have felt OK with pulling Griffin and the starters after two or maybe three rocky series last night. But Gruden perhaps gave them the fourth series to give them one last shot at getting over the goal line.

The series did not start well, with a penalty and a sack setting up third and 16 at the Redskins 14. Griffin knew it was his last chance to get something going. When Griffin dropped back to pass he had nothing open that would have led to a first down. He did have a few options underneath. Under normal circumstances, the ball goes to one of the players short of the sticks. If he can break and tackle and get the first down, fine. If not, the offense needs to get what it can and punt the ball away.

But Griffin didn’t see the second option as an option at all. He wanted to keep the drive alive. Griffin moved up in the pocket to try to make something happen. The ball slipped from his grasp and he was injured in the ensuing scramble for the ball.

The combination of him being in the game in the first place and his desire to stay in the game and get the team into the end zone added up to a level of desperation that was borderline dangerous.

You have to wonder if Griffin would have been in the game this week had Pierre Garçon caught the long pass that surely would have been a touchdown a week earlier in Cleveland. Or, if he had been in the game if he would have tried to force the issue. Had they mustered a preseason TD at some point since 2013 the proverbial monkey would have been off of Griffin’s back.

Fortunately it appears that Griffin’s concussion is not serious. But making decisions out of desperation can lead to disastrous results. Gruden and Griffin dodged the bullet last night.

  1. DaCowboyKillah - Aug 21, 2015 at 12:03 PM

    Great insight Rich that is exactly what happened👍👍👍

    • voice4thefans - Aug 21, 2015 at 5:57 PM

      I am just hoping Baltimore finish him off next week…..I like Snyder but he named Griffin the Starter ,So Gruden job is safe as long as the GM and Owner is making player decisions

  2. SWFL Redskin fanatic - Aug 21, 2015 at 12:14 PM

    You’re kidding yourself, Rich. RG3 is simply the 3rd best QB on the team.
    Face it…

    • warpath1 - Aug 21, 2015 at 12:42 PM

      wait, i thought he was the best

    • voice4thefans - Aug 21, 2015 at 5:53 PM

      Agree 100%

    • clamcop369 - Aug 22, 2015 at 11:23 AM

      Griffin led to griffin’s injury !

  3. gonavybeatarmy - Aug 21, 2015 at 12:26 PM

    That was an absolutely pathetic display by the “starting QB”, head coach, OC and OL in the first quarter.

    This ship may be heading the way of the Titanic this season. I wonder what the record for fewest number of wins over three consecutive seasons in the era of the 16-game regular season is?

    • Skulb - Aug 21, 2015 at 1:49 PM

      Well said. The “starting” offense looks like camouflaged aliens, fresh off the mothership, desperately trying to imitate real people playing football so they won´t be noticed by the government. Maybe replace the helmets with glass bubbles and the Indian with a green Martian in future. All Hail the Washington Greenskins! If this is the way they´ll look in September we might as well just give up. Because if they win even two games playing the way the starting line up is now playing it should count as an early Christmas miracle. 8 yards of positive play in the first quarter. Eight!!!! I mean, is this a joke!?!
      I still have a faint hope that it´s Griffin making everyone look bad. If not, Heaven help us because we´re in for a long season.

  4. Skulb - Aug 21, 2015 at 12:27 PM

    Real QB depth chart:

    1: Kirk Cousins
    2: Colt McCoy
    3: RGCan´t MoveTheOffenseForTheLifeOfMe

    Seriously man, 1,6 yard average is just granny level. You could put a tackling dummy in there and it would barely show up on the QB stats. Enough already!

    • gonavybeatarmy - Aug 21, 2015 at 12:31 PM

      Unfortunately, Kirk and the majority owner aren’t bowling and dancing buddies.

      • Skulb - Aug 21, 2015 at 12:35 PM

        Nothing like dancing the man-rumba with middle aged men. I`m gonna link a video to Colt on the subject so he can bone up on it.

  5. goback2rfk - Aug 21, 2015 at 12:34 PM

    RG3 fumbles so much! I believe he is now averaging over 1 fumble per game. Maybe need to start rocking that tommy copper sleeve.

    • clamcop369 - Aug 22, 2015 at 11:26 AM

      Just what is it with that sleeve ? Does he have a cast under it ?

  6. timtowe - Aug 21, 2015 at 12:46 PM

    Rich- you know Ive read your stuff for a long time, but the framework of this article is horrible. While the direct cause of his injury was related to poor offensive line play on that particular play, the reason the Skins have not scored a TD w/ first-team offense is because RG3 is simply not a very good QB. Kirk Cousins, turnovers and all, should the starting QB on the team. Who cares if Garcon would have caught that pass? Even a broken clock is right two times a day.

    This article with speculation is almost just as bad as the “journalism” you were criticizing during RG3’s recent comments to the media. RG3 has been hurt every year he has played. Concussions, knees, ankles- the only thing that made him a somewhat viable NFL QB was his legs- and they are gone. He does not have the size or skill set to be a pocket QB. He’s hurt now, he will be hurt again…and again….and again.

    The Skins need to move on. They are already one of the worst franchising in the league- record wise, owner wise, and up to now, GM wise. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. The Redskins are insane with RG3 as QB.

    How long are they going to allow themselves to look stupid?

    • warpath1 - Aug 21, 2015 at 12:54 PM

      the direct cause of his injury was him fumbling with nobody around him

      • Skulb - Aug 21, 2015 at 1:38 PM

        You obviously haven´t heard how it was all Gruden´s fault and that it was part of an evil Coach Conspiracy to make Griffin look bad. Seriously warpath, you really need to keep yourself informed here:)

    • gonavybeatarmy - Aug 21, 2015 at 1:50 PM

      Well said.

    • dcfaninecuador - Aug 21, 2015 at 2:24 PM

      KC should be the starter…as long as he can go up against twos and threes every game.

      • brucefan1 - Aug 21, 2015 at 2:49 PM

        Obviously, there is a LOT of wisdom in Ecuador! ;^}

  7. gurnblanstonreturns - Aug 21, 2015 at 12:53 PM

    The main causes of Griffin’s propensity for injury lie in his poor footwork and lack of pocket presence. Gruden’s failure to have a plan to deal with a makeshift line featuring a backup LT, a young RG/RT combo, a backup OT at TE and two TEs signed off the street was inexcusable, dangerous and very close to a fireable offense. Gruden did nothing with his playcalling or formations to make the Lions adjust from their full-on assault on the backfield. So they just teed off. But, Griffin’s long-standing deficiencies were in full view. He fumbled three times – once without any contact – and nearly muffed a hand off by tripping. He has to have one of the highest fumble/play ratios in NFL history. Griffin has shown little if any discernible improvement in his game.

    In year 1 of his tenure, Scot McCloughan knew he had to try to upgrade the entire roster, the coaching and the front office. He also knew that two of the most basic questions facing the franchise – the coach and the QB – had to play out on the field due to contracts and franchise politics. The early data is clear: the coach is not up to the job, and the QB can’t play. Gruden and Griffin will be gone in 2016.

    This team will play better defense and special teams – not great, but significantly better – and run the ball well. Overall, the roster and coaching staff are improved. Year 2 will feature a new coach and no Griffin. McCloughan’s long-term plan to return the team to respectability and consistent competitiveness is on track – if Snyder stays out of the way. But, in the short-term, it will still be ugly and painful.

    • SWFL Redskin fanatic - Aug 21, 2015 at 1:31 PM

      Best…and truest… Statement was about the O line protection scheme being a fireable offense. For all his many faults as a QB, RG can’t do it alone….what’s the deal with this new
      Fancy O line coach?

      • brucefan1 - Aug 21, 2015 at 2:47 PM

        “For all his many faults as a QB, RG can’t do it alone”

        Whoa! Don’t you know SWL — those are “Words That Must NOT Be Written” at this blog!!

        It’s “excuse” making! It’s throwing the rest of the team under the bus!

        He shall not — nay, must NEVER — get the benefit of the doubt in these situations…because he’s fiendish…he’s…he’s evil… he’s (God forgive me) ROBERT GRIFFIN!! AAAAHHH!!

        (Too much?)

        • ajbus1 - Aug 22, 2015 at 3:23 AM

          I think that was the funniest thing I’ve ever read on here! You get the “Best Use of Sarcasm” award.

  8. timwillhidetimwillhide - Aug 21, 2015 at 1:07 PM

    My Question is. Why do they call nothing but drop backs for RG3 with little to no play action or bootlegs. Then call Mostly Play Action and Bootlegs for McCoy and Cousins? I know this is preseason and the play calling is supposed to be Vanilla but wouldn’t you think they would call the same type of plays for all of them. Or is the offense gonna be Drastically different in the regular season. RG3 is the best at play action why not call it for him but call it the rest of the game SMH.

    • 226thebeatdontstop - Aug 21, 2015 at 1:32 PM

      Man I agree with you. Either they plan to run boots and read option week 1 and are purposely working on him passing from the pocket or Gruden is trying to prove a point…

      Gruden never should have been hired he is the wrong guy

    • hk2000 - Aug 21, 2015 at 1:55 PM

      Exactly!!!!!!! Everyone here is dumb or playing dumb. The naivety of just about everyone posting here made it such a lost cause for me to respond to any of them, I’m just reading and shaking my head. Does anyone really think the O. Line in the 4 series Griffin played even resembled an NFL level line?

    • dcfaninecuador - Aug 21, 2015 at 2:21 PM

      Because it’s preseason and they KNOW Griffin can run bootlegs and play action. They need him to do the things he is NOT good at underage type situations.

    • brucefan1 - Aug 21, 2015 at 2:33 PM

      Shhh … don’t say that Tim! It makes WAY too much sense!!

      And now that I’m talking to you, my friend, it looks like a lot of our old interlocutors (kinda like a Debate Team)are no longer showing up at the CSN website! They changed things up there, and thus seem to have shut a lot of us out. That’s sad, imho, cuz while we didn’t all agree with each other, we usually had a spirited, frequently feisty (sometimes dumb!) give & take.

      Now none (few?) of the old gang is there. (Seems kinda like a ghost town — populated be a lot of unfamiliar ghosts!) Maybe it will just take time to repopulate those lists.

      But it’s obvious that one has to be part of a “social network” to log on, and as one who’s no a fan just giving away my privacy to such entities, that’s probably not gonna happen for me. (Hey, quit that cheering!!)

      (Weird, but I never caught on to having my every activity, trip, photo — and announcement of what I just ate — “networked” out to anybody I wouldn’t inform with a phone call, or face-to-face. And this may sound harsh, but I don’t really care to know what others not CLOSE to me are doing or thinking every day either. Besides, I’m not very “social”, so the number of people that I have to inform is pretty short!)

      Hopefully, tho, Real Redskins won’t change its M.O., and we can all keep squabbling HERE. Even the dummkopfs! ;^}

      • timwillhidetimwillhide - Aug 21, 2015 at 3:50 PM

        I’ve bin here so long I remember when you were a newbie. You will always have someone shooting off and making statements on here that has nothing to do with what is actually going on. Wether it be disagreeing regardless how many stats or links with stats you post to prove your point. If that person can’t win the discussion he wil just call you a liar. A lot of people take stats out of Context like QB sacks they blame it on the QB when there are RBs,FBs,TEs, Oline, and the QB ALL responsible for that stat. I put my opinion with stats and links out there for people to get an alternate view from their own to consider. Although some state a statement with weak evidence or no evidence supporting their position. Most of them end up being proven wron and you won’t see them in a season or 2.

        • brucefan1 - Aug 21, 2015 at 4:28 PM

          Well, keep up the good work, Tim. I enjoy your comments, whether I agree with them all or not. They are well thought out and supported by facts.

          I think many know you as the “offensive line expert”! It seems that crew are still going to give you plenty to ponder (as well as some agita, maybe?!) in the season upcoming.

          Well … Rome wasn’t built in a day; this team won’t be either.

    • aussieskinsfan - Aug 21, 2015 at 6:24 PM

      First time posting, longtime reader. I have been reading a longtime Rich. Love your work.
      As you can tell from my Sig I live along way from the home of my Skins.

      But Tim has nailed it, why do they persist with a guy who is way over his head as far as coaching goes, the city of Cincinatti could not get him out fast enough, that tells you something. Time to wake up, Jay is not Jon.

  9. 226thebeatdontstop - Aug 21, 2015 at 1:25 PM

    Some Redskin fans are delusional. RG3 will not succeed in Grudens scheme, its a bad fit that never made sense. They should be using read option improvised to set up passes, what sense does it make having him sit in the pocket he is not that kind of qb but its OK.
    For all you Cousins jock riders getting excited about his work against backups in preseason games just remember when teams have a week to game plan an scheme against him its lights out..Cousins will turn the ball over, sulk an lose confidence an this team will look like they did last year. The good thing a losing season means Gruden is gone. He should have never been hired.
    The GM will chose his guy a guy who will fit into what the team is trying to build..

    • hk2000 - Aug 21, 2015 at 2:15 PM

      Well said, although I wish the GM didn’t wait a year and got rid of him now. And by the way, teams will not require much game planning for Cousins, all it takes is one mistake and their DBs can just sit there and play catch.

    • RedskinsfanifanyQBthatwins - Aug 21, 2015 at 4:26 PM

      RG3 will not succeed in any scheme. He has no pocket awareness at all. Colt or Kirk this year and then have Scot McLoughan find one in the draft next year. If Gruden still doesn’t win fire him and find new coach also. Don’t anyone kid themselves the the scheme isn’t right. Rg3 could at least move around in the pocket. He should’ve booted..something. the o line also sucked last night and Rg3 the statue can’t rely on that to protect him. We have good rbs and receivers. We should be doing better. Stafford wasn’t touched and got rid of ball in less than 2.5 secs. RG3 didn’t have 2 secs to even think. So move your a** and buy some time. Why step up into the pressure. Bad play all around imo. Watch the doesn’t lie. #HTTR #Redskins

    • voice4thefans - Aug 21, 2015 at 5:52 PM

      Fool where have you been under a rock or are you just stupid Shanny and son ran the read option and Griffin and his father claimed it got him hurt and he was a pocket QB, dude RG Diva is a bum………..

  10. sullivandeezoldeezol67 - Aug 21, 2015 at 1:37 PM

    This article is the most outrageous piece of journalism I’ve ever read. Herm Edwards was right: “You play to win the game” NOT get off the field safely. TD drought or not, you try to make first downs. You score because you want to win and beat the other guy, not reassure everyone that the first team can score. You don’t relent and simply go to check downs, especially if you’re the best QB in the NFL.

  11. jscx3 - Aug 21, 2015 at 1:39 PM

    I dont care who is throwing the ball. He got hit almost every pass play. Even when he got the ball off he still got hammered. The o line got roughed up the first round pick got a a taste of what a real NFL pass rush is like. I am not an RGIII fan. I want whoever is back there to do well, but the pass pro was awful. None of the other guys would have survived 4 quarters of that. On the bright side running the ball well, run d looking stout.

  12. sullivandeezoldeezol67 - Aug 21, 2015 at 1:42 PM

    No duplicate comment here. Just got online. Herm Edwards was correct: You play to win the game. Not get off the field safely especially if you’re the first team. Your advice sounds like the first team should have retreated in the face of enemy fire. How can RG3 improve in game situations unless he plays in game situations. I thought he was supposed to be the best QB in the NFL.

    • hk2000 - Aug 21, 2015 at 2:19 PM

      Well the coach was obviously NOT coaching to win the game, he supposedly was running an experiment. Yes you play to win the game, but you also SHOULD PLAN and SCHEME to win the game- Gruden did neither!!

  13. SWFL Redskin fanatic - Aug 21, 2015 at 1:55 PM

    All of the enthusiasm drummed up during camp evaporated in the first quarter last night. Same old, same old… No QB smarts, no O line pass pro… No progress…..

    • brucefan1 - Aug 21, 2015 at 2:35 PM

      You didn’t like the way McCoy played?

  14. hk2000 - Aug 21, 2015 at 2:39 PM

    On the Redskins offensive plays in the first quarter, there was never a LINE of scrimmage, more like a stampede through a Forrest, where the Redskin players are the stumps.

    • brucefan1 - Aug 21, 2015 at 4:31 PM

      You could call them “Stumpy”. Hehe

  15. brucefan1 - Aug 21, 2015 at 4:44 PM

    Oh by the way, I never addressed Rich’s original topic (I can be so easily distracted).

    As I watched the game, I was exactly of the mind that RT speculates about in his report; that Gruden wanted to squeeze some kind of positive outta the situation, come hell or high water; Griffin’s night was gonna end on an encouraging note.

    (Perhaps he planned to run those very plays that McCoy had success with — i.e., “RG3 Plays”? Roll-outs, run-options, play action, a few scrambles when necessary. Never know now.)

    Unfortunately (and eerily reminiscent of Shanty forcing Griffin out onto the field in that 2012 playoff game), disaster was waiting to strike.

    Well, that’s the way I saw it!

  16. voice4thefans - Aug 21, 2015 at 5:42 PM

    This is what happen when your teammate and O line do not like you

    • Capital Defense - Aug 21, 2015 at 7:58 PM

      This is spot on and…..You are not the “best” QB on your own team.

      Its time to ride with Kurt!

  17. gasngo14 - Aug 21, 2015 at 7:10 PM

    Bob just don’t have it !!! How long before we move on? Lets see how Bob does against the number 2’s…..HA!

  18. Capital Defense - Aug 21, 2015 at 8:02 PM

    The offensive line is fixed, it will take Moses and Shereff some time to work out the kinks on the right side.

    Trent will play next week and then what excuse will you RG#(that’s right RG hashtag) lovers have to defend him then.

    Gruden can coach offensive football, one of the best offensive minds in the game today. RG# is a terrible QB.

  19. firesnyder - Aug 21, 2015 at 9:03 PM

    This article kind of angers me. As someone who has tried to support Robert, it’s getting harder and harder. This article is one big excuse for Robert. We all need to face it. If he was above average, his play would be ABOVE AVERAGE. it’s just not. The Redskins NEED to move on.

  20. rhinochaserdesign - Aug 22, 2015 at 2:03 AM

    Just gotta say this article is just one giant excuse. The thing is, Rich, Griffin is a starting quarterback and you are making excuses that he shouldn’t even play 4 series? What happens when he has to actually play a whole game? The truth is, he’s not going to make it a full game this year. He’s going to get hurt – as usual.

    The only thing I’m thinking about with starting Griffin this year is to end the season with a really high 1st round pick. Maybe get a real QB.

    Cousins needs another chance. But he still does stare down his receivers though. Even still, he’s a better option than Griffin.

  21. Knorway - Aug 22, 2015 at 4:04 AM

    I’m not a coach, just a fan from Norway, but this situation is ridiculous. We have a good enough QB in my opinion, but a coach that seems not to call plays that help our QB play to his strengths. The other thing that I couldn’t understand is when the O-line plays so horribly, why isn’t the second string QB put in the game to save RG3s health? I do not think Gruden did anything deliberately, but it scares me how little he seems to grasp the situation during a game. When Colt and Kirk played, it seemed they had more time to make a play, yes I know they were going mostly up against second and third string players, but still! Archives

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