Could RG3 be losing his footing as Redskins' starting QB?

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by Ross Jones, Fox Sports
Mon Aug 25, 12:13 AM UTC

It has been a rocky start for Robert Griffin III.

While the Redskins’ first-team offense continues to search for its first trip inside the opponent’s end zone this preseason, Griffin displayed old tendencies in a 23-17 loss against the Ravens on Saturday night. It didn’t startle head coach Jay Gruden after the game, though.

"I feel confident about where he is," Gruden said, via the team’s Twitter account.

Griffin, whose five of six drives ended in either a turnover or punt, had a non-descript outing, completing 5-of-8 passes for 20 yards and an interception.

The 6-foot-2, 220-pound sprinter-turned-quarterback was also sacked three times by a relentless Ravens defense. What’s most concerning, though, is how the sacks happened.

Marching deep inside Ravens’ territory on the team’s first series, Griffin noticed his first read was blanketed in coverage and rolled right. Ravens rookie cornerback Terrence Brooks, who one play earlier intercepted an RG3-pass but it was negated by a defensive penalty, tested Griffin’s speed and forced him out of bounds.

Griffin’s second sack came on a similar play in the second quarter, when he recognized good coverage and bailed right. This time, Ravens defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan took a good pursuit angle and ushered Griffin out of bounds.

The bright spots were there, but they were few and far between.

For instance, Griffin connected on a 27-yard beauty to tight end Jordan Reed, but the play was wiped clean after offensive tackle Trent Williams was flagged for holding.

On the Redskins’ final offensive series of the first half, Griffin telegraphed a pass in DeSean Jackson’s direction. If not for an offsides call, cornerback Dominique Franks had a chance at a pick-6. The drive ended miserably as the offensive line collapsed and Griffin was sacked again.

After Griffin opened up the second half with an interception, Gruden opted for backup quarterback Kirk Cousins. Cousins’ showing wasn’t perfect, but he did seem to bring a spark to the unit, orchestrating a 13-play, 81-yard scoring drive which was capped by an 11-yard touchdown pass to Santana Moss.

Cousins’ two-touchdown performance against the Ravens’ backup defense surely won’t open internal discussions about a potential quarterback change, but he did appear to be the more polished pocket passer, which reports indicated earlier this month.

Former Redskins quarterback Joe Theismann articulated his opinion on the subject during the telecast.

“Let’s stop beating around the bush,” Theismann said, via The Washington Post. “Kirk Cousins has played much better at the quarterback position than Robert Griffin III has. Now, Robert is learning to work out of a pocket. He doesn’t look as smooth or as comfortable throwing the football. I mean, your eyes will tell you everything you need to know.

“It’s going to be a decision that Jay Gruden is going to have to make,” Theismann said. “Right now, Robert Griffin III is his quarterback. Now, if there was a quarterback competition, it wouldn’t be a competition. Kirk Cousins would be the man I believe he would have to go to, because of the efficiency with which he has run [the offense]. Now Kirk, like I said, is basically a drop-back quarterback. I see Andy Dalton in Cincinnati, I see Kirk Cousins that way. …”

While Griffin opened himself up to unnecessary criticism this past week for his offerings on Twitter, his play on the field didn’t do much to quiet his doubters.

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