The third preseason game is always the most important, and the Redskins put forth an encouraging performance against the Colts on Saturday night at Fed Ex Field. The Colts were the worst team in the NFL last year, so excitement over the game must be tempered, but the Redskins did play very well. Robert Griffin III was given more leeway than usual, and he responded with two solidly efficient scoring drives in the second quarter. He was 11 for 17 for 74 yards and a touchdown. He also ran once for five yards to convert a first down in the first quarter. He showed an ability to move decisively in the pocket, taking short quick steps to evade pressure and find open throwing lanes.
Griffin was actually a very conservative runner at Baylor following his sophomore year knee injury. He picks his spots and then tends to make purposeful open runs to territory. He’s also not afraid to slide. Where Griffin’s speed and the tireless energy of a world-class hurdler come into play is in his ability to execute all facets of the Shanahans’ spread option techniques. Rich Campbell points this out in his film review of the offense. On the touchdown throw to Moss, Griffin bursts to the outside and gets to the right point to hit Moss on the flat route. Throughout preseason, RG3‘s speed put pressure on defenses in multiple regards. His 3rd down pass to Josh Morgan looked great on both sides of the exchange. Griffin comfortably eluded the rush then fired a dart to Morgan who made a nice catch to bring it in. Griffin seems very comfortable within the pocket. He demonstrated the ability to extend plays with his feet and find open receivers downfield numerous times this preseason. Both he and his counterpart in the game and in history, Andrew Luck, seem to do this with relative ease.
On defense, the Redskins completely controlled the line of scrimmage. The Colts offensive line is their biggest question mark, so it’s difficult to draw any conclusions from the performance. The defensive line looked great, Perry Riley continued to move quickly and noticeably from sideline to sideline, London Fletcher reminded everyone he’s ageless. Ryan Kerrigan abused Winston Justice all game and drove him right into Luck several times. The Colts couldn’t get anything going in the running game. The Colts had to earn every play, including the touchdown –though Madieu Williams was complicit on the play. Tanard Jackson outplayed Williams. Jackson is another player who has seemed to be all over the field during the last two preseason games. Mike Jones agreed in his observation of the game.
Most of the line played and overall, the starters looked pretty good. However, the Colts are not known for their ability to stop the run. Alfred Morris gained 107 yards and made numerous gutty, weaving, inspired runs. He seems to have locked down a spot in the final 53, but CFA still believes Royster is the starter. The Shanahans enjoy cloaking their personnel decisions in veils of secrecy, so it’s likely we won’t know who’s starting at running back until we see who trots out to the huddle against the Saints