Griffin careful, less accurate since return
January, 4, 2013
By Doug Clawson | ESPN.com
Patrick McDermott/Getty ImagesRobert Griffin III has shown he can still run.
Washington Redskins fans were a little nervous when Robert Griffin III went down with an injury a few weeks ago.
But their fears were alleviated when Griffin returned and led the team to two more wins.
Heading into the playoff matchup with the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday, it’s worth asking: Is there anything different with RGIII since he returned in Week 16?
What should we be watching for?
Let’s look at the numbers to find out.
He’s been able to avoid hits
We went through film review to look at how much contact Griffin absorbed before and after the injury.
Griffin has been hit 170 times on 567 plays this season— a rate of about 30 percent of the times in which he’s either attempted a pass, been sacked, scrambled, or ran on a designed quarterback run.
Griffin was hit at least eight times in 11 of his first 13 games this season, and was hit on nearly one-third of all plays.
But in the last two games, he’s only been hit a combined total of eight times, lowering his “hit rate” to only 15 percent of plays.
He’s shown more of a willingness to slide recently, perhaps influenced by Russell Wilson who does so frequently in the option. Griffin slid only five times in his first 13 games, but has slid twice in the last two weeks.
He may look slow, but he’s doing fine
Griffin has acknowledged publicly that he feels a little slower when running, but that hasn’t impacted his performance.
Griffin averaged 7.5 yards per run in the option in the first 13 games of the season, running with the ball about three times per game.
Since returning, Griffin has seven option runs for 68 yards, an average of nearly 10 yards per carry, including the 10-yard touchdown run in Week 17.
The Redskins are running more often
Prior to Griffin’s injury, the Redskins called a run play 46 percent of the time, the fifth-highest rate in the league.
But in the last two games, with the continued success of Alfred Morris, they have upped their run percentage to 61 percent, easily the highest in the league in that span.
Will throwing on the run be an issue?
One of the things that made Griffin so dangerous was his ability to throw accurately when outside the pocket. His 60 percent completion rate prior to the injury on those throws was the best in the NFL.
Last Sunday night against the Dallas Cowboys, Griffin had some trouble throwing on the run. He completed 1-of-5 passes outside the pocket (he was 0-for-1 doing so in Week 16).
What about throwing downfield?
Prior to his injury, Griffin completed a league-high 61 percent of his passes more than 10 yards downfield.
Over the last two games, Griffin has completed 5-of-12 (42 percent) passes more than 10 yards downfield, including only 1-of-5 in Week 17 against the Cowboys.
All seven of his incompletions on such throws over the past two games were due to off-target (over or underthrown passes).
What's he up against?
The Seahawks defense is pretty good. Remember all that we just told you. Now factor this in:
-- The Seahawks have faced 12 options rushes this season from the San Francisco 49ers and Carolina Panthers, allowing 3.3 yards per rush and only two first downs (league average is six yards per run)
-- The Seahawks held opponents to a 47 percent completion rate on throws outside the pocket (ninth-best in NFL).
-- The Seahawks have 12 interceptions and yielded only seven touchdowns on throws more than 10 yards downfield. The differential (five more interceptions) ranks tied for second-best in the league.
In other words: This wouldn't be an easy game even if Griffin was 100 percent.