Robert Griffin III's knee is fine. The same can't be said about any facet of the Washington Redskins' passing game.
"Sometimes it may be a read, it may be an overthrow, it may be a protection issue, it may be a dropped ball," coach Mike Shanahan said Monday.
That about covers it. Griffin has open receivers that he doesn't see. When he does throw it, he's not nearly as accurate as he was a year ago. When he does put the ball on the money, his receivers are dropping it far too often. And, of course, sometimes he under too much pressure, taking, for example, three sacks and 13 more hits in Sunday's 45-21 loss to the Denver Broncos.
"Everything that works together gives you a chance," Shanahan said. "And that's what we're working for on offense. Same thing we did a year ago. But that consistency is the key to winning football games, and we're not there yet."
The Redskins (2-5) blew a 14-point, second-half lead and managed only one good drive against the Broncos, relying on the defense to score or set up 14 points with takeaways. Griffin completed only 15 of 30 passes for 132 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions before he was knocked out of the game when his left knee was squished by 335-pound defensive tackle Terrance Knighton.
Both Shanahan and Griffin said after the game that the quarterback could've returned if the score had been closer. The coach said Monday that the knee was "fine" and "a little bit sore" but that Griffin should practicing as scheduled Wednesday when the Redskins begin on-field preparations for the San Diego Chargers.
Griffin tore ligaments in his right knee last season and has mostly struggled since he returned. He has nine touchdowns, eight interceptions and a 79.2 rating. The Redskins' best offensive performances this season have come when he's run the ball more than a handful of times, complementing the talents of tailbacks Alfred Morris and Roy Helu.
Morris was having a solid afternoon Sunday (93 yards, 17 carries), but he nearly disappeared from the game plan at a crucial stage in the fourth quarter. With the Redskins needing to eat up the clock to keep Peyton Manning and the Broncos' offense off the field, Washington rushed the ball just once in nine plays over three series.
That said, some of those pass plays had potential. Joshua Morgan was open deep over the middle, but he turned too late to adjust to a throw that was a little off-target. Aldrick Robinson dropped a third-and-10 pass over the middle. The Redskins' run-pass ratio was basically even until they started throwing every down with a big deficit in the final few minutes.
From Week 1, hope for a successful Redskins season has featured the same recurring themes: Griffin will eventually get back to his old self, the NFC East is up for grabs because there's no dominant team, and early losses aren't reason for panic in the wake of last year's seven-game winning streak that won the division.
None of that matters, though, if the Redskins don't start playing better. On Sunday they had a chance to steal a game few thought they could win. Even a mediocre passing game in the second half would've done the trick.
"We can't keep saying we've got time," linebacker Ryan Kerrigan said. "Because as the weeks go by, if we keep losing, we won't have much more time. We've got to turn things around."
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