Two-time pro bowl cornerback and current NFL Network analyst, Eric Davis, joined Holden and Danny Wednesday to give his insight into the early successes of RGIII, what’s plaguing Cam Newton in Carolina and which deficiencies the Redskins can exploit in Pittsburgh Sunday.
Davis, who won a Super Bowl with San Francisco under a Mike Shanahan-led offense, said the Redskins head coach is employing the same type of offense in Washington, with a similar style quarterback as he had with Steve Young in the 1994 championship season.
“When he had Steve Young, he had an athletic quarterback … he had Ricky Waters, he had the offensive linemen that were athletic enough to run that stretch zone systems,” Davis said. “So when you can do those things it extends the plays in the running game so it puts much more stress on the defense.”
Although the style is similar, Davis added that Shanahan has tweaked the offense to fit Griffin’s skill set better.
“With RGIII he has that quarterback and he’s utilizing that system and his knowledge of the game, but he’s also implementing what RGIII did in college.”
Davis told Holden and Danny he’s more than impressed with the play of Robert Griffin III thus far in the season, but even more so with his ability to pick up the offense so quickly.
“I didn’t know that he was going to be able to pick up on the pace, the speed, the intensity of the pro game so quickly,” Davis said. “It’s just different. It really is. And I’d seen him play. But I am still shocked, as everyone else is, with the ease that he has picked up the pro game and the pace of things.”
However, when the conversation switched to Cam Newton’s dismal second-year performance, Davis reminded Skins fans it’s not all smiles and sunshine with a young quarterback, despite how well they may seem to have adjusted to the rigorous pace of the NFL.
“Cam is going through what most second year quarterbacks go through. If you look at Flacco … if you look at Ryan … I mean these young quarterbacks that had success.”
He said rookie quarterbacks have the advantage of being a fresh face that defenses have never seen before, and the sophomore slump is something very real that RGIII’s legion of fans should start bracing themselves for.
“Teams have a book on you and they spend an entire offseason, especially teams within your division. They spend an entire offseason dedicated solely to you. And people will always say, as the season goes on ‘teams get a book on you and they game plan you,’ well not like they do when they study you in the offseason – and they have the Cam Newton book.”
Washington heads to Pittsburgh this Sunday to face a Steelers (3-3) team that – much like the Redskins – is riddled with injuries at key positions. While Davis thinks Washington has a great opportunity to steal a victory from the grasp of the hamstrung home team, he says the similarity between the two could be the deciding factor in the game.
“In the NFL it is going to boil down to your quarterback play come crunch time,” Davis said. “That’s why Pittsburgh will still be in it because you cannot count them out as long as Ben is around. He’ll find a way.”
Davis also noted Washington will have to get it done on offense to walk away with their heads held high, even laughing off the Redskins defense. But he did make sure to specify that this isn’t the same Steelers team that won two Super Bowls in four years, adding that they’re older and much more dinged up.
“They don’t strike the same fear in teams’ hearts.”