GREEN BAY, Wis. — Even at Lambeau Field, Aaron Rodgers’ home turf, Robert Griffin III owns the spotlight.
The first game is out of the way for Washington’s quarterback in his return to the field eight months after right knee surgery. The knee felt fine this week, Griffin said. Losing 33-27 to the Eagles? Not cool.
“If anything, it’s going to make us even hungrier. Not just me, but the team as well,” Griffin said. “It was disappointing, but it doesn’t ruin your season and you move on to the next week. … In that sense, yes, it’s a more routine second week.”
Things are anything but routine where RG3 is concerned. The 2012 Offensive Rookie of the Year has his every step and throw analyzed. He looked a bit rusty last week and threw two interceptions in a game for the first time as a pro.
Packers defensive lineman B.J. Raji doesn’t expect to see that kind of performance from Griffin.
“We’re playing what we see on film and what they’ve done in the past,” Raji said. “Obviously, he’s not the same as he was last year, but he’s pretty effective still.”
Five things to look for Redskins vs. Packers:
QB STARS: Rodgers last week threw for 333 yards in the 34-28 loss to the 49ers. He’s the wily pro now, heading into his ninth season, and the longest-tenured Packer.
Rodgers and Griffin ascended to their positions on vastly different routes. Rodgers sat for three years behind Brett Favre, then helped lead Green Bay to a Super Bowl win in 2010. Griffin played right away coming out of Baylor. Now they’re two of the NFL’s top stars.
“Coming into the league, he’s just done it over time,” Griffin said about Rodgers. “That’s what you want to be and that’s what we want to be, our rookie class.”
SECONDARY CONCERNS: Rodgers clicked last week with receivers Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb. Now the Packers get a shot at the Redskins’ questionable secondary. E.J. Biggers started last week at safety after just one week of practice at a position he hadn’t played since high school. It would be huge for Washington if Brandon Meriweather (groin) can play Sunday after being sidelined by several injuries for the last year.
James Jones, the third member of the Packers’ top receiving trio, got shut out last week at Candlestick Park. Expect Rodgers to send the ball in Jones’ direction this week.
SECONDARY, TAKE TWO: The Packers have secondary concerns, too, after 49ers receiver Anquan Boldin torched the defense for 13 catches, 208 yards and a touchdown. It didn’t help that the Packers played without safety Morgan Burnett, who had a late-week flare-up of a hamstring injury that forced him to sit out. Burnett returned to practice this week in limited action, though he looked fine moving around the field.
READ-OPTION: The Packers limited Kaepernick and the 49ers’ running game last week. Now they get a shot at another mobile quarterback. Against the Eagles, Griffin didn’t run the ball out of the zone-read, the scheme that helped him earn top offensive rookie honors.
Griffin has made it known he wants to be more of a passing quarterback. Regardless, coach Mike Shanahan isn’t worried about his playmaker.
“No, he’s going to make plays, he’s going to play like he always has,” Shanahan said. “I think you saw that during the game (last week). He made a number of scrambles.”
RUN, ROOKIE: The Packers had four quick-strike touchdown drives last week. But five three-and-outs hurt. Getting rookie running back Eddie Lacy going would help. The front five struggled early in the run game last week against the 49ers’ staunch defensive line. Lacy fumbled before things improved a little in the second half. He’s focusing on perfecting “the little things” like chip blocking or reading holes during his on-the-job training.
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