ASHBURN, Va. — Robert Griffin III is a middle-of-the-park performer through his first four games after major knee surgery.
The NFL ranks quarterbacks in 10 major categories in its weekly stats package. Griffin is 16th, 17th or 18th in eight of them. He’s best at completion percentage (62.4, ranked 14th) and worst at touchdown percentage (3.5, 23rd).
That’s a big reason why the Washington Redskins are 1-3.
“You come out and the way we played — the way I played that first game — that was not up to my standards or up to our standards as a team in general,” Griffin said Wednesday. “That was disappointing. When it comes to timing here, timing there, sometimes you might be a little bit off coming back from an injury like I had, and you have to work through those growing pains.”
It’s been obvious to anyone watching that Griffin was rusty after missing offseason practices and all four preseason games. This is the first time Griffin himself has conceded that point. He doesn’t doubt at all that he should’ve been playing from Week 1, but he acknowledges it’s taking time to get back the rhythm that made him the league’s offensive rookie of the year in 2012.
“The only way to come back from an injury like that is to play, and that’s what we had to do,” Griffin said. “I feel good about what we were able to do from a groundwork standpoint, building up each game. But now it’s time for us to make that breakthrough, and we have to do it.”
Despite the slow start, the Redskins haven’t lost much ground in the dreadful NFC East. They actually have a chance to move into sole possession of first place by the end of the weekend if they beat the Dallas Cowboys (2-3) on Sunday night.
“Whenever you set a precedent of how you are going to play week-in, week-out like we did last year, there’s going to be high expectations because that’s what you want,” Griffin said. “I don’t think we’ve disappointed anybody more than ourselves the first four weeks of the season.”
Griffin said he feels “rejuvenated” after getting five days off during the Redskins’ bye. He and his wife spent part of the time on vacation in Williamsburg.
Griffin said coach Mike Shanahan has challenged each player to improve. Griffin said, for him, that means “just going out and being the playmaker that they need me to be.”
The Redskins also need defenses to start respecting the run game again. Alfred Morris is on pace to get 111 fewer carries and 429 fewer yards than last year. Griffin has rushed only 18 times for 72 yards — he ran 120 times for 815 yards last year. The read option that worked so well in 2012 hasn’t had much of an impact in 2013.
Shanahan said he closely examined Griffin’s first four games during the bye. He sees a quarterback who’s getting better.
“What you do is you get to go back, take a look at every pass play — play-action, drop-back,” Griffin said. “You see him feeling more comfortable with himself.”
Notes: Morris said he’ll wear padding to protect the ribs he bruised in the game before the bye. He took part in the full practice Wednesday. … Limited in practice were TE Logan Paulsen (sprained left knee) and LB Brandon Jenkins (sprained right ankle).
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