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RG3: ‘I passed the hit test’ in opener, ready to improve vs. Packers
But after uncharacteristic first-half struggles in Monday’s 33-27 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles, the questions quickly arose: Was Griffin healthy enough to be on the field after an eight-month knee rehabilitation? Were his mechanics and footwork affected by the long layoff?
“I’m also not paying attention to any of that stuff,” Griffin said Wednesday during his weekly news conference at Redskins Park. “If I make a bad throw coming off of an injury, it’s my mechanics and I’m not driving off my back leg. But if a healthy quarterback makes a bad throw it’s just a bad throw. I understand that.”
Griffin was 5-for-11 for 53 yards in the first half of the Philadelphia game with two interceptions. One pick was an inexplicable throw into triple coverage over the middle to Santana Moss. The other didn’t have enough power to beat Eagles corner Cary Williams, who made the diving interception.
“To be honest with you, I never expected more,” Moss said. “I didn’t expect what happened to us as far as the fumbles and all the other stuff. But I didn’t expect us to go out there and look phenomenal. This is [Griffin‘s] first game. You have to take a couple of bumps and bruises for him to get his rhythm.”
That’s exactly what happened. In the second half, Griffin was 25-of-38 for 276 yards with two touchdown passes to wide receiver Leonard Hankerson. The rally fell short and that left a bitter taste. But Griffin also says he came through the contest intact with no setbacks on his surgically repaired right knee.
“Typical soreness from getting hit,” Griffin said. “Philly got me good a couple times. That’s just the way it goes. You just work those kinks out.”
But, he added: “I passed the hit test. I got hit a lot. I got hit every kind of way, too. I think that’s another huge relief for everybody, the coaches, players, myself.”
Griffin confirmed that there was “a miscommunication” with the NFL office about his knee brace during Monday’s game. He had said afterward that the league called Washington’s sidelines and told the team the brace had to be covered. It turns out that was inaccurate information and he won’t have to do that Sunday at Green Bay.
But Griffin and the Redskins must quickly shed the Philadelphia loss and refocus on Green Bay, a perennial playoff team that also started 0-1 after dropping a close game Sunday to defending NFC champion San Francisco.
Washington had months to prepare for Chip Kelly’s unique offense and the Eagles‘ new 3-4 defensive system. And while players felt they were prepared, several on the offensive side said that there were opportunities made available early in the game that they just missed.
“I think you have to keep in tune with the type of ballgame Washington was involved in,” Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy said. “The first half and second half were totally different. … We’re paying pretty close attention to [Griffin‘s] second-half production.”
Even with one less day to prepare for the Packers, Griffin acknowledged a return to a normal NFL routine should be good for his team. Instead of wondering exactly what Philadelphia was going to do under a new coaching staff with penchant for a lightning-quick tempo, there is more than enough tape on what Green Bay and star quarterback Aaron Rodgers can do.
Stopping the Packers remains a daunting task, but the months-long hype and anticipation of Week 1 is finally behind the Redskins. Now it’s all about getting back to playing football.
“Don’t put that [hype] on me. Everybody was excited about it,” Griffin said. “I talked to my family after the game and at the end of the day, we lost the game, so you’re disappointed about that. The fact of the matter is we went through a hard offseason this year. Not just me, but this team. To get out of that game healthy, to move forward to the next week, I think that’s a big load off everybody’s shoulders.”
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