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Should the San Diego Chargers be afraid of Robert Griffin III?

Is Robert Griffin III still the dynamic player that helped the Redskins win the NFC East division in his rookie season? Should the Chargers be afraid of him this Sunday? Maybe not.

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Through seven games of the 2013 season, the Washington Redskins are 2-5. Through seven games last season, they were 3-4, but they won their final seven games of the season and won the NFC East. The assumption heading into the season was that their young team would get off to a faster start, and that they'd finish with an even better record in a weakened NFC East division.

So, what has gone wrong so far? Ask anybody that and you're bound to hear "RG3" and "knee" in the same sentence not long after. I'm going to do some digging through the stats to see exactly what has caused the slow start to the season for the 2013 Redskins, because I don't think Robert Griffin III has been the only issue.

  • So far this season, Griffin is ranked 28th by DVOA, 28th by DYAR and 30th by QBR. Last year, he was ranked 7th, 11th and 6th, respectively.
  • The Washington offense is ranked 15th in the league by DVOA this season, 3rd in rushing attack and 25th in passing offense. Last year? 5th overall, 2nd in rushing and 6th in passing.
  • Last season, Pro Football Focus gave RG3 an overall grade of 30.6, which was good enough for 9th best in the league. So far in 2013, Griffin has accumulated an accumulated grade of -7.2, ranking him 26th amongst the 31 QBs that have taken at least 50% of the snaps for their team.

All of that proves that Griffin is, in fact, having a lousy season. Let's see how the rest of the team has done around him.

  • The offensive line is ranked 17th in run blocking by Football Outsiders, and 10th in pass protection. Last year they were ranked 8th in run blocking and 23rd in pass protection. So, apparently, the pass blocking has been ever better this year. Pro Football Focus backs up these rankings, and they have the Redskins ranked as one of the worst passing offenses this year while also being one of the best rushing offenses.
  • Both of the sites we're looking at agree that the Redskins have the worst special teams in the league, and it's not really close.
  • The defensive ranks are similar on both sites. The Redskins appear to be completely unable to stop the run, and their secondary would be worthless if it weren't for their (decent) pass rush.

We're starting to get a clearer picture now of the 2013 Washington Redskins. They can run, and they can block, but they can't pass the ball and their defense doesn't have much beyond the pass rush. How does that compare to last year?

  • In 2012, the Redskins ranked 28th in special teams. So they haven't really gotten much better or worse in that department.
  • Their defense was also not very good at stopping the run last season, but the coverage from their secondary was significantly better. This makes sense, considering they replaced a few coverage guys back there with big hitters like Brandon Meriweather and Bacarri Rambo.

As per usual, the Chargers will need to ride their offense to victory. However, this time it's not entirely on the arm of Philip Rivers. The running game, with Ryan Mathews and Danny Woodhead, should be able to do some damage against the Redskins if the Chargers defense is able to slow down Albert Morris and the Redskins running game.

What I saw against the Denver Broncos was a Robert Griffin that was unsure of himself. He seemed less trusting of his receivers and waited a long time for guys to come open before throwing the ball, which led to him taking big hits almost every time he completed a pass. The beating eventually took its toll and knocked him out of the game. If he doesn't fix that, and go back to being the instinctual player he was in college and in his rookie season, San Diego doesn't have much to fear from the Redskins QB on Sunday.