Over the next few days I'll take a look at each position on the roster, analyzing how they're better, or worse, compared to last season.
Who they lost: Rex Grossman
Where they’re better: Griffin is a year removed from his knee surgery and doesn’t need to play with a brace. He had a full offseason to work on his game and learn a new system. The Redskins made it a point to expand his game – particularly in the pocket – this offseason. There have been, and will be, growing pains. Griffin has looked much more comfortable, without questions focusing on his relationship with the head coach. Cousins played as I anticipated this summer: Making some good, decisive throws, and other ones that were off-target. The Redskins were wise to keep him around.
Where they’re worse: Hard to say that they’re worse. It’s not as if swapping Rex Grossman for McCoy makes them worse – Grossman had no experience in this system and his strength was in knowing Kyle Shanahan’s system and serving as a mentor. Either one as a third quarterback is fine. You could make a case that early on there will be growing pains because it’s a new system for Griffin and they’re trying to develop his pocket-passing skills. Oh, and making sure he protects himself, too. Growing pains there as well. Just get used to it; when you run a 4.3 in the 40, the decisions you think you can make are much different than pretty much anyone else’s. Takes time, and a few more jarring hits, to learn.
Overall: It’s an improved group simply because of Griffin’s offseason. But will that be enough to have a big season? Throughout the summer, Griffin had good days and bad. On his bad days he’d miss open targets, hold the ball a little too long and make questionable decisions. On his good days, there would be big plays, receivers hit in stride and the on-field charisma we saw in 2012. We rarely saw him pick apart a defense the way Tom Brady would (getting to see him work this summer was eye-opening). Griffin is not at that level yet. The trick now for Gruden is developing Griffin’s game while trying to win. That doesn’t always mesh, which is why I still think we’ll see his legs incorporated once the games begin – how could you not? The point is to win; doing so gives the Redskins that chance. This summer, we did not see the Redskins use his legs much (we did see it two years ago in camp). Nor did we always get to see the big plays Griffin can make by extending plays.