Redskins mailbag: From RG III's good start to panic mode

The Redskins mailbag topics are predictable: quarterback play and outside linebackers. Enjoy.

John Keim: Thrilled you asked this question. Never said he was clearly the best in camp but did say at one point I had no problem with the order on the depth chart. Through the first five days of camp I thought Robert Griffin III had a couple inconsistent days and one or two where he looked sharp in certain drills in particular (a couple nice plays in two-minute situations), but he looked a little better. Since that point I cooled because I started to see too many inconsistent days and when they faced the Texans - and a different defense - some of the old issues resurfaced. The tricky part in camp, and it's something I would mention in write-ups, is that on some plays you don't know how it would have unfolded in a real game - would he have been sacked because he held the ball too long? Also: Why did he hold the ball too long? From the sidelines, and without benefit of instant replay, it's tough to know what really happened. So you go by how he's throwing the ball, is he being intercepted, is he running a lot, is he hitting guys in stride, etc. You really need to watch the practice tape to truly know, and we don't have that luxury. After a while I thought there were inconsistencies in all three (others in the organization said as much). But when the games began, some of the past problems were more evident - and I had benefit of instant replay. Coaches can gloss over things from practice, but it's tougher to do so after watching a game. And the beauty of the job is this: After watching, I get to talk to coaches and players to get a more complete picture. If someone can't do that, they're just guessing. Keim: I don't think it's overstated. It also helps to have future Hall of Famers who are among those hanging out while playing for a Hall of Fame coach and a great organization. But football is such a tough sport that it's better when you hate letting down the guys around you. When you keep throwing new guys together it's hard to get to that point. I think some of the teams the past several years have largely stayed together, but they just weren't very good. However, the reason it's important is because when you have situations like this one, you can keep many things in-house and prevent a team from coming apart. I think the way you get that is by developing homegrown talent; when players come up together, there's a different level of closeness it seems. Keim: No. He's not an impact player. And until a week or two ago I didn't think he'd do a whole lot. That's not to say he's a bad pick, but he is transitioning to a new spot (outside linebacker) and playing at a new level. Tough to do. He's starting to think less, which is a good sign, and I think he can provide help. His big impact will come in future seasons after he develops. Patience needed. Keim: Well, I knew they loved him before his injury. Joe Barry loved the energy he brought, and general manager Scot McCloughan loved what Galette added - and they felt he was a good fit in the locker room. Then McCloughan told the Washington Times on Thursday that he wanted Galette back. No reason to think that wouldn't be the case. Also, because he's coming off an injury, he won't require a big deal and that means they'll be in the same spot as this summer: Signing a potentially strong pass rusher on a one-year deal. If he becomes an issue, they can cut him with no big cap hit. Keim: Got a few questions about this group so I'll try to answer more of them here. The coaches sounded enthusiastic about Murphy throughout the spring and summer. I know that some in the organization viewed him as a backup - hence, the drafting of Smith and signing of Galette. But Murphy will get a chance to prove he's a capable starter. He did not do that last season; his pass rushes were ineffective - has he improved? He's stronger, which will help. I still see him now as the starter with Smith as a nickel rusher. Another reader asked about Jackson Jeffcoat and while he focused hard on his explosiveness, he's still a backup. Even with him on the roster, along with Murphy and Smith, the Redskins knew they wanted more help at this position. Jeffcoat does show signs of being at least an OK fourth outside linebacker (strictly as a pass rusher). Keim: The biggest in Griffin's career? Well, if he plays poorly and somehow the Redskins make a move then sure he was right. Short of that, if Griffin struggles Saturday but plays well in the opener, then was it really that pivotal? Still, I will say is that it's a crucial game for Griffin. Yes, it's only the preseason, but anyone who is around the team, and knows how certain people have felt, understands what's at stake. Griffin needs to play well to prove he not only is the starter but deserves the honor. Every player in the NFL has to play well to keep his job. Griffin should be no different.