Friday Conversation: Ron Jaworski

ESPN NFL analyst Ron Jaworski loves football and watching tape of football. He's watched plenty of Washington Redskins' games and has plenty of thoughts on Robert Griffin III, Jordan Reed and the defense. So here you go:

What have you thought of Robert Griffin III lately, especially last Sunday?

Ron Jaworski: He’s gradually gotten better. He clearly had flawed mechanics early in the season due to not being 100 percent healthy, but he’s gotten stronger every week. He’s been more mechanically sound. I still believe he missed some throws in this game. But clearly he’s getting healthier, the offense is getting better, there’s no question. You saw the designed runs which were very effective and that will present problems for the Broncos. The offense is now getting back to where it was last season when he was healthy.

You talked about his mechanics earlier this season, where is he better?

Jaworski: I really thought early in the year he wasn’t confident in that right leg. He wasn’t getting his leg back and driving and snapping those hips. I thought the ball lost energy at the end of throws because of that. I didn’t think he was right in the beginning of the season. He clearly now is getting weight on that back foot. I’ve seen him drive throws down the field, so clearly he’s getting much healthier.

When you talk about being close to last year, is it because of the dynamic element he can add?

Jaworski: Yeah first and foremost I see the legs now playing a bigger part in his throws, so that part he’s getting healthier with. He’s still not the dynamic runner he was a year ago. I don’t know if he’ll ever be the same dynamic runner that he was. He can certainly make a lot of plays. Last year when healthy he was extraordinary, the burst and getting around the edge. I see him making plays but I don’t see that burst when he was flying around last year. He may get better. It’s still too early to tell but clearly he’s not where he was running the ball last year. It speaks volumes for how he was last year.

What else jumped out at you from their offense?

Jaworski: I thought they went back to some of their more primary plays that they ran last year. When you look at the success last year it clearly was running the ball, certainly the ability of RG3 to take off balanced the defense and made them stay at home and that opened the play-action pass game. I saw more of that against Chicago than I’ve seen all season long, more of the offense in rhythm like it was for most of last season.

What did you think of Jordan Reed?

Jaworski: The guy will be sensational. He’s one of the guys that jumps off the tape at you. I like to use the word flash. We saw a little bit of it earlier this season but clearly against Chicago I saw a lot more of it. We were talking here, he reminded us on the field of an Aaron Hernandez. He has that kind of wide receiver movement for a big guy. This guy is going to scare the hell out of defenses. They can’t load up the box when you have the ability to get him down the field matched against linebackers and safeties. That’s a mismatch. He has a chance to be really good. We talk about splash plays; the splash plays against Chicago came from him.

Defensively, have you seen improvement?

Jaworski: Quite honestly, not a whole lot. I still think Jim Haslett does a great job in scheme, it’s well-designed. I saw a number of mental breakdowns against Chicago. They’ll have real challenges against Peyton Manning when he goes one back, one tight end and three wides. Who’s playing in the secondary? They could be very thin. Peyton can expose a weakness in a heartbeat so it’s a very difficult matchup because of their structure in the secondary right now.

Is there a kryptonite for Peyton right now?

Jaworski: There’s a kryptonite for all quarterbacks. I don’t want to simplify it but Robert Mathis had an outstanding game. He had quick pressure on Peyton. He was taking [James] Harrison’s bull rush and Peyton couldn’t finish a number of throws. When you watched it on TV you see the ball drop short and then you look at the All-22 and you see guys in his face and off the line being pushed back into him where he can’t plant, step and throw. All those little things that impact the quarterback. When you have elite quarterbacks the only way to slow them down is pressure them.

Can the Redskins’ defensive line, and Brian Orakpo, do what the Colts did?

Jaworski: Yeah I think they can create some pressure. They don’t have the speed and quickness Mathis has, which presents the first problem. It’ll be a combination of outside pressure, force Peyton to step up and have that push inside so he can’t drive the ball. The Redskins do a nice job when they have [Ryan] Kerrigan and Orakpo on the same side in the nickel package. It’s an effective package where you get a couple of really skilled athletes coming off one side. I expect to see some of that in this game. Both are very good pass-rushers. But you have to be creative and you have to create one-on-one matchups. I don’t think you blitz Peyton Manning. You have to throw a couple in there but he’s so good at decoding a blitz and getting the ball out of his hands so it’s risky. But you can’t let him sit back there as well, so you have to mix in the blitz and keep him off-balance.