Through the first four games of the season, Robert Griffin III struggled as he adjusted back to life in the NFL after not having played a down in over 250 days prior to their season opener. While he may not have admitted it, you've got to believe that his knee brace was certainly slowing him down a bit. Simply put, we just weren't seeing anything close to the Robert Griffin III that we saw in 2012.
He wasn't playing scared, he was playing cautious. All offseason long, all he heard was how he needed to protect himself out there in order to lengthen his career. Every expert and their brother criticized his playing style and claimed that he would only last five years in the NFL before finally having to call it quits due to injuries. Did he let that talk get to him? Possibly. He wasn't as willing to run as he used to be.
It was a mental struggle, really, to find that balance between living on the edge and going over the cliff. He didn't want to put himself in position to get hurt, but he knew he needed to make plays. He was getting pulled in two different directions internally because he knew what his job was, but he also knew he needed to be careful about how he went about it.
After the bye week, we saw a brand new Robert Griffin III. While his performance against the Cowboys still left us wanting just a little bit more, he finally showed some signs of his former self. He rushed for 77 yards on nine carries while throwing for 246 yards and an interception.
This past weekend against the Chicago Bears, the one called "RG3" finally shook off the remaining rust and pulled a victory out of the jaws of defeat for Washington. While statistically things looked pretty good, 84 yards rushing on 11 carries and 298 yards passing with two touchdowns, the stat sheet does not even begin to tell how impactful his play was.
Griffin's overall willingness and ability to run the football made all the difference. Through the first four weeks of the season, he gave the football off to Alfred Morris on the read option, even on plays when it would have better served the offense to keep the ball. The offense then became one dimensional and defenses were keying in on Morris.
Against the Bears, Griffin had no troubles pulling the ball back from Morris and picking up a few yards, or even first downs, on his own. Doing so then made the offense all the more unpredictable and punished defenders that didn't play disciplined football. The Redskins were able to take advantage of defensive mistakes thanks to Griffin's athletic ability and his knack for making somethings out of nothings.
In Dallas two weeks ago, we saw him get his legs back, but his passing efficiency suffered. With the exception of his first-half interception, Griffin was much more efficient throwing the ball, thus making him the dual-threat quarterback he was in 2012. Griffin's 105.2 passer rating on Sunday was a season-high for the second-year quarterback.
You have to give a lot of credit to the Redskins' coaching staff, as well. Instead of calling simple handoffs, they gave him the opportunity to create and make plays. While they still may be making a conscious effort to protect Griffin, the play calling showed that the coaching staff is ready to turn RG3 loose.
"Operation Patience" appears to have reached it's end. With Griffin's performance against the Chicago Bears, the rest of the NFL was reminded of just how dangerous the Washington Redskins' offense can be when he's at his best.
Brian Skinnell is a contributor for RantSports.com and Yahoo Sports. You can follow him on Twitter, @Brian_Skinnell.
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