RGIII holds on too long sometimes in practice

ASHBURN -- His arm strength is obvious on deep outs. His speed is evident on runs, especially inside the red zone. Those reasons, among others, are why the Redskins drafted Robert Griffin III. But he's still a rookie. He hasn't played a game. And he's still learning when to unload the ball in the pocket.

Through 10 days of practice, one area of Griffin's game that bears watching is his decisiveness in the pocket. Sometimes he holds the ball too long. Other times he might still be going through his reads, even if the play is doomed by the pass rush.

What Griffin hasn't done is force passes into coverage under duress.

"Sometimes in practice I try to err on the side of not throwing the ball into coverage a little too much," Griffin said. "Our defenders know what's coming at them. In a game things will open up a lot more, and I'll get the ball out of my hands. It comes with time. You have to learn when to run and when not to run and when to throw the ball into the dirt."

In college, Griffin's athleticism bailed him out of numerous situations. He also didn't face elite players every week. There are times when he appears to run through his play-action fakes on dropbacks at a deliberate pace, not turning around to face the defense for nearly two seconds. By then, the defense often has closed in on him.

But what he doesn't know yet is whether he can escape these situations. In practice defenders pull up before hitting him, and Griffin continues going through his reads. With an offensive line that could be starting two or three backups vs. Buffalo on Thursday, he might not have the luxury of getting through all his reads.

"It's just about knowing where you need to go with the ball," Griffin said. "I'll see [in games] whether things open up a lot more with the pass rush or whether things get clogged up a lot more. It'll be interesting to see what happens. By no means am I looking to run a lot in the preseason or in this first preseason game."

But Griffin said he feels good about his decision making. And others say different factors matter more right now.

"The first step is having a good feel for the timing of the routes and where to go with the ball against certain coverages," quarterback Rex Grossman said. "His natural football instincts will take care of the things we're seeing. That's more important than getting the ball out of his hands quickly.

"Once the lights come on and he's live, I think you'll see him get rid of the ball, and I'm sure sometimes you'll see him not and get out of it and make a 40-yard run."