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Inside Sonny’s Office: RGIII and Rivers

Posted by Gabe Hiatt on November 2, 2013 – 7:00 am



Like many of us here at Redskins park, Sonny Jurgensen has an open-air office without walls.

The former Redskins quarterback and longtime radio commentator doesn’t have a cubicle. He posts up in a couch in the back of the lobby, conversing with whoever comes by.

I met Sonny today and took the opportunity to ask him some quarterback questions.

For instance, what difference does he see between Robert Griffin III and Philip Rivers?

sonny plaque

“Different style quarterbacks,” Jurgensen said. “One runs. One doesn’t. Rivers is having a very good year. He’s got some really difficult matchups for the Redskins. The tight end, (Antonio) Gates, has been around for a really long time and knows how to get himself open. That’s a matchup that they’ll have to spend some time on.”

Rivers is in the middle of a career revival, leading all starting quarterbacks with a 73.9 completion percentage.  The Chargers are 4-3 and boast the league’s fourth-ranked offense.

In 2012 Rivers produced more than 1,000 less yards passing than the season before. He was also sacked a career-high 49 times.

Jurgensen said the Chargers had success under Norv Turner, but Mike McCoy’s influence on Rivers is obvious.

“Getting a new coaching staff in there and having a fresh start sometimes is good for you,” Jurgensen said.

“He seems to like it and seems to be playing very confidently right now. He’s a battler. He battles. It’s not always pretty, but they don’t give you any style points. He’s a heck of a quarterback.”

Like Jurgensen, Rivers does not have a conventional throwing motion. In a 2004 pre-draft scouting report, Sports Illustrated wrote the movement was “terrible” and “best described as awkward.”

“You don’t have to (have a perfect motion), as long as the ball gets there before the defender does,” Jurgensen said.

Robert Griffin III is playing more up and down. He’s completing 59 percent of his passes and has thrown just one more touchdown (9) than interception (8). In a loss last week at Denver, he passed for a season-low 132 yards.

Two weeks ago at home against Chicago, Griffin III passed for 298 yards and two touchdowns. More importantly, he effectively mixed the run and the pass and led a last-minute comeback drive.

Jurgensen said he likes the improvement he’s seeing from Griffin III, but the quarterback has to find his comfort zone in the pocket.

“He seems to be getting better each week, with being comfortable with the brace and all that,” Jurgensen said.

“(The Redskins) need to be able to sustain drives when people pack the line on them. It may be that Denver came up with a pretty good blueprint, putting eight men up and forcing them to throw the ball.”

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One Response to “Inside Sonny’s Office: RGIII and Rivers”

  1. By monkeyhouserodge on Nov 2, 2013 | Reply

    Interesting piece, always good to hear Sonny’s opinion. I actually would have liked to have seen more photos of this open air office though. Strange, but true

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