Panic. It’s a word and an emotion that conjures images of drastic measures taken to counteract dire circumstances. On the most extreme end, those images are lifeboats being cast from a sinking ship, or workers fleeing an office to escape a fire. On the other far less extreme end but still dire nonetheless, there’s the realization that the freezer is not stocked sufficiently with the required meat to make late night nachos during a game.

There’s always a brief, fleeting moment where logical thought isn’t possible, and then a solution to the problem at hand is found before a whole new problem arises. It’s a cycle, always churning, and always bringing that moment of panic back, again and again. Fans of teams with rookie quarterbacks know the feeling well. Perhaps a little too well.

Generally, I think fans realize that struggles are expected for any rookie quarterback, no matter how highly touted he is, how many shiny trophies he won in college, or how many attractive blonds he has in his hot tub on any given evening. There will be moments of brilliance, and moments of failure. Some rookies will have far more of the former (Cam Newton), while others will get a heavy dose of the latter (Blaine Gabbert).

The curvature of an individual quarterback’s learning is always unique, and always unpredictable, and it’ll be interesting this year to see how frequently Robert Griffin III and Andrew Luck make fans push panic buttons following the success of Newton and Andy Dalton last year, and how much immediate expectations have changed. So far in Washington the Redskins are still waiting to play their first preseason game, and already there’s a hint of panic. Stay seated, everyone, and please remain calm.

Maybe panic is a strong word here, and “worry” is more appropriate. Regardless, after RG3 put together a few days of practice in which his RG3-ness was lacking and he looked merely adequate, there was concern. Is he hitting an imaginary wall of some kind? Is his confidence wavering? Maybe he won’t be the next coming of Jason Campbell.

Never fear, says Rich Tandler. For a quarterback to develop — or any player — he needs to be challenged, and presented with different looks and scenarios. That’s what’s been happening.

From Tandler:

My Twitter timeline is peppered with fans in various stages of panic over reports that Robert Griffin III has not been lighting it up daily at training camp. My stock answer is that it is not surprising that he is not lighting it up.

The Redskins seem to be doing everything they can to challenge Griffin. There are no seven on seven passing drills where Griffin could pick out a receiver at a leisurely pace. He rarely lines up against reserve defenders. Almost every snap he takes in practice is against all 11 members of the Redskins’ first-team defense. Receivers are rarely sent out on deep patters so the defenders know they can crowd the line of scrimmage with impunity.

There is no need for Mike Shanahan to try to build up Griffin’s confidence by cutting him any slack in practice. A player who has a commercial airing about how “greatness is taken” does not have self esteem issues. The Redskins are making him earn every completion and every yard on the ground.

A year ago at this time there was significant panic over Newton, and his lackluster performance first during camp drills, and later throughout his preseason appearances when he completed only 42.1 percent of his passes on 57 attempts. His performance once games mattered is well documented: over 400 passing yards in each of his first two games, the most passing yards by a rookie, and the offensive rookie of the year award.

He did alright, and that uncertain start quickly became a memory.

And now the links part of the links post…

  • As expected, this week Shannon Eastin will make league history and become the first female to officiate a game. Since there are people in this world who prefer to live in caves with only cloth covering their private areas and a variety of bones to eat as meals, Eastin’s upcoming appearance on an NFL field has caused anger. It’s the epitome of herp derpism. [Shutdown Corner]
  • So will the Steelers ever even entertain the idea of trading Mike Wallace? Nope, Never. Not happening. [Pittsburgh post-Gazette]
  • As Maurice Jones-Drew’s holdout continues, there was finally positive news down in Jacksonville as Justin Blackmon made his training camp debut. As expected his development will be slow, especially with the CBA rules stating that he can’t practice in pads until his fourth day in camp. Consequently, that means Blackmon will sit out the Jaguars’ preseason opener this week against the Giants, and won’t play in his first NFL game until next Friday. [Florida Times-Union]
  • Von Miller managed to pressure the quarterback on 15.17 percent of his snaps last season. Yeah, his rookie year was alright. [Pro Football Focus]
  • Terrell Owens will wear No. 10 in Seattle. So go crazy, Seahawks fans, and buy his jersey, because Owens’ ability to make you buy stuff has always been one of his greatest skills. [PFT]
  • Andy Reid will return to practice just three days after the death of his son. [Philadelphia Inquirer]
  • Michael Crabtree spoke to the media for the first time since the invention of the wheel, and he reassured everyone that his injury isn’t voice related. He’ll likely play Friday in San Francisco’s preseason opener. [Niners Nation]
  • Tim Tebow took two reps with the first team offense this morning and completed a 60-yard bomb to Patrick Turner over Antonio Cromartie (*panics, removes all clothing, runs around office*) [Jenny Ventras on Twitter]