Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III has been hit a lot in his first three NFL games, and he has complained about some of those hits. But Griffin says that after making his complaints, he learned that the hits he takes aren’t all against the rules.
Griffin said that he was under the impression that when he gives up the ball on option plays, the defense isn’t allowed to hit him. But coach Mike Shanahan explained to him that if he is continuing to run as if he has the ball, the defense is allowed to tackle him as if he has the ball.
“I thought they were not legal hits but coach informed me that technically they can hit me,” Griffin said. “Even on keepers, they can hit you if you’re carrying out your fake. I didn’t know that so I guess I’ll be running with my arms up a lot more, letting them know, ‘Hey, I don’t have the ball. Please hit me if you want to get a 15-yard penalty.’”
Shanahan said he wants Griffin to learn when to get hit and when not to get hit.
“If you’re going to carry out your options at this level, they are going to smack you pretty good,” Shanahan said. “There were probably seven or eight hits in that game that he didn’t have to take at all. He’s going to get better and better at that. One thing we want to make sure of, is that he stays healthy. That’s one thing about the option, you have a chance, really, not to take a lot of hits. We looked at that film and we’ll see how it goes.”
The problem, however, is that the Redskins’ option plays won’t be as effective if Griffin isn’t making the defense think he still has the ball even after he hands off. So if the Redskins are going to keep running the option effectively, Griffin is going to keep taking hits. At least now he won’t complain about it.