During Sunday’s loss to the Steelers, the Redskins ran a trick play on which quarterback Robert Griffin III tossed the ball to receiver Josh Morgan, then ran a pass route and had Morgan throw it back to him. It did not go well.
Griffin didn’t make the catch but did take a hard hit from Steelers safety Ryan Clark, and to add insult to injury Griffin was flagged for offensive pass interference on the play. So why, when the Redskins have been emphasizing the importance of protecting Griffin from taking too many hits, would they run a play where he’s reaching out for a pass and exposing himself to a shot from a defensive back?
Shanahan said today that he doesn’t have a good answer to that question, other than it probably wasn’t very smart.
“After looking at that play, you feel like a complete dumb sh-t because you want him to be wide open,” Shanahan said.
Shanahan noted that he has coached other athletic quarterbacks who caught passes on trick plays, including John Elway and Steve Young. But Shanahan said the play is designed to go to the quarterback only if he’s wide open, not if he’s in traffic.
“I’ve run that play probably 10, 15 times with Elway, probably 20 times or more with Steve Young, and with Robert, what you usually do is against the right defense – which is man coverage – no one usually accounts for the quarterback and he’s by himself out there,” Shanahan said.
But Griffin wasn’t by himself, and exposing him to a hit from Clark wasn’t smart.