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For Redskins, read-option could become cat-and-mouse proposition

Griffin Getty Images

As defenses throughout the league become obsessed with stopping the read-option offense in 2013, the coach of one of the teams that used it extensively (relatively speaking) in 2012 has a plan for countering efforts to shut it down.

Shut it down.

“You don’t have to run it,” Shanahan told Pro Football Talk on Wednesday, from the league meetings in Arizona.  “That’s the big factor that the offense has.  You may not run it one time in a game.  We got a base offense that we run you know with the spread option, the pistol, whatever you want to call it.  You know, that’s just one phase of what we do, so if they’re going to spend a lot of time stopping that, then we think our other offense will be able to be executed very well.”

Still, when quarterback Robert Griffin III opts to run, whether as part of the read-option attack or when he can’t find an open receiver down the field, Shanahan wants him to be more careful.

“You always want to keep your quarterback healthy,” Shanahan said.  “I think there’s such a learning curve from your first year to the second year.  Any time you do run the option, we believe that it takes a lot of pressure off that quarterback and slows down that pass rush.  In the open field you’ve got to slide, you’ve got to throw the football away.  So our priority is going to be protecting him, we’re going to learn from our experience from last year, but the great part about it not only can he run but he can sit back and drop back as well.  We may only run the option once or twice a game, we may run it 10 times a game, quarterback may run it twice but when he does we slide and we slide a lot sooner than we did a year ago.”

Many quarterbacks have professed in the offseason an intention to slide more when the games are played, but all too often the instinct to gain every available yard takes over.  So how will the Redskins change Griffin’s instincts?

“I think what you do is you go back and look at the film for this year,” Shanahan said.  “You take a look at every option play we ran, drop back play, when do you throw the football away, when do you slide.  But you know he’s such a competitive guy and you go from the collegiate level to the professional level you don’t realize the speed of these guys and he took a lot of unnecessary hits.  But he’ll look at film and protect himself and I think it will be a drastic change from one year to the next.”

Of course, before Griffin can slide, he needs to be able to play.  In order to play, he needs to recover from a torn ACL.

“He’s down there every day,” Shanahan said.  “He’s working six-to-eight hours a day.  You know, he’s a guy that does everything he possibly can to be the best player he can be, and if rehab has anything to do with it he should be ready to go. . . .  He’s so young, he’s so strong; you know, he’s very flexible.  He’s got unbelievable strength already and so if anybody can do it he can do it.”

For now, we believe Griffin will be able to recover from the torn ACL.  When it comes to changing the way he plays, however, history tells us that the spirit is willing but the flesh is stubborn.

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31 Responses to “For Redskins, read-option could become cat-and-mouse proposition”
  1. pittsburghsteelerz says: Mar 21, 2013 9:03 AM

    Sure, he was special at times last year, but he barely made it out alive between concussions and destroying his knee. One way or another, that won’t happen for the next 10 years.

    He needs to follow the path of D Rose, not AP. He should sit out the year if that’s what it takes.

  2. vikings1976 says: Mar 21, 2013 9:07 AM

    Shanahan…you ruined one of the most exciting rookies ever to play. The owner put in jeopardy the career of the current MVP of the league and RG III with his cheap field. Please just stop talking.

  3. stevenreichert says: Mar 21, 2013 9:09 AM

    “You always want to keep your quarterback healthy” . . . . ha ha ha ha

  4. jameswestphal says: Mar 21, 2013 9:09 AM

    Shannahan hung that kid out to dry and now he wants him to be careful?

  5. waitingguilty says: Mar 21, 2013 9:09 AM

    Isn’t the flesh/spirit thing supposed to be the other way around?

  6. lo6icalvoice says: Mar 21, 2013 9:14 AM

    Lucifer Shannahan just wanted to win, and knew he had Griffin in a bad spot but didnt want to sit the kid in his first playoff game.

    Now in hindsight, he realizes that was an awful decision and is trying to prevent him getting hurt in the future.

  7. n0hopeleft says: Mar 21, 2013 9:18 AM

    Damage control on Shannahan’s part… I’d expect what he did to his franchise player to happen with a rookie coach in High School, not an NFL coach. He should be ashamed. That knee will be a target for Bobbo’s entire career.

  8. jimmyt says: Mar 21, 2013 9:20 AM

    Feeling guilty a bit Shanny?

  9. jahbird says: Mar 21, 2013 9:21 AM

    The same cats hating on Shanahan now, would be the ones hating on him if he’d pulled RG3 and Capt. Kirk didn’t pull it out. You’re damned if you do, and damned if you don’t.

    For those of you who never read and simply react. Here is how it went down; RG3 told the coach he knew the difference between hurt and injured. He said he was only hurt, and not injured, and could play. Mike played him, as any coach would have after hearing that from the franchise player.

    RG3′s biggest issue is that he tries to do too much. This IS correctable, despite what PFT would have you believe.

    Those of you claiming the coach “ruined” his career don’t know jack about what happened, how it happened, or what the definition of ruined is.

  10. isonic1 says: Mar 21, 2013 9:25 AM

    Funny how everyone says rg3 should wait a season before coming back. It’s an acl tear!!! Players come back every season from this injury and not even qb’s. rg3 will be fine, he prob will be slow at first and not run as much. As mentioned in the article, they’ll run their base offense (same offense Cousins ran for 4 td’s vs Browns). I’ll take a gimpy rg3 over 80% qb’s in the nfl.

  11. abninf says: Mar 21, 2013 9:27 AM

    In more important news, when is Griffin going to get the Red***** racist name changed?

  12. fuglyflorio says: Mar 21, 2013 9:32 AM

    RG3 is finished. Deal Skins fans. Good thing you were all so obnoxious or we’d feel sorry for you.

  13. dalucks says: Mar 21, 2013 9:35 AM

    No one said that you have to run the read option 25 times a game with your quarterback getting 15 carries per game.
    Running it 10 times or less will be just as effective as long as you line up in the pistol formation and make the defense think about it.
    Learning how to avoid hits also helps.

  14. dallascowboysdishingthereal says: Mar 21, 2013 9:40 AM

    But when the QB starts playing to keep from getting hurt, that offense is not going to be nearly as effective as it was with him running like he did last year.

  15. manilarizzo says: Mar 21, 2013 9:56 AM

    All the people hating on Shanny hate on the skins anyway. Shanny didn’t put him in position to get hurt. Little Shanny runs the offense and you can bet little Shanny was telling him to get out of bounds, slide, throw the ball.

    Damage control, sure. But it’s also on Bob.

    Can’t wait for this season to get under way, and to see RG3 quickly re-establish himself as the REAL deal, arms, legs and all.

  16. larrydavid7000 says: Mar 21, 2013 10:01 AM

    To all you Morons that read this article first and comment on it. Are you all in 1st grade. The headline and majority of this article was about THE READ OPTION.!!!!! Like Shanahan stated it the Redskins don’t have to run this kind of offence. They are capable of running a regular pro style offence at any time during a game.They just choose to run this kind last year because everyone they played they just made their defense look SILLY try to stop a powerful offence. Do you really think that the Redskins coaching staff is going to sit back and do nothing at all to improve their offence???. If you do your as stupid as all the comments that were made pertaining to this article. Yes RGIII will be back and when he is whenever that is all I can say is that THE REDSKINS WILL UNLEASH HELL ON EVERYONE.!!!!!!!!

  17. trojanwarrior007 says: Mar 21, 2013 10:07 AM

    RG3 is made of glass. Defenses will just ignore the ball carrier and let RG3 run it and see how many hits he can take before breaking again.

  18. getyourownname says: Mar 21, 2013 10:11 AM

    Shanny critics are way off base.

    He said “YOU always want to keep your quarterback healthy.”

    He never said HE wanted to keep his QB healthy.

  19. bradx1975 says: Mar 21, 2013 10:24 AM

    Isn’t the main culprit whomever maintains the field? That place makes the old Vet look like a moon bounce.

  20. thirdistheworrd says: Mar 21, 2013 10:26 AM

    I can’t help but feel like nobody in the comments section actually read the article. It had nothing to do with Shanahan’s reputation or “damage control; and everything to do with Washington’s offensive system. The Redskins won four games last year without a single designed run or quarterback keeper on the option.

    The success of the read-option is based on the threat of the read-option, not necessarily running read-option plays.

    With increased focus on keeping Griffin safe, Shanahan’s whole point is that, like nuclear weapons, the read-option can be an effective and dangerous offensive threat without actually running those plays.

  21. onearmsteven says: Mar 21, 2013 10:28 AM

    Sure, he was special at times last year, but he barely made it out alive between concussions and destroying his knee. One way or another, that won’t happen for the next 10 years.

    He needs to follow the path of D Rose, not AP. He should sit out the year if that’s what it takes.

    concussions? plural? he missed a quarter and a half due to his one concussion. man you haters need to get your facts right.

  22. 106reasons says: Mar 21, 2013 10:35 AM

    A few facts:

    RG3′s knee was not injured running the spread option. It was injured when he scrambled on a pass play and went down before being hit (albeit head-first in a corkscrew fashion). Ngata’s 350 lbs crushed his leg as it was flying up.

    Shanahan played Griffin based on the advice of the consensus “best knee doctor in the world” – James Andrews.

    If you think A) that Griffin was injured because of the read option or B) that Shanahan didn’t care about the health of the man who controls his career — you need to take a break from the mainstream sports media we all know SUCK and stop listening to idiots like Steven A Smith, etc.

  23. aprilwalker2013 says: Mar 21, 2013 11:02 AM

    People who comment on this article should read it first! And why you reading anything about the Skins anyway? Maybe to hear what the Div Champs have in store for ya this year? Get ya some!! We will be ready! Haters!! HTTR

  24. whoisadamjones says: Mar 21, 2013 11:15 AM

    Just an opinion poll: no judgment one way or the other, but thumbs up if you want to see Robert Griffin come back and have a successful career; thumbs down if you don’t.

  25. jam11163 says: Mar 21, 2013 11:32 AM

    the skins need to draft 1 right knee, and 1 left knee. thier going to need them.

  26. greatestgamensports says: Mar 21, 2013 2:46 PM

    Redskins = LAME

  27. thirdistheworrd says: Mar 21, 2013 3:12 PM

    n0hopeleft says: Mar 21, 2013 9:18 AM

    Damage control on Shannahan’s part… I’d expect what he did to his franchise player to happen with a rookie coach in High School, not an NFL coach. He should be ashamed. That knee will be a target for Bobbo’s entire career.
    _________
    jameswestphal says: Mar 21, 2013 9:09 AM

    Shannahan hung that kid out to dry and now he wants him to be careful?
    __________
    vikings1976 says: Mar 21, 2013 9:07 AM

    Shanahan…you ruined one of the most exciting rookies ever to play. The owner put in jeopardy the career of the current MVP of the league and RG III with his cheap field. Please just stop talking.
    _________
    Maybe I’m the clueless one, but can someone please explain what Shanahan is supposed to do?

    He and Griffin (by insisting that he was healthy enough to play), made a mistake. They put Griffin’s health and career in danger. That’s a fact. That happened. So now Shanahan can’t talk about how to keep his quarterback healthy in the future?

    What exactly would you prefer him to do? Have the Third walk poorly secured tightropes for rehab? Take a Louisville slugger to Griffin’s knees and finish the job?

  28. skinsdiehard says: Mar 21, 2013 7:28 PM

    Goodness how mind numbing the haters are on this blog. They truly know nothing about football. The Skins had the 5th ranked offense last year with a rookie QB!! That’s good coaching. Shanahan is a good coach. Oh, and ACL’s no longer end careers. It’s amazing these fans don’t know that.

  29. skinsdiehard says: Mar 21, 2013 7:35 PM

    dallascowboysdishingthereal says:
    Mar 21, 2013 9:40 AM
    But when the QB starts playing to keep from getting hurt, that offense is not going to be nearly as effective as it was with him running like he did last year.
    ——————————————-
    You hope. Keep telling yourself that, then wake up to our 10 consecutive division championships. Just wait and see how effective it is again as you finish in 4th place.

  30. dallascowboysdishingthereal says: Mar 21, 2013 7:56 PM

    @skinsdiehard (blowzRG)

    And you just keep telling yourself RG and his glass knee are going to be OK running around against NFL defenses. 10 consecutive championships?? You really are the poster child for delusional.

  31. rg3skinsgetsome says: Mar 24, 2013 5:49 PM

    And yes I’m talking dware.. check youtube and you will see what I’m talking about..one leg no legs you still lost…and hey we also have cuzins son son..

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