Redskins offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan defended the team’s use of Robert Griffin III last season, saying their quarterback was actually at greater risk on passing plays than runs.
As a result, he said there’s no need to take away the option elements of the offense.
“He stayed healthy last year running the zone-read,” Shanahan said, via Mark Maske of the Washington Post. “So I feel pretty good about that. You really hope no one gets hurt. It’s hard to control injuries, . . .
“When you do the zone-read, everyone [on the opposing defense] is accounted for. There’s not many free hitters in it.”
Griffin’s still recovering from reconstructive knee surgery after last year’s playoff loss, but every expectation is that his return is on target.
And it appears the Redskins aren’t so concerned about his health that they’re changing the way they’re doing business.
Shanahan said he was alarmed at times by the lack of pass-rush the Redskins saw, and that the key this year would be to get Griffin to slide more often or throw the ball away when scrambling.
“It’s the least pass rush I’ve ever seen as a coordinator—guys just sitting there scared to death, just watching everybody, not moving,” Shanahan said.
Shanahan also said that RG3 should become more conservative as he gets older, as most quarterbacks learn to do.
“It’s not just Robert. I think it’s every quarterback who’s ever played the game,” he said. “A guy’s got to get used to sliding, knowing when to fight for yards, when not to fight for yards. I think it’s harder for guys their rookie years because the speed of the game’s a lot different. Where you used to have a little more time to slide, now people get up on you a little quick. And when someone gets up on you quick and you slide at the last second, that’s when you get hit under the chin and stuff. You’ve got to slide early, anticipate things.
“I think a lot of rookie quarterbacks, it takes time to get that feel and they learn through experience. And I think Robert had a lot of experience last year, and I think he’ll definitely be better from that. And we’ll keep harping on it, and I think it will come natural for him.”
At least, as soon as he’s able to get back on the field and follow orders.
While there’s little doubt Griffin’s explosive ability in the open field can give defenders pause, it also seems apparent that the more times you put him in a vulnerable space, the more likely he is to get whacked.
It’s a risk the Redskins seem comfortable with at the moment, as Griffin watches and waits to get better.