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Kyle Shanahan says RG3 was safer running zone-read

Kyle Shanahan AP

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.

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37 Responses to “Kyle Shanahan says RG3 was safer running zone-read”
  1. duncanthecat says: Jun 12, 2013 3:43 PM

    I Agree.

  2. bucrightoff says: Jun 12, 2013 3:46 PM

    So when the Shanahan’s are finished ruining RGIII’s career in another 18-24 month, can he sue them for damages for lost income?

  3. jayovalentine says: Jun 12, 2013 3:47 PM

    He didnt get hurt running the zone read when Ngata almost tore his leg off… that was a play that broke down. Come on now “computer chair experts” & haters with the lame RGKnee & IR3 comments. STILL NFL Rookie of the year & NFC East champion. #HTTR ! #ChewThat

  4. peytonsneck18 says: Jun 12, 2013 3:52 PM

    without the option, IRG3 is just another akili smith jr.

  5. nineroutsider says: Jun 12, 2013 3:53 PM

    The way they used RG3 wasn’t really the problem; any QB can suffer the type of injury he suffered in the pocket. However, once he re-injured the knee against the Hawks, Shanny made him go back out there (or let him) and I have a problem with that. Maybe try coaching him like he’s the franchise QB that he is. They can call the same plays, just don’t be so reckless with him after he gets injured. Kirk cousins can play too.

  6. bighoser says: Jun 12, 2013 3:54 PM

    Great plan! That is, as long as Skeletor doesn’t insist on letting RGIII trot out there when it’s OBVIOUS to everyone watching that he’s hurting (including the opponent’s defense).

  7. knowledge743 says: Jun 12, 2013 3:54 PM

    Rg3 is a smart runner .. injuries happen.
    Leaving him in that playoff game was the mistake

  8. captainwisdom8888 says: Jun 12, 2013 3:54 PM

    Griffin has that “do whatever it takes to win” type of attitude, and he probably felt an enormous weight on his shoulders to have to be the guy that carries the Redskins to success. He put his body on the line and made many weekly sacrifices, all in an effort to give his fellow teammates a taste of victory. He is a rare and epic talent at the QB position, and he’ll come to learn that fighting for an extra 2 yards on 1 particular play in Week 6 isn’t as important as preserving himself for the long-haul.

  9. bugorfeature says: Jun 12, 2013 3:55 PM

    RGB needs to be smart enough to not play hurt when it affects his play. In that playoff game against Seattle he was hurt and not playing well.

  10. iceburgskin202 says: Jun 12, 2013 3:56 PM

    While it is true that the concussion and knee injury occurred on uncalled runs ( he needs to slide get out of bounds) I still think that this isn’t a stance to take. If he is to be here more than a couple of years then he needs to be protected and that starts with RG3 first but the coaching staff has to bear a lot of the responsibility. HTTS!!!

  11. justintuckrule says: Jun 12, 2013 3:59 PM

    Those Shanahans are never wrong. That’s why Eli, Peyton, Favre played a million games in a row. Because running is so much safer than passing. No wonder nobody takes that franchise seriously.

  12. seaeagle707 says: Jun 12, 2013 4:03 PM

    Hey Kyle, its safer still if he stays home and watches the game on TV. There’s no accounting for a player’s every move, and certainly you want them to be as “safe” as possible,,, but there are simply too many variables in every second of every game, to keep anyone injury-free, if they move around a lot. From what little I’ve seen of RGIII, I would not dare to claim to be an expert on his physical strengths and weaknesses, but I have noticed that his lower legs are quite thin. It makes me wonder if they might not be candidates for problems that are developed by torsional stresses on the bones?

    Just thinking aloud…..

  13. whereyaat says: Jun 12, 2013 4:07 PM

    Their argument is irrefutable, if you have perfect execution and superior blockers. Getting that to actually happen is a different story.

  14. speters0630 says: Jun 12, 2013 4:08 PM

    RG3 has a terrific, and very accurate arm. Something overlooked is that he was in the top 3 -4 in yards per attempt/completion. Its a misconception that he was hurt while running read-options and that he just tossed dump-down passes. Ask the Giants…. he changed their attitude Big Time.

  15. 106reasons says: Jun 12, 2013 4:08 PM

    Was Robert injured running the option?

    …nope.

    He was injured on a scrambling play. So unless you’re going to say he should stop scrambling and stand like a statue in the pocket, don’t open your mouth to say the Redskins “don’t care” about him or “shouldn’t run the read option.”

    There have also been studies done in college (where the read option is far more prevalent) to see if it increases the likelihood of a QB being injured. Guess what?…it doesn’t. At all. Read option QBs actually got injured LESS than less-athletic QBs.

    Interesting, no?

  16. twilson962 says: Jun 12, 2013 4:12 PM

    ****facepalm**** SMH…. ****double facepalm****

  17. logicaillvoicesays says: Jun 12, 2013 4:14 PM

    RG3 has a terrific , and very accurate arm. LMAO.
    Ive heard it all now. I am a die hard skins fan,watched every game, but lets be realistic.

    #thirdbest#draftclass

  18. wickerskin says: Jun 12, 2013 4:16 PM

    i doubt there’s ever been a player for whom so many people are rooting for an injury.

  19. leggett17 says: Jun 12, 2013 4:17 PM

    Two major knee injuries – concussion prone – way over-hyped due to certain social factors. You guys and ESPN can say what you like, give me Luck or Wilson any day.

  20. gsr1191 says: Jun 12, 2013 4:19 PM

    I forget which show i was watching but they were breaking down when RG3 takes the most hits. And apparently based off the film they watched RG3 was barely ever touched when he ran the zone read and had the best pocket to throw out of . It was the triple option that he got hit on a lot (which they stopped running). But he took by far the most hits on pure pass plays when the pocket broke down and he just took off.

  21. thirdistheworrd says: Jun 12, 2013 4:26 PM

    nineroutsider says: Jun 12, 2013 3:53 PM

    The way they used RG3 wasn’t really the problem; any QB can suffer the type of injury he suffered in the pocket. However, once he re-injured the knee against the Hawks, Shanny made him go back out there (or let him) and I have a problem with that. Maybe try coaching him like he’s the franchise QB that he is. They can call the same plays, just don’t be so reckless with him after he gets injured. Kirk cousins can play too.
    _________________
    I totally agree with your assessment, however the problem is that the playoff game was a damned if you/damned if you don’t situation. Griffin should have taken himself out of the game; however, if he had, we would be talking about Griffin’s cowardice and lack of leadership today, rather than his injured knee.

    Instead of wondering whether the Shanahans will treat him like the franchise QB he is, we would be wondering if he had the guts and moxie to be a franchise QB at all.

    Point is, what happened in January was an unfortunate situation and it was handled badly, but there was no positive outcome possible. If you’re going to look for a reason to say “this coach is bad”, or “this player is bad”, you will always find one; the question is, why are you looking?

  22. peytonsneck18 says: Jun 12, 2013 4:36 PM

    Luck > IRG3

  23. thirdistheworrd says: Jun 12, 2013 4:37 PM

    speters0630 says: Jun 12, 2013 4:08 PM

    RG3 has a terrific, and very accurate arm. Something overlooked is that he was in the top 3 -4 in yards per attempt/completion.
    __________
    Try #1 (of starting quarterbacks) in yards per completion, #3 (of starting QBs) in passer rating, and #4 (ditto) in completion percentage. And all without his his top two receiving threats for the majority of the season.

    He will always be a scrambling, Shanahan-style quarterback, but the idea that he can’t play without the option or zone-read plays is just nonsensical.

  24. hailvictory10 says: Jun 12, 2013 4:42 PM

    WHY are people rooting for RG3 to be hurt or injured??

    Some of you guys on here are just brutal. NEVER root for anyone to get hurt. It’s just lame.

    Stay classy

  25. thirdistheworrd says: Jun 12, 2013 4:53 PM

    From what little I’ve seen of RGIII, I would not dare to claim to be an expert on his physical strengths and weaknesses, but I have noticed that his lower legs are quite thin. It makes me wonder if they might not be candidates for problems that are developed by torsional stresses on the bones?
    _______________
    First off, you have to keep in mind that Griffin is an olympic-caliber hurdler, so however his legs may appear, they probably hold up better than you would think. Secondly, they are the same size as Rodgers’, Romo’s, or any other QB of similar build, who are also scrambling quarterbacks.

    Most importantly, it wouldn’t matter if his legs were built like tree trunks, NFL players are big and if someone hits any NFL quarterback in the leg while it’s planted, there are going to be torsion problems.

    Lastly, torsion issues would only matter in regards to the knee joint, not the bones– if Griffin doesn’t have tibia problems already, he’s not going to develop them now.

  26. thefiesty1 says: Jun 12, 2013 5:06 PM

    Short career predicted for RG3.

  27. anarchopurplism says: Jun 12, 2013 6:51 PM

    Run Bob, Run!

  28. pixelito says: Jun 12, 2013 6:54 PM

    RGIII could’ve been great… We will never know.

  29. raider1so1penalize1me says: Jun 12, 2013 7:43 PM

    I don’t care what play he got hurt on you can’t convince me that him rushing the football doesn’t make him at greater risk to get hurt. That is his style of play and you need to let him go out and utilize his skills but the guy is gonna get hurt and isn’t gonna last like a manning or Brady

  30. thedudeabides422 says: Jun 12, 2013 8:29 PM

    78% of plays were out of the cap gun offense. The league will catch up to this gimmick just like the wildcat. Then well see the transformation to another Tebow/V Young QB.

  31. lakermetskins says: Jun 12, 2013 9:07 PM

    Again, If people watched the games they would understand why the skins used the read option- mainly to slow the pass rush.

    When the skins were losing last year, RG3 was under siege while simple drop back passing. The oline, outside of the left tackle, is light and basically a bunch of retreads who fit well with the zone blocking scheme.

    I’d rather see RG3 outside the pocket when he can decide his fate (get down or throw away) until we can afford better lineman who can man block for him. As Shanahan said, the read option had defenses scared to rush. Stop blaming the Shanahans for RG3 not getting down when needed.

  32. smalltownqb says: Jun 12, 2013 9:18 PM

    Playoff Wins

    Tebow 1
    RG3 0

  33. dartwick says: Jun 12, 2013 9:26 PM

    I dont think it matters what type of plays they use – RG3 is going to get hurt.

    Thats what eventually happens when a fast QB cant resist using his jets.

  34. lakermetskins says: Jun 12, 2013 9:48 PM

    78% of plays were out of the cap gun offense. The league will catch up to this gimmick just like the wildcat. Then well see the transformation to another Tebow/V Young QB.
    ———————————————————-
    I hate this comparison between the pistol and the wildcat.

    First off, the wildcat has no good options for passing as the ball carrier is usually a RB or Tebow type guy who’s not proficient at it. The pistol with RG3, Kaepernick, or Russ Wilson give a serious added element that works because defenses have to account for the qb running and passing and it now becomes 11 on 11 game. Neither Tebow nor VY can do this successfully. Defenses must account for this element pre snap, which takes away from the natural 11 on 10 edge the defense had. Just by the numbers, the pistol will be successful.

    There is no way for DE or OLB to strictly pass rush without taking themselves out of position. They cannot rush hard on the edge, play the run, and play the option all in one. The pistol takes advantage of this. Many times, they are left unblocked with nothing to do but look silly.

    The pistol takes the aggression out of the defense and ball handling is very underrated. Between the run-fakes, play-option run- passing, the defense is kept on their heels. Very hard to attack when you don’t know where the ball is or going.

    Finally, Seattle, Washington, and San Fran had Skittles, The Butler, and Frank Gore rushing the ball- all tough runners who are hard to tackle. The scheme needs good runners and decent blocking schemes to take advantage of defenses trying to stop the QB.

    At its best, the pistol should work-albeit the qb must take care of himself. It just takes a special QB with a unique set of skills to execute it.

  35. drjoemck says: Jun 12, 2013 10:18 PM

    I hope for Griffin’s sake that Shannahan doesn’t believe all the bull that just came out of his mouth. Most egregious of which is neglecting the fact that in a zone-read play, sometimes it will be Griffin who is accounting foe the DE.

  36. skinsfan91 says: Jun 12, 2013 11:55 PM

    If Griffin can’t out run a DE then the world has gone crazy. facepalm on you fools.

  37. deshackle says: Jun 13, 2013 10:28 AM

    In the pocket making quick reads and decisions is the best option for an NFL quarterback, not the option-read. RG3 is not the first quarterback we’ve seen with great running abilities. Randall Cunningham and Mike Vick immediately come to mind for me.

    Call it what you will, RG3 didn’t last one season with the style of play master Kyle is defining. And, for the record, he got hurt in the Baltimore game. Redskins must be planning quarterback by committee; I see where they signed Pat White in the off season.

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