When Washington quarterback Robert Griffin III steps out of bounds at the end of a run, he tries to time it so that he’ll get hit a split second too late, incurring a 15-yard penalty on the defense.
That’s the word from John Keim of ESPN.com, who quotes Griffin as saying there are times he tries to draw a penalty on players as he runs to the sideline.
So far, the tactic apparently hasn’t worked. The Cowboys got two personal fouls for hits on Griffin on Sunday, but Griffin said that wasn’t his intention on either of those two plays. Griffin also said he tried to bait Lions defensive back Rashean Mathis into such a penalty in Week Three, but Mathis knew exactly what Griffin was doing and told Griffin it wasn’t going to work.
“He’s a smart player; he didn’t hit me,” Griffin said of Mathis. “I kind of stopped well inside in bounds to try to get him to hit me and he didn’t. He said, ‘I’m not taking that penalty, Griff.’ I said, ‘I got you, man.’”
Still, Griffin said that if he can get inside defensive players’ heads, there might be opportunities for him to turn upfield at the sideline instead of going out of bounds and run right past a defensive player who has started to slow down.
“There will be situations, and that’s why guys don’t want to pull up,” Griffin said. “It’s happened in the past with Michael Vick or someone like that who has run to the sidelines, stopped and then gotten 20 more yards because the guy runs out of bounds trying not to hit the quarterback.”
The question, however, is whether Griffin is putting himself at risk when he does that: Griffin might cut it too close some time and end up with a tackler drilling him at the sideline when he could have run out of bounds safely. The risk of another knee injury isn’t worth the reward of 15 yards.