Robert Griffin III Ready To Run
The quarterback has proclaimed in recent days a need to spur his teammates to better performances, and he slyly suggested Wednesday he might be able to do so by running.
BY ZAC BOYER
ASHBURN – Understanding full well that the Redskins’ offense needs something to get it going, Robert Griffin III coolly offered a solution on Wednesday.
“I can run more,” the quarterback suggested, a hint of a grin sneaking across his face. “Whatever it takes to get that energy, I’ll do it.”
The quarterback who set a league record for rushing yards by a rookie quarterback last season has so far been held in check on the ground, gaining only 25 yards on nine carries over the first two games – both losses.
Poor starts have doomed the Redskins first in their season-opening loss to the Eagles on Sept. 9, then a road loss to the Packers on Sunday. Griffin and Mike Shanahan have both insisted that the quick deficits, and not any concerns about Griffin’s health, have steered them away from the run game – especially the zone-read option.
“I’ve seen in practice that he’s got some pretty good speed,” Shanahan said. “Is it the same speed that it was before? I can’t tell you that, but I do know it’s a much different game you get behind by 20, 30 points.”
Washington has given defenses only 15 zone-read looks in its first two games, with running back Alfred Morris taking the ball five times. The other 10 plays have been play-action throws; Griffin’s carries have come solely on scrambles and broken plays.
Receiver Pierre Garçon suggested Wednesday that Griffin isn’t running more because of the brace that protects his right knee. Griffin said the brace, which weighs just about a pound and is made of carbon fiber, isn’t at all a factor and pointed to some of the runs he has made as proof.
“It doesn’t affect his ability to win games or not,” Garçon said. “He’s the quarterback. He uses his arms more than his legs, but that’s what makes him special is his legs.”
By not fearing Griffin running the ball, opposing defenses have had an easier time shutting down the pass. The threat that the quarterback would take off and gain chunks of yardage had many defenses sitting back last season and reacting; now, assuming Griffin won’t have the same mobility as he did before surgery on his right knee, they haven’t had to respect that threat.
They’ve also chosen to blitz Griffin much more than in past years. On one play late in the first quarter against the Packers, Griffin faced pressure from the inside, forcing him to make a quick throw to Garçon. The pass fell incomplete, as Garçon slipped coming out of his break on a curl route.
The Redskins were outscored by 24 points in the first half Sunday, which forced them to throw the ball in an attempt to catch up.
“If you would have told anybody we would have thrown the ball 49 and 40 times the first two games, they would have thought you were stupid,” Griffin said. “It’s not that I want to run more. I just feel like that’s what we need, and if that’s what it takes for us to win games, then I’m willing to do that.”