Normally a coach doesn’t want to see his quarterback get sacked or watch his runner get thrown for a loss or see a receiver come up just short of the sticks on a second-down pass. But perhaps Jay Gruden would like to see those things happen during the 15 or so plays the Redskins’ first team offense will be in the game.
While fans would like to see Robert Griffin III and company hum along and roll down the field to a couple of scores, things aren’t like that in the course of 16 regular season games. There are bumps in the road and Gruden would like to see the Redskins deal with second or third and long or third and short when the games don’t count to see how they handle it.
“If certain situations come up, we’ve got to handle them – third-and-long, third-and-short, whatever they might be, red zone, goal line short yardage. All those are very important for us to try to get a test on moving forward to the regular season, but if they don’t come up, they don’t come up. Hopefully we’ll get him in the third game, but we’re getting a lot of them out here at practice. We had a lot of those situations come up today [in practice]. In the game with the substitutions, snap count like I said yesterday, all those things are very important for the flow of the offense and hopefully we’ll get a lot of good looks from Cleveland and Robert will get some challenging plays. I know he will.”
As Gruden noted, the team makes mock runs on handling these situations during practice and they did so all during training camp. Situational football was one of the points of emphasis during the Redskins’ three days of joint practices with the Patriots last week. But it’s different with a play clock ticking, a team that will hit you and hit you hard on the other side of the ball, and tens of thousands of fans in the stands.