Kyle Shanahan talks about protecting RG3
By Tarik El-Bashir and Rich Tandler
Countdown to kickoff question 2: Will the Redskins use Robert Griffin III differently?
Robert Griffin III is back. So is Brian Orakpo. In all, the Redskins retained 21 of the 22 starters who led them to the NFC East title in 2012. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t any potential pitfalls as the new season approaches – because there are. Over the next week, Redskins Insiders Rich Tandler and Tarik El-Bashir will identify and examine seven areas of concern going forward.
One of the most discussed topics entering the NFL season has been whether RG3 will run less and pass more in 2013, given that the Redskins’ quarterback is coming off a second ACL surgery on the same knee in four years. As a rookie, he led all quarterbacks in rushing yards (815) and was second in carries (120), while ranking only 25th in pass attempts. What are those numbers going to look like 17 weeks from now? Everyone’s dying to find out.
EL-Bashir: A lot has been a lot said on this subject over the past eight months. But I always go back to a couple of interviews in late May. RG3’s father told The Washington Post’s Dave Sheinin, “I just know that based on what I know Robert can do, he doesn’t have to be a runner as much as I saw last year. …I’m his dad—I want him throwing that football, a lot. A lot.” A day later, RG3 responded with a cautiously worded “It’s not something I agree or disagree with …” If you read between the lines, it’s pretty clear that the Griffins don’t want him to carry the ball 120 times in 2013. And I also think the Shanahans are shrewd enough to acknowledge the Griffins’ wishes, find a happy medium and still win football games. I’ve said all along that I don’t expect the Redskins to completely revamp their offense. RG3 will still run the ball, just not as much. In fact, I'd be surprised if Griffin’s rushing numbers approach half of his 2012 totals. I'll also be shocked if his pass attempts aren't closer to middle of the pack.
Tandler: The Redskins led the NFL in yards per play and in rushing yards so you wouldn’t think that Mike and Kyle Shanahan would be inclined to reinvent the wheel here. But what if they need to keep the car from crashing and the driver from getting hurt? Both Shanahans say that the read option is the best option for keeping RG3 safe. They also both say that Griffin needs to make sure that he protects himself by going out of bounds and sliding. So, just copy and paste the 2012 playbook to 2013, right? Not necessarily. Even if RG3 had remained healthy and upright all year Mike and Kyle would still have to deal with other teams spending their offseasons picking apart the Pistol formation and read option to find weaknesses to exploit. They will see different schemes and tactics against them so they will have to alter the Redskins’ approach as well. What that means exactly for RG3 remains to be seen. The best guess is that we will see some new wrinkles but the basic concept of the offense operating out of the Pistol formation with a liberal dose of read option plays is not going to change.
Countdown to Kickoff
- Question 7: Is offensive line depth a concern?
- Question 6: Are the Redskins better at safety with Rambo and Meriweather?
- Question 5: Can defenses stop the Redskins’ read option
- Question 4: Can Orakpo help make the Redskins pass rush a disruptive force?
- Question 3: Can Garçon be a 1,000-yard receiver?
- Question 1 Monday: Is RG3 100 percent?