Washington Redskins’ offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan met with reporters after the team’s practice Wednesday. Predictably, the subject on everyone’s mind was the offensive scheme, and whether there were any changes in store after quarterback Robert Griffin III’s knee injury.
Generally speaking, no, according to Shanahan. The architect of Washington’s offense indicated that the read-option and pistol formation, which possess the threat of Griffin running, creates tremendous problems for the defense. Shanahan also noted that Griffin’s injuries in 2012 came on “pass plays,” in which the quarterback attempted to improvise. The inference, of course, is there are no plans to change.
If anything, Shanahan believes the read-option protects Griffin, as it limits “guys just teeing off on the quarterback, all trying to hit him in the pocket.”
In fairness, this isn’t exactly a new information, as both Kyle and his father head coach Mike Shanahan have consistently maintained this position. Last year, when the subject of Griffin taking a lot of hits was raised, Mike Shanahan noted that the kind of hits Griffin was subject to running the ball were not as harmful as if he were standing in the pocket. While I am personally somewhat skeptical, both coaches have repeatedly and consistently maintained this position, reminding everyone that Griffin running is an “option,” in which he makes the read.
In other words, according to the Mike and Kyle Shanahan, the Redskins are not calling Griffin’s number over and over, recklessly exposing him to unnecessary hits. They are merely giving the quarterback the option to run if he sees fit. Kyle Shanahan also noted yesterday that Griffin “will learn to protect himself better by sliding at the end of runs and by throwing the ball away when under pressure.”
And if I’m reading that correctly, a large part of protecting the quarterback in this offense, is the responsibility of well, the quarterback. In short, the Shanahans are expecting Griffin to improve his decisions when outside the pocket. Kyle Shanahan simply reiterated the words of his father, albeit in a much more tactful, polite tone.
Still, what would have been intriguing is something of a follow up question regarding not the actual scheme itself, rather the wisdom of it. In other words, after what we saw last season is it wise and prudent putting that level of responsibility on a young, precocious Griffin. Yes, does Shanahan really believe his young quarterback has the wherewithal to make prudent decisions at game speed?
Granted, Shanahan may not have answered the question with total transparency. However, it would have been interesting to see his response.
Nevertheless, whether Kyle and his father’s handling of Griffin is wise, remains to be seen. Still, we were reminded Wednesday there are no plans to change.