Redskins coach Mike Shanahan, who recently found himself the target (again) of media scrutiny for comments regarding rehabbing franchise quarterback Robert Griffin III, thinks the read-option offense, which often leaves RG3 exposed to big hits, also offers the best protection.
"When most people take a look and they take a look at Robert, they're thinking, ‘Oh, you can't run the option,' ” Shanahan said. “People don't realize that the option protects the quarterback. The thing I have to get with Robert is when to slide, when not to take a hit. These quarterbacks are so competitive but they don't realize sometimes how valuable they are to your franchise.”
And perhaps that reasoning is true. But team radio analyst and former 'Skins quarterback Sonny Jurgensen has a simple message for Griffin: "Quit running."
“As a quarterback, you make your living throwing the football," Jurgensen said during a recent interview (via Sports Bog). "If you make your living running the football, you're gonna play 10 games a year. Quit running. Run when necessary; get out of bounds.
“I mean, we're seeing that from a lot of the offenses, a change of offenses,” he continued. “You saw it in Seattle, you saw it with San Francisco. You know, it's a read-option offense, it's a college offense that pro coaches haven't figured out how to stop yet. They will make adjustments, they'll learn how to stop it, and then it's gonna be very dangerous to do that, because you can spend more time on the bench than you do on the field.
“And that's one of the things you have to be concerned about,” Jurgensen said. “And I think that's one of the things the Redskins are concerned about, that's one of the things that Robert Griffin is concerned about. They all are. You know, you want to stay on the field and be healthy, and he can do that, but they're gonna have to. … I mean, everything we've read, that I've read, about the adjustments they're gonna make and how they're gonna handle it, it's gonna be less running.”
And that's the thing: how will the Redskins' offense adjust once the rest of the league solves the read option? Because Shanahan's legacy in Washington is inextricably tied to Griffin, and the math is pretty simple: If RG3 stays healthy, the Redskins are a competitive team capable of making the playoffs. If he's injured -- whether due to hasty coaching decisions or dumb luck -- Washington is a six-win outfit.
As for what 2013 has in store for the Redskins, Jurgensen doesn't have a clue.
“Who knows?” he said. “You can't tell. I mean, they could go to the Super Bowl, or they may not win the division. How can you predict who's gonna be healthy, who's gonna finish the year, who's gonna start the year? You don't know. You've just got to have things bounce the right way, as they did last year for them.”
Until RG3 got hurt, anyway.