How to Work Robert Griffin III Into the Redskins’ Offense


Sep 14, 2014; Landover, MD, USA; Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III (10) throws the ball against the Jacksonville Jaguars in the first quarter at FedEx Field. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

According to multiple media outlets, Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III is slated to start in Sunday’s 1 p.m. match-up with the Minnesota Vikings.

It will be exactly seven weeks since Griffin dislocated his left ankle in the team’s second game of the season against the Jacksonville Jaguars. With almost two months of no in-game action, what kind of performance can we expect from the QB? Will he play the game manager role much like he did against the Houston Texans in Week 1? Or  will he look more like the fearless, dynamic threat nicknamed RG3 that quickly earned him the affection of the fan base?

Griffin’s performance in the first game of the season was highly debated. At quick glance, his stats looked terrific completing 29-of-37 of his passes with a .784 completion percentage, a quarterback rating of 96.7, and zero turnovers.  Yet, he only threw for 267 yards with an average of 7.2 yards per pass.

If you were watching the game, you saw that many of his throws were to receivers that ran screens and other short routes. Not once did he take a big shot down field. Whether this type of game plan was his doing or the coaching staff’s, it caused many people to scratch their heads and wonder: WHERE IS RG3?!

Then, what everyone had been waiting for finally happened. On the first play against against the Jaguars in Week 2, Griffin snapped the ball in shotgun formation and took off for a 12-yard keeper on the right side. Two plays later, he launched a deep pass to DeSean Jackson. The play was later ruled incomplete (arguably) but it didn’t stop the crowd from chanting “R-G-3!”

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Though it was a small sample size, it looked like the confident and athletic Griffin had finally returned.

Unfortunately, a bizarre ankle injury that happened on the next drive prevented that thought from coming to fruition. Seven weeks later we get to see if those few minutes were a true indication of how he is going to operate moving forward.

Redskins’ coach Jay Gruden made it clear that the team would wait until Griffin was fully healthy before sending him back out there on the field. If he is indeed 100 percent healthy, we should expect to see the dynamic threat that this team has been accustomed to. There will be rust to brush off. It is unavoidable when you miss that much time. But it will naturally fade if he can get into a groove.

The best way to do that, is to let him be himself and do what he does best with no restraints. That means there needs to be a sprinkle of read option, and early. It would not be shocking to see a read-option play right off the bat just like in his last start. Not only would it instill a little bit of confidence in the QB, but also in the coaches.

If he is able to show he still has the versatility and speed he did in Week 2, the defense will be forced to stand on its heels, causing the domino effect he created in his 2012 rookie campaign: open running lanes and receivers getting free.

With the huge win against the rival Dallas Cowboys on Monday night, the Redskins’ postseason hopes can still be achieved. However, the return of the once electrifying player and more importantly his ability to stay healthy remain the biggest concern around Washington.

Only time will tell for the remainder of the season and it starts this weekend.