ASHBURN, Va. — The Washington Redskins have no plans to change their offense despite Robert Griffin III’s surgically repaired right knee that kept the quarterback out all spring and might keep him sidelined through the start of training camp on July 25.
“The zone read is something I feel in the long run helps a quarterback,” offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan said Wednesday after the Redskins’ final practice before training camp. “Everyone’s accounted for and there aren’t many free hitters. The whole key to the zone read is just the threat of the zone read. If you’re not honoring it, you’re usually going to get 15 yards before contact.
“It was the least pass rush I’ve ever seen as a coordinator. (Defenses were) just sitting there just scared to death, just watching and not moving. ”
Shanahan noted that Griffin’s three injuries last year — a concussion against Atlanta , the right knee against Baltimore and again in the playoff loss to Seattle — came on pass plays not on quarterback runs.
“The threat of Robert running was the thing I enjoyed the most throughout the year,” Shanahan said. “About halfway through the year, I realized we’re not getting any of these blitzes that I used to see. The threat of a quarterback running makes (defenses) play 11 on 11 as opposed to 11 on 10 like they’ve been doing my whole career.”
Shanahan maintained that he’s not tied to any particular scheme.
“Everybody in the league runs pretty close to the same plays and it’s just when you call those plays, how do you call those plays versus what coverages,” he said. “I don’t plan on having an exact system the rest of my career. The job of a coordinator isn’t to reinvent the wheel. It’s to try to figure out the best way to put these talented players in a situation that they can be successful.”
Griffin, the second overall pick in the 2012 draft, was so successful that he led Washington to its first NFC East title in 13 years and its first playoff spot in five while setting rookie quarterback records for passer rating and rushing yards.
Shanahan believes that Griffin will be smarter about sliding and throwing passes away than he was as a rookie.
Griffin has to “get used to sliding, knowing when to fight for yards, when not to fight for yards,” Shanahan said. “I think it’s harder for guys their rookie years because the speed of the game is a lot different. People get up on you a little (quicker). You gotta slide early and anticipate things. In college, he would just outrun (defenders). Most quarterbacks have been throwing the ball away since high school. Robert’s just starting to do it.”
As for Griffin’s ongoing absence, Shanahan’s said what is “frustrating is you know you’re going to eventually play with him and you’d like to work with him and practice with him, but you can’t do that. It’s part of the injury. You just gotta wait and be patient and get ready (for) when he comes back.”
Notes: Although Adam Carriker hasn’t been on the field since he tore his right quadricep last Sept. 16 and has had two surgeries. Defensive coordinator Jim Haslett said Carriker will be back at some point. “He’s one of the hardest working guys on the team. The one you don’t want to say, ‘this guy won’t make it back,’ don’t say that about Adam.” … Haslett said he can definitely envision one of the rookie safeties, fourth-round draft pick Phillip Thomas or sixth-rounder Baccari Rambo, starting but that everything at the position depends on the health of veteran Brandon Meriweather, who missed all but one game in 2012 with a series of right knee injuries. … Reserve defensive end Doug Worthington injured a biceps on Tuesday and might need surgery. Coach Mike Shanahan said that safety Jordan Bernstine, who injured his right knee in the 2012 opener, might not be ready for the start of training camp on July 25.
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