WASHINGTON (CBSDC) - Rookies Robert Griffin III and Alfred Morris took the NFL by surprise last season with their formidable zone-read combination, propelling the Redskins to their first NFC East championship in thirteen years.
But just as the duo captured the attention of the league with their offensive diversionary tactics, the same audience now anxiously awaits the response of opposing defenses which have had an entire offseason to prepare for year two of the Griffin-Morris dual threat.
Roman Oben, a 12-year NFL veteran and current NFL analyst for MSG Network, seems to think that’s plenty of time for the Giants and Cowboys to develop countermeasures, and for one of them to reclaim the division crown.
“I think it’s still the Giants’ and Cowboys’ division just because I don’t think the Redskins will be as good as last year,” Oben told Chad Dukes and Grant Paulsen on Washington Football Tonight.
“It’s not like the old days when Michael Vick came out and it took you four or five years before you caught up with him,” Oben said. “I think defenses are better, defenses are faster, you’ve seen a lot more read-option – it’s not one guy running it versus the rest of the league, so I think defenses will have an answer for RGIII.”
While ruling out the Eagles from contention for the division, Oben would not go as far as to say either Dallas or New York will run away with the NFC East outright, however.
“It’s going to be a dogfight,” Oben said. “It’s going to be a 9-7, 10-6 win the division. You know, the Giants at home with the Redskins, every year that might decide the division. So it’s going to be that type of year in the NFC East.”
There was more on how defenses plan to stop RGIII in 2013. Plenty more.
“Defenses are spending days now in training camp,” Oben said. “Today is read-option day. This is what the league has become so if you’ve got Washington or San Francisco on your schedule, I mean you spend a day or two just defending the read-option in training camp.”
“Everyone in the league knows that RGIII is a playmaker and he will make some plays, but just like Michael Vick his first couple years, you can get wooed by the plays, that fifty yard run that he makes, that third and five where he keeps it and runs for thirty yards,” he continued. “You can’t lose your defensive integrity because of what a guy potentially can do.”
“Somebody has to win on defense. Somebody has to break down. Someone has got to penetrate,” Oben said. “I mean, that’s how you stop that read-option.”