WASHINGTON (CBSDC) – As the second season of the RGIII era approaches in Washington, questions continue to loom regarding how the Redskins will utilize the quarterback in an offense that’s heavily dependent on him running the football, with him coming off season-ending knee surgery.
“He’s not going to be a guy who’s going to drop back and throw it 30, 35 times a game,” Tony Barnhart of CBS Sports told 106.7 The Fan’s Holden and Danny. “He’s got to be able to run. And that keeps the defenses honest.”
While Griffin certainly ran the ball a lot his rookie season, amassing 815 yards and 7 touchdowns on the ground along his way to becoming offensive rookie of the year, it’s the threat that he’ll tuck the ball and run that makes him so difficult for opposing defenses to gameplan against.
The Redskins are now faced with maintaining that threat, while at the same time lightening the mileage Griffin puts on his legs, and hopefully as a result, limiting the number of times he’s left exposed in an open field.
Reenter Barnhart, who credits the Redskins with recognizing Griffin’s unique talent without forcing him to conform to a more conventional approach.
“The NFL is pretty much old and set in its ways, and for them to think outside the box and use somebody with a unique skills set like Robert Griffin III is pretty commendable for them,” Barnhart said. “I’m not surprised he was successful because, again, if they had taken RGIII and made him a conventional drop back quarterback, guess what? He’s not nearly as successful.”
“That’s not how he’s built,” he added for good measure.
So Mike and Kyle Shanahan now have the unenviable task of limiting RGIII’s rushing attempts without changing the way he plays the game, which is to take off and run whenever his instincts tell him to do so.
As if that catch-22 wasn’t compromising enough, and there weren’t already enough concerns surrounding how to manage Griffin, there’s still one major question mark lingering in the forefront.
“The big thing with him, as you guys know this, is always going to be, can he stay healthy and play 16 games?” Barnhart said. “I think that will always be the question.”
These answers, unfortunately, all meet up in the same intersection of ‘wait and see’ and ‘hope and pray.’