Washington Redskins Are Right to Use Baylor Offense to Help Robert Griffin III

James Dudko@@JamesDudkoFeatured ColumnistAugust 16, 2012

ASHBURN, VA - JULY 26:  Robert Griffin III #10 of the Washington Redskins looks on during training camp at Redskins Park on July 26, 2012 in Ashburn, Virginia.  (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

Mike Shanahan is doing everything he can to make Robert Griffin III an immediate success, including putting elements of Baylor's spread offense in the Washington Redskins' playbook.

Kevin Patra of NFL.com reports that the Redskins have been working on some option plays during training camp. That's a big concession from a coach notoriously regarded as one of the more rigid and stubborn play-callers in the game.

Shanahan is right to let Griffin run some elements of the scheme that helped make him a major success at the collegiate level. It's the same tactic the Carolina Panthers used with Cam Newton in 2011 and the team was certainly rewarded for showing a willingness to adapt.

Spread-style quarterbacks have been the prime picks in the last three drafts. Adjusting to their specific skills is an admission those that draft them must make. In 2010, it was the St. Louis Rams who tailored a quick-release, short-passing system to suit Sam Bradford.

The results were positive, as Bradford posted over 3,500 yards through the air and 18 touchdown passes. Newton's production was even greater, as he offered a style and threat that pro defenses simply aren't used to.

Griffin can do the same, and the Shanahan brain-trust is right to maximise what he does best. The Heisman Trophy winner's ability to make plays with his feet is well known, and the Redskins can use that threat to create coverage matchups in deep zones by confusing coverage schemes with misdirection.

Another signature of the spread scheme is allowing the quarterback to get rid of the ball quickly. A quick-release is one of Griffin's best assets, and the short-range patterns run against the Buffalo Bills in Week 1 of the preseason show the Redskins' commitment to taking full advantage of that.

As the Redskins continue to construct an offense around their top pick, it appears that concerns about Shanahan refusing to adjust to his quarterback may not be as serious as first feared.