Triple Threat: Reads, Washington Redskins and Robert Griffin
If you watched any football this Sunday you at least heard about Robert Griffin III's huge debut game in New Orleans.
With over 300 yards, two touchdowns (with no picks, might I add), 70-plus percent completion rate and a win over the Saints, he just might have had the biggest first game in the history of the NFL. (Many might say Cam's 400-plus-yard game vs. the Cardinals last year would be up there, but he threw interceptions and also ended up losing the game.)
The most interesting thing about this game that no one is talking about? The option read. A play that many college teams and coaches (cough, Chip Kelly, cough) have mastered but which hasn't really transitioned fully to the pros yet. The Panthers last year brought in the post-Wildcat option to the NFL, which used some of these elements, but only the Broncos used it in their games more than once.
Sunday's game started on offense with a quick pass to wide receiver Pierre Garcon, after what seemed to be a half-hearted attempt at play-action by the Redskins. Living in Oregon, I get to see a lot of plays similar to that one, and it got me wondering if Washington adopted some of the same elements from Baylor's playbook.
For me, the Redskins' next offensive play answered all questions. What seemed to be a handoff to the running back was pulled back as RG3 ran past his zone-blocking offensive line for a first down. The zone read was to stay in the NFL.
It's not your grandfather's option play, although they did run at least one speed option-type play. Some zone reads (including many plays I saw the 'Skins run Sunday) have run and pass options in the same package. The receivers use pick blocks or set up bubble screens for each other, and the running back goes to the flat for a short pass if the ball isn't handed off to him.
A pass, a run with a back or a keeper. It's a triple threat.
The reason Griffin's pass percentage was so high was probably a result of the defense having to stay honest on each play. Runs look like passes; passes look like runs; and Griffin looked like a star in the making.
If you enjoy smart football, exciting plays and the evolution of the NFL's most important position you are going to love watching the Redskins and Robert Griffin III this season.
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