The dream of every coach and player in the NFL is to have an offense that is so multidimensional that game film does little to help an opposing defense prepare for it.
Said offense would have every player necessary to form a utopian game plan, and those players would be able to adapt their skills to whatever the game required.
While this perfection may never exist in the NFL, the Redskins definitely have a player who could operate such an attack, Robert Griffin III. And they certainly have a coach who could run it, Mike Shanahan.
Against the Saints in Week 1, the Redskins rolled up 459 yards of offense. It wasn't a pristine performance, but it was better than any offensive showing from 2011 and raised the bar in terms of how this team should produce in 2012.
It was a completely different offense than Redskins fans are accustomed to, in particular due to the play-calling. It was refreshing to see a dose of read-option pass and run plays injected into the game plan, and there's no question that the Saints defense was off-balance for the entire game.
It was the type of performance that makes you wonder how many possibilities there are for this team, especially considering the skill set of RGIII.
Skeptics will say that the offense will slow down, once opposing teams have sufficient game tape. But RGIII is anything but one-dimensional.
He's not Michael Vick or any other prototypical running quarterback that we've seen in the NFL. With his size and pocket presence, he's more comparable to the speedy, stronger-armed Drew Brees.
This essentially means that sometime down the road, Shanahan could craft a game plan tailored to his quarterback's unique talents, which operates in such a way as to never let the defense feel comfortable for a second.
If the opposition wants to bring extra men into the box to stop the option run, they'd still have to deal with what is already one of the best arms in football (look at some tape of Griffin at Baylor and you'll agree).
If the defense puts extra defensive backs in to prevent gains in the passing game, then RGIII can pull the ball down and run.
And if the defense somehow finds a way to combat that, Shanahan can turn to his most basic and powerful weapon—the play-action pass. The play-action has a number of benefits, but for an offense like the one that Redskins possess, it turns a good game plan into a super-powered attack.
When RGIII takes the snap out of the shotgun or the pistol formation, he has three options on a play-action call: hand the ball off, take it himself or drop back to pass.
Since the defense has to consider all three options within a span of less than a second, it will give the Redskins an advantage that nearly every team will come to envy. When a defense's success on a given play is predicated on how it reacts in a split-second, game film can only do so much to help during preparation.
It will work not because of RGIII's running ability but because of his passing skills. He's not a running quarterback who likes to throw—he's a pocket passer who is a threat to run. That might make him the most dangerous offensive player in the entire league. While offensive line issues could slow the attack down, the defense will be on its heels long enough to combat that weakness.
It's spread-option football at it's finest, and it could be coming to Washington sooner than later. Buckle up.
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