Cowboys vs. Redskins: How Rob Ryan and Dallas Defense Can Stop RG3
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In his first year in the NFL, Robert Griffin III has become one of the most dynamic quarterbacks in the entire league. Similar to Cam Newton last season, Griffin has done everything on the field for a below average team, in this case the Washington Redskins.
He has run the ball successfully (averaging 6.6 yards per carry) and has thrown the ball arguably even more successfully. He has a passer rating of 101.0 on the season and has thrown 12 touchdowns to just three interceptions while completing 67.1 percent of his passes.
This is a player that was worth every single piece that Washington gave up to move up in the draft and select him with the No. 2 overall pick last April. How can any defense stop him?
Ryan, much like his twin brother Rex and his father Buddy, is somewhat of a defensive guru in the NFL. His creative blitz packages and intensity on the sidelines has led the Cowboys to No. 7 overall in total defense this season.
Will he be able to contain Griffin in the rookie's first battle with the division-rival Cowboys?
Only if Ryan is very careful. Ryan can get very blitz-happy, but dual-threat quarterbacks thrive on eluding the pass rush and escaping into the open field. If Ryan tries to drill Griffin in the backfield, the Cowboys could get burned this afternoon.
Who will win the NFC East Thanksgiving showdown?
Stopping Griffin is very simple. The Redskins don't have elite talent on the outside to beat Dallas' above-average cornerbacks one on one consistently. Ryan also has the luxury of having a very athletic front seven, led by pro-bowl pass rusher DeMarcus Ware.
Ryan can use his athletic corners to contain the passing game, but again, cannot get too blitz-happy with Ware. Rushing five or more, the Cowboys are one of the best defenses in the NFL, holding opposing quarterbacks under 20 in total QBR, but Griffin is a different animal.
The Cowboys need to contain Griffin and players like Ware afford Ryan the luxury to do so. Beating Robert Griffin is much simpler than it seems: Put some pressure on him and speed the game, up forcing him into quick decisions, but make sure he can't run wild.
Not an easy task for the Cowboys on Thanksgiving day, but surely a doable one.
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