Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III (10) and running back Alfred Morris (46). Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Jay Gruden - Read Option won't be a major part of the offense

Washington Redskins head coach Jay Gruden recently stated that while he plans to have sprinkles of the read-option here and there in his offense, but it won’t be a major part.  This is in contrast to how previous Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan would use the play numerous times a game.

While the play effectively utilized the running skills of running back Alfred Morris and quarterback Robert Griffin III, it also opened RGIII up to a considerable amount of hard hits, sometimes even when he handed off.  And yet, Griffin’s health didn’t seem to discourage Shanahan from using the play.

However, Jay Gruden seems to recognize that to stop using the play completely wouldn’t be smart considering it’s effectiveness.  But Griffin’s health has to be made a high priority.  Maybe Shanahan thought he had no choice but to use the read-option more, but the fact is in the NFL the health of your franchise quarterback needs to be protected.

Also, now that the Redskins have acquired more weapons on offense to throw to in receivers DeSean Jackson and Andre Roberts, the need for RGIII to run the ball as much isn’t as great.  So it would behoove Gruden and Griffin to get the ball into the hands of the playmakers on offense as much as possible and limit the pounding on Griffin.

This is further proof that Jay Gruden gets it, and he’s focused not just on the present, but on the long-term as well.  It also proves that he’s learning from Shanahan’s mistake of not putting the health of Robert Griffin III as a high priority.


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  • David Dorman

    The read option was only about 10-15% of the time run under Shanahan, not a lot at all. This has been a common misconception. Griff also got hurt when he was not running the option. Most of the time he got hit when he didn’t throw it away or get down fast enough, he also couldn’t slide at all.

    • http://fanonfiresportswire.com/ Maurice Barksdale

      I agree, but 10-15% is about to become 0-1%, which is a big difference. And I think it should have been 0-1% last season, especially after Griffin’s knee injury.

      • David Dorman

        I still think it wasn’t the system and it was the QB and lack of talent. Griff wasn’t ready to be a pocket passer because he rushed back too soon and didn’t have an offseason. 1st game of the season against Philly we didn’t run the read option and Griff took more abuse than ever, because the threat was not there. He was a “hot read” QB not great at going through progressions so when he was asked to stay in the pocket he was a sitting duck without the zone read. I see Russell Wilson and Kapernick run the read option and have no issues because they know when to throw it away, run out of bounds, or SLIDE.

        • http://fanonfiresportswire.com/ Maurice Barksdale

          RGIII wasn’t ready for any type of offense at the start of the season because he didn’t have the proper preparation in the offseason, and he wasn’t 100% healthy. So his shaky play to start the season in 2013 came as no surprise to me. Even the best QB’s in the game need thousands of reps in order to be at their best.

          So I can’t fault Griffin for being extremely rusty. Realistically what else could have been expected? Shanahan’s incompetence in not removing him from the game against Seattle is the reason RGIII spent the offseason rehabbing instead of working on his game anyway.

          I’ll agree the Redskins lacked talent, and that Griffin needs to learn how to slide and protect himself better. But I think we all knew that what Griffin was doing as a rookie couldn’t last, and at some point the process of developing him more in the pocket had to happen. That process should have been started in his rookie season.

          And honestly, Russell Wilson and Colin Kaepernick have better coaches, who have better knowledge of how to use them. Put RGIII in Seattle and San Francisco and those teams are still winners.

          • David Dorman

            Griff was rusty because HE wanted to be back for week 1, thus the big ad campaign for “all in for week 1″. So yeah a big part of him not being ready was because of the pressure he placed on everyone by running commercials and doing press conferences in the offseason about how he was going to be ready to play week 1, that was all on him. As for 2012, we have audio of him telling Trent Williams “not to tell anyone” he was hurt, and asked by many different people if he was OK, I guess they were wrong trusting him and putting their confidence in him. Yes Mike played a part in it but if he pulled him from the game how do you expect that would have turned out? Do you remember the Cleveland game? Griff through a hissy fit when it was medically proven he was hurt. He has some growing up to do, I’m sorry they are professionals now not kids. As for better coaching, I think you can look at the drafting and see where the disparity is, not the coaching. Harbaugh has never won a Super Bowl and Carroll is a known coach with questionable character who cheated in the past who just got his 1st SB, Shanny has 2 and might get in the HOF. We will see how the other coaches finish their career. I think what we did in 2012 was amazing and super creative by running a zone blocking, West Coast, Read Option hybrid offense that took us to the 1st division title in forever and the playoffs. The main reason that run ended was because Griff couldn’t protect himself IMO.

          • http://fanonfiresportswire.com/ Maurice Barksdale

            I didn’t matter if Griffin wanted to be back in week one, because he wasn’t the head coach. If Mike Shanahan allowed RGIII to dictate to him who should start, then that’s on Shanahan not Griffin. How could Griffin have started unless Shanahan approved it?

            And it doesn’t matter what Griffin said about not being injured. A blind man could see that he was indeed injured, as he could barely walk let alone run. Again, what kind of a head coach is going to let a player dictate to him whether he plays or not? The head coach decides who plays and who doesn’t, regardless of whether or not a player throws a hissy fit. Who’s the one in charge?

            Joe Gibbs dealt with hissy fits from players, but he still determined who played, as most great coaches do. I can’t imagine a Joe Gibbs or a Bill Parcells letting a rookie quarterback dictate to them whether they played or not.

            As for better coaching, I’m not talking about 15 years ago when Shanahan was at his peak with John Elway and the Broncos. I’m talking about his tenure with the Redskins in which he went 24-40 in four seasons, including 11-21 in his first two seasons before RGIII ever got there.

            Yes, Mike Shanahan is a hall of fame candidate and had a great career, but he was far from great with the Redskins. And I agree the offense was creative, but it’s like I said that offense couldn’t be sustained long-term. The most important reason why, is because it adds additional pounding onto your starting quarterback. Which is a recipe for disaster.

            And Griffin is a young player, and he’s extremely head strong. That’s why he needs a coach who is strong enough to get him to understand that what he wants to do, isn’t necessarily what he needs to do. To show him the right way to play, and to stand his ground and not back down when Griffin throws a hissy fit.

            It remains to be seen if Jay Gruden is that man, but Mike Shanahan at that stage of his career clearly was not.

          • David Dorman

            Then if we need a head coach like that (which I agree) then we picked the wrong one! There are already reports about how Gruden is a players coach and allows the players to make most decisions. Let’s put this in context, not assuming we know what happens in 2013 let alone what we know now. We were on a 7 game win streak and for the 1st time in forever we won the division and a home playoff game. What do you think would have happened to the trust and relationship between coach and QB if he pulled Griff? In my mind his knee was already damaged since the Baltimore game and he had no business playing at all. He went down in the Seattle game off a low snap, not contact so this begs the question how in the hell did he get cleared in the 1st place? Either he was lying all the way about how it felt and or everyone turned a blind eye, therefore all parties are guilty as charged. Mike, Griff, Kyle, and all the players are all at fault for looking away. Any coach who doesn’t listen and trust his QB in any game situation let alone the playoffs is ridiculed, hind sight is always 20/20.
            As for the system it is sustainable, look at all the teams running it! Our QB just couldn’t figure out how to protect himself so we will never know if we could keep going or not. Mike made plenty of mistakes but to put blinders on about RG3′s roll is just going to present a similar situation in the future….mark my words. If they let him do whatever he wants unless he matures than he will be at risk again someday, and I really hope I’m wrong.

          • http://fanonfiresportswire.com/ Maurice Barksdale

            I don’t think Gruden will be a disciplinarian type of coach, but I think he’ll have a better rapport with RGIII because he’ll be working much closer with him than Mike Shanahan did. And by Shanahan not pulling Griffin when he was clearly injured, their relationship deteriorated any way after RGIII tore his ACL.

            I guarantee you Griffin would have gotten over being pulled a lot quicker than it took him to rehab his knee. A bruised ego heals a lot quicker than a torn ligament. You can’t worry about pissing off a player if the decision you’re making is in his and the team’s best interest.

            Players are all wired to play through pain, and they all play injured, it’s the nature of the game. It’s up to the coach to determine what’s best for the team, and that player, and we all saw it. Griffin was limping so badly he couldn’t step into his throws. He was clearly ineffective.

            Shanahan just didn’t have the balls to do what needed to be done, and the team ended up paying the price for it with an unhealthy RGIII in 2014. As for the read-option, neither the 49ers or the Seahawks ran it nearly as much in 2014 as they did in 2013. They use it like Gruden plans to, by sprinkling it in.

            And I agree Griffin needs to show some maturity, but he’s not the first young quarterback that needed time to mature. He’s only 24, and still virtually at the start of his career. I say just give him more time, and he’ll get it.

          • David Dorman

            My most recent point is that the Dr’s and Griffin all said he was OK, that should have never happened. I can’t fault a coach that had not only the medical staff but Griffin demanding to play and letting him do so. I was at that game and didn’t think he looked good at all after he initially hurt himself but hind site is 20/20. All I’m saying is that all parties are to blame, not just Shanahan. Griff needs to mature and know his limitations and until he proves it, the staff needs to keep a close eye on him. The Eagles run a system that puts the QB at risk but they don’t worry because Foles takes care of himself.

          • http://fanonfiresportswire.com/ Maurice Barksdale

            The Eagles run a lot more plays on offense than the average team in the NFL, so that explains why they ran the zone read more. But I think it’s safe to assume that Foles handed off a lot more than he ran, so I doubt he was exposed to anywhere near the amount of hits that RGIII took. Plus, Foles is huge for a QB at 6’6, 243. RGIII is 217, so that bigger size makes a major difference in how much pounding a man can take.

            However, I understand the point you’re making. But it’s like I said as time moves forward, you can’t expect to have a future if your quarterback is taking additional pounding from being a featured runner. I think we can agree on that can’t we?

          • David Dorman

            I agree with not wanting the QB to take uneccessary abuse. I do think that the threat should still be present and used occasionally to keep the defense honest and off balance.