Run RGIII, Run (US Presswire)
WASHINGTON (WUSA) -- Hey, here's a brand new Ferrari. But here's the catch: you can't drive it over 75 miles per hour.
Hey, here's a brand new television. But here's the catch: you can't watch it in HD after 8 p.m.
Hey, here's a brand new smoking hot girlfriend. But here's the catch: you can't see her naked once the sun goes down.
Those three analogies are exactly what Brian Mitchell, Michael Wilbon and thousands of you basically said on Twitter when you screamed for the Redskins to stop running the option -- or even halt Robert Griffin III from running at all. Clearly I don't want to see the quarterback receiving an injury, but the Redskins offense is finally dynamic (first in points, sixth in yards) because of their quarterback and his galloping legs. Nothing should change.
Before I give my opinion, I present you with some facts that back Mike and Kyle Shanahan's approach for implementing as many designed runs -- 32 carries, 209 yards, 4 TD's -- for Griffin III as they have.
The Redskins have a had a total of 39 offensive drives this season. On 26 of the drives, RGIII has either rushed for less than five yards, or hasn't rushed at all. On 13 of the drives, Griffin III has rushed for at least five yards.
The Redskins are 6/26 (four touchdowns, two field goals) when Griffin III does not rush for at least five yards. Washington is 7/13 (four touchdowns, three field goals) on drives in which their rookie quarterback scrambles for at least five yards -- an alarming success rate. And let's remember that could be 9/13 if Josh Morgan and Kyle Shanahan don't have freaking out episodes.
Plainly, Washington's offensive is non-arguably more dynamic when Griffin III is allowed to make plays with his legs. And I'd argue that the option play calls in the second half had a top-notch Bengals defense gasping for air. If Washington's defense could make one stop, you would be praising Griffin's legs and decision making on when to go for the extra yardage.
We are in an NFL era where taking off as a quarterback is almost necessary and much easier -- thanks to the prevalent shotgun formation. You can't even compare today's NFL offenses to that of when Michael Vick was a rookie in 2001. The oft-injured quarterback was before his time (and you can already make an argument that RGIII is a smarter football player than Vick). The mass quantities of four-receiver sets have opened up the entire field.
Pretty much every quarterback post-Big Ben and Eli Manning in 2004 is of the elusive and/or scrambling variety. Tony Romo, Aaron Rodgers, Christian Ponder, Josh Freeman, Cam Newton, Alex Smith, Russell Wilson, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Andy Dalton, Brandon Weeden and Jake Locker are all quarterbacks capable of taking off for a 15-yard gain. Hell, even Andrew Luck rushed for 50 yards last Sunday against Jacksonville.
You get it. We are living in the ultra-athletic quarterback era. So all of a sudden when the Redskins FINALLY get their hands a player with the most upside in the entire league, you want him to limit his skill set? You want to go back to bland offensive play calls? You want to risk scoring only 20 points in a game because your scared Griffin III isn't bright enough to know when to run out of bounds?
Listen, not every scrambling quarterback in the NFL's history has an injury list like Michael Vick. According to Pro Football Reference, Donovan McNabb missed 22 games in his 13 year career, an average of just 1.69 per season. Randall Cunningham missed 20 games over his 16 year career, an average of just 1.25. And once Steve McNair became a full time starter in 1997, the late quarterback missed just one game in nine years. One game!
RGIII running will continue. Without his legs, there's a zero percent chance the organization would have traded multiple draft picks for his services.
So the Redskins are going to drive their Ferrari over 75 MPH, they are going to watch HD television late at night and they are going to admire their beautiful naked girlfriend.
And they should, every single game.