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Robert Griffin III: ‘The Sideline Is Your Friend’

Posted Oct 18, 2013

Redskins QB Robert Griffin III doesn't want to take gratuitous hits, but won't help defenders determined to hit him late out of bounds. He explains his sideline strategy.

Last Sunday, Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III made good on his vow to become more of a playmaker, flashing mobility in the pocket and burst on the edge not seen yet this year.

His first rush came on the second play of the day, as he took off around the left side of the line, following his blocks for a season-high 15-yard gain, ending up out of bounds.

“I let my instincts take over as opposed to, ‘Let me run out of bounds so everyone doesn’t get mad at coach,’ or something like that, or mad at me or whatever they want to say,” he explained.

In the ideal world, Griffin III would be escorted out of bounds, but there are times when defenders take advantage of the situation for a cheap shot.

It is in those moments that Griffin III takes the tack-on 15 yards while protecting himself as well as possible.

In the final moments of the Week 3 game vs. Detroit, veteran defensive back Rashean Mathis pulled up before hitting him out of bounds. In Week 6, several Cowboys defenders went for the hit.

“In a rivalry game against the Cowboys, [safety] Barry Church is not going to pull off from that. I gave him a little move there before I went out of bounds, but I was clearly out of bounds,” Griffin III said. “He hit me and it does suck, but some guys are going to take those penalties.

“I know I was going out of bounds another time and [Cowboys cornerback] Brandon Carr went low at my legs, not anything dirty, but I had to move out of the way and you’ve just got to be aware of those things.”

Griffin III has no desire to take gratuitous hits, but won’t help defenders with ill intent.

“It’s hard to walk that line and you’ve always got to try to protect yourself,” he said. “The sideline is your friend and you can get out of bounds at the sideline, but a lot of defensive players, they just really don’t care. Sometimes they’re going to still get that hit on you.”

“This team needs me to do more to help them win and help us win. That’s what I’ve got to do. I’ll still go out there and protect myself.”

That sentiment was misconstrued by some members of the media, which caused Griffin III to address the situation again on Friday morning with Redskins.com.

“Some people think I’m aiming to draw penalties and that’s not what I said,” he explained. “I was asked about the hits on the sideline and the guys not being afraid to take the 15 yards for unnecessary roughness.

“I told them that against the Cowboys, I was just trying to run out of bounds and some guy hit me. Some guys will take that, some guys don’t really care. It’s just up in the air.

“Some guys will take the penalty and some won’t take the penalty. You’ve got to use the sideline as your friend. I’m not using the sideline to try and get penalties.”

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