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Shanahan: Griffin III Has Green Light To Run

Posted Sep 21, 2012

Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan says he sets no limitations on QB Robert Griffin III's ability to run the ball. Protecting his body is the real key to success.

In 2011, the Redskins’ offense had its highest two-game production through the first two games of the season, piling up 787 yards in a pair of victories at home.

Starting out on the road this year with rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III at the helm, the Redskins have already gained 832 yards on offense, and have scored the most points in the NFL (68).

Griffin III has accounted for 526 yards with three touchdowns through the air, hitting deep passes of 68 and 88 yards, while completing more than 70 percent of his passes.

A major supplement to his aerial success has been his ability to make plays with his legs.  Rushing 20 times already, Griffin III already has 124 rushing yards and two touchdowns on the ground.

Currently on pace for an NFL quarterback record 160 rushes this season, Griffin III isn’t concerned with limiting his rushes.

“I think it’ll die down over the course of the year.  I think from game to game it will be different,” he explained.  “Sometimes I’ll carry the ball 10 times; sometimes I’ll carry the ball two times. It’s just a matter of how defense are going to play.”

Head coach Mike Shanahan said it’s difficult to project how many times Griffin III will run, when it is impossible to predict how teams will defend him.

“It all depends on how games are going,” Shanahan said.  “Obviously, we want to protect Robert, but we are going to do what we think we need to do to win.”

Griffin III explained that there are some specific plays that are designed for him to run, and there are other times when his receivers are covered and he must scramble.

No matter what type of play is called, he is always going to try to create a productive outcome.

“On some of the runs where I break the pocket, I do try to dump it off to guys,” Griffin III said.  “I also try to stretch it out as much as I possibly can to let guys get open. There are always ways to avoid hits.”  

Griffin III recalled being in high school when he became a dual-threat quarterback.  His ability to scramble developed as he got older; however he has always been aware of how to protect his body first.

“In high school, I just ran. [Defenders] were a lot smaller,” Griffin III said.  “In college, [the Baylor coaching staff] tried to temper that down. Coach [Art Briles] taught me to get what I can, but protect myself when I get down. That’s how I’ve become pretty good at avoiding hits or avoiding the bigger hits.

“There’s a couple times [the defenders] were leading with their helmets and I had to dodge them on the sideline. That’s just something I’ve become accustomed to – being able to move my body that way.”

With only two games on film, Griffin III remains an enigma to defenses, taking advantage of whatever the defense gives him. 

His ability to pass and run makes him a threat on any down, but his mindset might be his greatest weapon.

“One of my coaches at Baylor would always say, ‘You choose to think positive.’ So, if you think in a negative light, ‘I don’t think we can do this,’ then you’re probably not going to do it.

“But if you say, ‘Hey, we can go do it,’ we will.”

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