In his Monday Morning Quarterback article this week, Peter King had a quote from Jay Gruden on how he intends to use Robert Griffin III in his offense. Gruden said that he wanted to let Griffin do what he does best.
“I worked with Andy Dalton for three years in Cincinnati, and built a foundation of concepts and protections that I think worked well with him,” Gruden said. “With Robert, we’ll obviously use his skill set differently. When it comes to the quarterback position, my job is to make him comfortable and productive. I’m not going to try to turn RG3 into Andy Dalton or Drew Brees. He isn’t them. They’re not him. I would be foolish to try to turn RG3 into a pocket passer. It would be foolish. The way he is as a runner, we have to take advantage of that. He strikes fear into defensive coordinators when he runs outside. I’m going to let him be himself.”
King commented on this, wondering if it’s a good idea to have Griffin expose himself to possible injury by running so much. “I understand Gruden, but I also would want to limit my young franchise quarterback’s exposure to danger in the open field—unless he was committed to sliding at the first sign of trouble, which Griffin hasn’t shown a willingness to do consistently.”
The more things change the more they stay the same. After a year of much-celebrated knee rehab, tense back and forths about that rehab, and a coaching change, we are stuck where we were a year ago. We are still debating how much Griffin should run. Some would rather have him sit in the pocket until he learns how to become effective there. Others, like Gruden, want to see his full set of skills utilized.
How much running are we talking about Griffin doing? In 2013, Griffin ran 86 times in 13 games. Only three quarterbacks had more rushing attempts than Griffin. Two of them, Cam Newton and Colin Keapernick, are a few inches taller and 10-20 pounds heavier than Griffin.
The other QB who rushed more often than Griffin might provide the model. Russell Wilson has carried 190 times in two seasons in the league and he hasn’t missed a start or even more than a few snaps here and there. He’s three inches shorter and about 15 pounds lighter than Griffin.
The key to Wilson managing to run and stay in one piece despite being smaller than most QB’s is what King mentioned—he gets down at the first sign of trouble. The ex-baseball player executes a flawless slide whenever guys in the other-colored jerseys approach. As King noted, that’s not something that Griffin does very often.
It remains to be seen if Gruden is talking about running a lot of the read option or have him run out of bootlegs and other, more traditional plays, if he is just talking about him taking off when he can’t find anyone open on a pass play or if he has some other approach in mind.
We might get some hints during OTAs, minicamps, training camp, and preseason games. But we won’t know anything for sure until the regular season kicks off in September. Until then, all we can do is speculate.
And speculate we will.