The Redskins’ read option play may be a dead duck. Or a wooden one anyway.
Speaking to Mike Florio on Pro Football Talk last week at the owners meetings in Phoenix, Mike Shanahan indicated that the option may be used more as a decoy this season rather than as a staple of the Redskins’ attack.
“You don’t have to run it,” Shanahan said of the read option play. “That’s the big factor that the offense has. You may not run it one time in a game. We got a base offense that we run you know with the spread option, the pistol, whatever you want to call it. You know, that’s just one phase of what we do, so if they’re going to spend a lot of time stopping that, then we think our other offense will be able to be executed very well.”
We will see how often Mike and Kyle Shanahan call what became the Redskins’ signature play with Robert Griffin III putting the ball into the belly or running back Alfred Morris and then deciding to either hand it to the back or pull it out and run it himself. Although Griffin did take some hard hits while running the option, his two major injuries (a concussion and a knee injury) came when he was scrambling from the pocket.
The issue you run into when trying to use the option as a decoy is that defenses will begin to ignore it. At some point even a duck will figure out that the decoy is just a chunk of wood floating in the water. If the Redskins don’t pull the trigger on the option at least a few times a game it will lose its value as a smokescreen.
Joe Gibbs used to say that he would change about 40 percent of his offense from year to year and he did that even though his offenses were quite successful. It was a matter of keeping ahead of the defenses. It is unlikely that we will be able to get Shanahan to be specific as to how much of the offense he’ll change but he realizes as well as Gibbs did that if you’re not changing your tactics you’re falling behind.