Robert Griffin III is succeeding as a rookie by doing the same things he did in college.Rather than shoehorning him into a traditional offence and minimising the things he does well, Washington had adapted its offence to fit what he’s good at and (more importantly in the short term) what he’s familiar with. It’s really smart.
Here are two quick examples of that from today’s Giants-Redskins game (which the Giants won 27-23):
This play went nowhere, but it gives you a general idea of what Washington is doing. In the college game, they call this formation the “pistol.” It gives the offence a variety of running options, and is designed to confuse the defence into playing on their back foot.
The Redskins run a bootleg out of it — a play that’s been around in the NFL since, like, the ’50s — but the goofy formation and motion of the play holds the Giants lineman and linebackers in place for a beat, and lets RG3 get out in space where he is at his best.
Again, nothing was open, and the play fell flat. But the objective is to get RG3 in the position to use his legs and his arm, and it succeeded on that front.
The very next play, Washington got a touchdown, again on a play that college fans will be very familiar with.
The WR bubble screen has become the new go-to play in college football. Instead of simply running the ball up the middle for three boring yards, teams now throw low-risk passes to their receivers on the perimeter, and hope they can break a tackle or two.
It’s a simple play and throw that RG3 ran a million times at Baylor. This one is a little more sophisticated — the running back is the lead blocker, which is awesome — but it’s still the same thing.
Rookie QBs are typically called on to make the same difficult, “NFL Throws!” that Tom Brady and Peyton Manning make. The Redskins are more interested in if something works than if it qualifies as “NFL level.”
So if you want a quick explanation of why RG3 is having a great year, look no further than these two plays.
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