The Washington Redskins studied offenses of both NFL and college teams as they put together the package of plays that resulted in rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III carrying the ball 10 times Sunday at New Orleans in his pro debut.
“You look at all the different type of options that work,” Redskins Coach Mike Shanahan said during his news conference Monday. “When I first came into coaching, I was with Oklahoma for a couple years. We ran the wishbone and then you ran the veer and then you ran the counter-option and the speed option. So you’ve been through a lot of these things through your years of coaching.
“It’s kind of fun to do some of those things you haven’t done for a while. When you’ve got a guy like Robert who has the ability to really keep a defense off balance with his ability to do a lot different things, then you’ve got to make decisions [about] what you think works best with his talents. There are a lot of different directions we can go and we’ll experiment as the year goes on.”
Shanahan said the Redskins studied Griffin’s offense at Baylor. They also looked at the Carolina Panthers’ offense last season with Cam Newton and the Denver Broncos’ offense with Tim Tebow.
Tweaking an offensive system to take advantage of a quarterback’s skills is a normal part of coaching, Shanahan said.
“I think you always tailor your offense to whoever your quarterback is, taking a look at what he can do,” Shanahan said. “I think with Robert, the difference is you have a guy that can run under a 4.4[-second] 40[-yard dash] and then has the capabilities of really putting pressure on the defense.
“You only have to run the option or the option scheme one or two times a game. You may run it 10 times a game. But in the back of their mind, a defense knows you have the ability to do it. So you have a chance to keep them off balance even if you don’t run it a lot, and you can run whatever kind of offensive system you want. So the fun part about being able to experiment with some of the things we’ve done is keeping the defense honest because it’s them not knowing how many times you’ll run the option.”