Washington Redskins Coach Mike Shanahan said Monday that he felt “dumb” after reviewing the play Sunday on which quarterback Robert Griffin III went out for a pass and took a hard hit from Steelers safety Ryan Clark. The coach said he should not have subjected his franchise quarterback to such risk of injury.
On the play, Griffin flipped the ball to receiver Josh Morgan on a reverse to the right and then ran out of the backfield on a pass route. Morgan eluded a defender and heaved the ball downfield to Griffin along the left sideline.
Griffin had to slow up for the pass as the ball hung in the air and pushed off cornerback Ike Taylor, drawing an offensive pass interference penalty. The ball bounced off Griffin’s hands, and a split second later, Clark flew in from the right and leveled Griffin.
“After looking at that play, you feel like a complete dumb-s— because you want him to be wide open,” Shanahan said on Monday. “I’ve run that play probably 10, 15 times with [John] Elway, probably 20 times or more with Steve Young, and with Robert, what you usually do is against the right defense – which is man coverage – no one usually accounts for the quarterback and he’s by himself out there.”
Shanahan said the Redskins didn’t anticipate the Steelers having two defenders in the area. He said Monday that he should have instructed Morgan to throw the pass only if Griffin was in a one-on-one situation.
“With Josh Morgan, he takes off and he’s got such confidence in his arm, and he lets it go and probably could’ve thrown it another 10 yards,” Shanahan said. “Robert’s so competitive that he goes for that ball, and that one safety that comes over just killed him. Yeah, I felt like to do it over again, we’d tell Josh don’t throw it unless he’s wide open, I mean wide open. Of course from his perspective, he was. But that’s part of the growing process for me and having the guys throw a pass from the backfield.”