The Washington Post

Sonny Jurgensen to RGIII: ‘Quit running’

(Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post)


The staying power of the “should RGIII run less????” debate has been truly monumental. With the Nats embarking on their most important season to date and the Caps fighting for a playoff spot, I heard one local sports-talk program last week again going over the same should-he-or-shouldn’t-he questions that dominated local airwaves most of the fall.

For example, are the Shanahans exposing Robert Griffin III to unnecessary risks? Is the read-option actually safer for a quarterback than a traditional offense? Were his injuries preventable? Does he look more like a falcon or a hummingbird? And so on.

Well, let me be a part of this lunacy too, by quoting Sonny Jurgensen. The team’s longtime radio analyst was recently asked by the E.Y.E.S. radio network if there were any tips he’d offer Griffin as he prepares for season No. 2.

“Quit running,” Jurgensen responded. “As a quarterback, you make your living throwing the football. If you make your living running the football, you’re gonna play 10 games a year. Quit running. Run when necessary; get out of bounds.

“I mean, we’re seeing that from a lot of the offenses, a change of offenses,” he continued. “You saw it in Seattle, you saw it with San Francisco. You know, it’s a read-option offense, it’s a college offense that pro coaches haven’t figured out how to stop yet. They will make adjustments, they’ll learn how to stop it, and then it’s gonna be very dangerous to do that, because you can spend more time on the bench than you do on the field.

“And that’s one of the things you have to be concerned about,” Jurgensen said. “And I think that’s one of the things the Redskins are concerned about, that’s one of the things that Robert Griffin is concerned about. They all are. You know, you want to stay on the field and be healthy, and he can do that, but they’re gonna have to….I mean, everything we’ve read, that I’ve read, about the adjustments they’re gonna make and how they’re gonna handle it, it’s gonna be less running.”

That wouldn’t be a popular tactic among a certain segment of Redskins fans, who believe the read-option was critical to the team’s 2012 success, and that Griffin was hurt on traditional scrambles and not designed runs.

Jurgensen was also asked if he thought FedEx Field’s shoddy playing surface could have contributed to the injuries.

“No,” he said. “It was worse at RFK. They used to paint it. A field’s a field. Both teams play on it.”

And he was also asked whether he had a prediction for the Redskins in 2013.

“Who knows?” he said. “You can’t tell. I mean, they could go to the Super Bowl, or they may not win the division. How can you predict who’s gonna be healthy, who’s gonna finish the year, who’s gonna start the year? You don’t know. You’ve just got to have things bounce the right way, as they did last year for them.”

Oh, and it turns out Jurgensen himself is recuperating from offseason knee surgery.

“I’m not superhuman,” he joked, “but I’m coming along.”

Listen to the audio here.

Dan Steinberg writes about all things D.C. sports at the D.C. Sports Bog.
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