Dan Daly analyzed Robert Griffin III’s limited number of passing plays this season for the Washington Times, finding that he has thrown far less than other highly drafted quarterbacks immediately called onto start. Griffin threw just 31 times in 3 preseason appearances. This is comparatively low relative to previous rookie quarterbacks over the past four years who threw nearly twice as often:
Cam Newton – 57
Andy Dalton – 60
Sam Bradford – 55
Matt Stafford – 55
Matt Ryan -59
Joe Flacco – 68
Andrew Luck – 64
Jay Cutler – 62 (2006, for Shanahan)
The numbers provide a very stark contrast as to how Griffin was used this preseason versus the way other comparable quarterbacks were used in their rookie preseasons. The working theory is that Shanahan is playing his cards extremely close to the vest and does not think 25 more throws in preseason work outweighs the value of keeping RGIII’s ultimate role in the offense a mystery. Okay. People are suspicious. We’ll trust in Shanahan, and the role that he will play in throwing all sorts of novel and complicated looks at a defense.
Throughout preseason, RG3‘s speed put pressure on defenses in multiple regards. On the wide zone outside running plays Shanahan’s ground game is built on, Griffin gets out from under center and wide to hand off to the running back at a trajectory that increases the speed of the runner, the angle he has when receiving the ball, and the overall efficiency and quickness of the play. He’s perfect for Shanahan’s running game, which relies on wearing a defense out by moving them sideline to sideline. He’s also perfect in his ability to make defenses respect him in bootleg situations and through play action, the second staple of a Shanahan offense. Griffin is a former world-class 400-meter hurdler, considered by many to be the toughest race in track. He’s got the energy to sell counters and run bootlegs for all four quarters; the defense will tire before he will.