Could Skins succeed sans RG3?
Washington's offense can adapt, but would be far more limited
The Washington Redskins knew the risk they were taking trading away multiple first-round picks to get Robert Griffin III. An athletic, scrambling quarterback is susceptible to big hits and injuries when he gets outside the pocket. On multiple occasions this season, RG3 has taken big hits instead of sliding or getting out of bounds, and it finally came back to bite him in the third quarter against the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday. Diagnosed with a mild concussion, Griffin may not miss a lot of time with this injury (he will undergo more evaluations Monday), but his ability to get through a full season is certainly in doubt, and the coaches seem to sense it.
In the first three weeks of the season, Mike Shanahan had RG3 frequently run the option. While RG3 was successful, he also took a lot of big hits. As a result, Shanahan cut way back on the option plays in the past two weeks. And on Sunday, RG3 didn't have one designed run play. If the offense showed an option look, it was usually a play-action pass. When this passing game is at its best, the QB runs a lot of bootleg play-action looks with half-field reads and crossing routes, giving RG3 the option to run.
But as long as he remains exposed, the Redskins run the risk of losing their franchise QB to injury and -- whether or not he's needed for this coming Sunday -- it's clear that they'll need a capable backup under center.
Kirk Cousins, who took the reins Sunday after RG3's departures, obviously has a different skill set from Griffin. So if RG3 misses any time, how will the Redskins' offense change with Cousins at QB?
To read more how the Washington Redskins offense changes with Kirk Cousins at QB, plus get all of Insider's NFL content, sign up to be an ESPN Insider.
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