When preparing to defend against quarterback Robert Griffin III, running back Alfred Morris and the Washington Redskins, Cleveland Browns defensive coordinator Dick Jauron has one solution to counter the read-option offense: play at top speed.
“Every week, in our league, we’re playing gifted athletes,” Jauron said. “(Griffin) just happens to be significantly more gifted than most. We’ve got to try and play as fast as we possibly can play. Otherwise, you don’t have any chance at all. You’ve got to be playing at top speed because they’re going to be playing at top speed. Our message is not any different than it normally is. It’s just directed to different players, different schemes. You’ve got to play awfully fast to have any success in this league.”
Washington has run the read-option scheme with a good amount of success this season.
In addition to Griffin completing 233 passes for 2,906 yards and 18 touchdowns against four interceptions, the Redskins have gained 2,178 yards and scored 14 touchdowns on 414 carries. Last year, Washington totaled 5,387 yards of offense, only 1,614 rushing yards and eight running scores.
Rookie Alfred Morris has accounted for 1,228 yards and seven touchdowns on 253 carries and has the second-most rushing yards of any NFL rookie. Only Tampa Bay’s Doug Martin has rushed for more yards, 1,234.
“The combination, the two of them together have to benefit each of them just because they seem to have a good feel for what they’re trying to do and they execute it well,” Jauron said of Griffin and Morris. “The running back’s a huge part of it. I’ve never functioned in that offense, but I would assume the running back has to have a good feel for that exchange with his quarterback and they do it extremely well. He runs well. He is a really committed runner. He doesn’t make a lot of bad reads. He hits the hole; he’s hard to tackle. They pose a lot of problems.
“They run a conventional offense with RG3. You’re looking at their offense, plus the other stuff that he adds to it, the other dimension. Whoever’s in at quarterback, they’ll still run some of the stuff they run with RG3, the read-option, the read-zone. We’re just preparing for them.”
Despite suffering a knee injury in the fourth quarter of an overtime win over the Baltimore Ravens last week, Griffin was able to practice Wednesday and Thursday.
“We fully anticipate that he will play,” Jauron said. “You’d like to have a lot of eyes on him when he starts to move. No matter how many eyes you have on him, you’ve got to have eyes and bodies that can catch him and that’s a hard thing to do because there aren’t a lot of people that move like that.”
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