Don’t buy the read-option lie. The Redskins have a play-action offense.


Touchdown, RGIII


Ever notice that every video of duel-threat quarterbacks show them mostly running the ball? Every video cut-up of Robert Griffin III I have seen, even those going back to his Baylor days, emphasize his running plays.

What is conventional wisdom about RGIII? That he should run less often.

What should Kyle Shanahan do to preserve RGIII’s health? Call read-option plays less frequently and fewer quarterback rushing plays.

Horse manure.

No NFL offense ran play-action more frequently in 2012 than did the Washington Redskins according to a report by Football Outsiders. Denver was the only club more effective than Washington at passes from play-action (Den: 10.5 Yds per Play; Was: 10.1 Yds per Play) and no team was more efficient than the Redskins in play-action as measured by FO’s DVOA metric (DVOA with PA: 72.1%).

RGIII’s athletic greatness with the read-option allowed “Mike Shanahan to double his play-action frequency largely due to read-option,” according to this story by Mike Ridley.

Bottom line – all that fancy read-option stuff allowed Shanahan to better run his standard offense as he did with Elway, Plummer and Cutler. No wonder he is discouraging talk that Washington would run read-option less often in 2013.

You might suggest that, to preserve Griffin’s health, the Shanahan’s should run read-option more and play-action less. Shanahan says RGIII’s injuries arose from scrambles on play-action.  

It was once a football truism that you ran the ball to establish the pass.

Then it became you passed the ball to establish the run, usually late in game to kill clock and preserve the lead.

 Now it’s run read-option to establish play-action.

Pro football just became more complicated, and a heck of a lot more fun.

The story and stat table can be found on here. Hog Heaven couldn’t think of a better story to end the week.

Go take a look. We will be here when you get back.

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Anthony Brown

About Anthony Brown

Lifelong Redskins fan and blogger about football and life since 2004. Joined MVN's Hog Heaven blog in 2005 and then moved Redskins Hog Heaven to Bolguin Network. Believes that the course of a season is pre-ordained by management decisions made during the offseason. Can occasionally be found on the This Given Sunday blog and he does guest posts.