Let's get this out of the way: Robert Griffin III is starting Week 1 against Philadelphia. Barring the remote chance he has a setback -- and that would be a shocker given his steady recovery from torn knee ligaments at the end of last season -- he is going to be under center for the Washington Redskins. That doesn't appear to be an issue at Redskins Park. Oh sure Dr. James Andrews will evaluate the quarterback again at the end of this week after Griffin sits out the preseason finale Thursday at Tampa Bay. But the idea that Griffin would or should sit until the bye week a month into the season isn't grounded in reality. Everything about the way this injury has been handled was with an eye to the opening game and we remain on that path. "He seems to me to just be getting stronger and stronger" said backup quarterback Kirk Cousins himself returning to practice Monday from a minor foot sprain. "I anticipate him being ready to go on Monday night [Sept. 9] and putting on an amazing show." And don't fool yourself into thinking just because Griffin suffered his share of abuse last season particularly in the read-option that the Redskins offense will be drastically different. Because that's not the expectation here either. Perhaps the percentage of plays the Redskins have Griffin out in space pitching the ball with burly defenders darting toward his sinewy frame will decrease slightly. But the overall scheme and philosophies remain the same and the thought is that the unit will be much more potent in 2013 with a second year together running it. If anything the Redskins are actually better primed and prepared to utilize the read option this season than they were a year ago. Back then everyone except for Griffin who thrived in pistol concepts at Baylor was figuring it out as they went along. So figuring a team that won its division last season in this fashion to abandon or marginalize it this season is folly. Griffin must get out of bounds and not overextend plays and better protect himself but the Redskins' offensive identity isn't changing. The best way to protect Griffin is to hand the ball off. Lest we forget Washington was fifth in the NFL in rushing a year ago. Alfred Morris no longer is a rookie running back and should have another monster season. And the entire offensive line -- whose strength is much greater as a collective lacking individual brilliance besides left tackle Trent Williams -- returns as well. Running the ball behind Coach Mike Shanahan's proven zone-blocking scheme and sprinkling in the read-option out on the perimeter makes a lot of sense. So the read-option isn't going anywhere. "Last year the zone read was a work in progress" Cousins said "and somewhat of an experiment and we were learning on the fly and Robert was sort of teaching everyone how it works most effectively. And now you have a more normal installation of the plays where we've done it before and we have clips of it to show guys and it's much more comfortable. That alone should make a big difference. "It's a very effective play and even with a guy like myself who I'm not going to run it 70 yards for a touchdown it's a great changeup. It keeps defenses honest and forces them to think more than just be able to react. It slows them down. There are a lot of benefits even if you don't have a 4.3 guy behind center where it can help you win football games. I think you're going to see it no matter who is in at quarterback. And how much I guess will depend." Without such a fertile run game this offense wouldn't go. During Shanahan's first two seasons here they were chucking the ball all over the place with inadequate quarterbacking. "I remember when we didn't have that run game the first couple of years” veteran receiver Santana Moss said "and we had to throw so much and we didn't get enough out of us. Sit back and throw all the time and everybody is ready for it."
RG3's a go; so is read-option, running game
CBS Sports | Aug 28