Scouting Report: Robert Griffin III gives Redskins 'O' like no other
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The Minnesota Vikings will try to make it four in a row when they visit Washington on Sunday. Sam Monson of ProFootballFocus.com, which breaks down tape from every NFL game, takes an inside look at the Redskins in his weekly scouting report:
The Redskins offense is an entirely different beast if it is led by rookie QB Robert Griffin III. After taking a nasty hit to the head in their game against Atlanta this past week, though, RGIII suffered what is being termed a "mild concussion" and is still a question mark for this game.
When Griffin is on the field, this is one of the most interesting schemes to watch in the NFL, because the Redskins will play to his abilities and break out things rarely seen elsewhere. At times, they have run the triple option and speed option as well as a host of quick, bubble-screen plays and the more traditional Mike Shanahan-style west coast offense staples. What Griffin brings to the table is an athleticism that needs to be respected and an offense unusual in the NFL.
It's not a complicated system, but most of the Vikings defenders won't have seen some of this stuff since college, and the key to defending it is discipline and assignment integrity. If that doesn't happen, gaps break down and the skill players on offense can exploit holes.
Losing OLB Brian Orakpo was a huge blow for Washington, but second-year OLB Ryan Kerrigan has stepped into the void and more than made up for the loss. Kerrigan has four sacks, plus five additional knockdowns, 16 further hurries, a pair of batted passes and even a pick-six against the Falcons last week. Kerrigan has proven to be a far quicker study in his move to 3-4 outside linebacker from college 4-3 defensive end than many suspected he would be, and right now, he is the best player on that defense and the first person the Vikings need to identify on each play.
Obviously, Griffin is vital to the functioning of the offense, but he's not the only weapon. Rookie HB Alfred Morris has emerged as the primary back from the Shanahan stable over the first five games of the season. He has an impressive blend of power, quickness and the ability to make that vital one positive cut and exploit the gap he sees. He makes the option reads for defenses tougher, because they have to respect his ability to pound the football inside just as much as they have to fear allowing Griffin to the edge with space to operate in. At the moment, Morris is fifth in the NFL in rushing and has forced 17 missed tackles on his 100 carries for 491 yards (4.9 average).
When teams face the Vikings, job one is going to be stopping WR Percy Harvin. Given how much Harvin plays in the slot, the majority of that task is going to fall to veteran CB DeAngelo Hall, who plays left corner in base. Hall may still have elite speed, but he struggles to prevent receptions and will likely lose track of Harvin on occasion in the game. Through five games, Hall has allowed 73.5% of targets to be complete and 349 receiving yards. He is very quick to come up against the run, however, and could jump some of the quick passes the Vikings try to feed Harvin. The Vikings might have to run Harvin a little deeper to at least commit Hall into a legitimate coverage pattern before passing if they want to reap the rewards of this matchup.
• DE Stephen Bowen is the only member of the defensive line in Washington to miss a tackle this season, and he has missed just one.
• Griffin has 40 rushing attempts this season, but only 14 of those are scrambles. The rest come from designed draws and option plays.
• Through five games, nine different players have rushed the ball for the Redskins -- including five different running backs.
• LT Trent Williams has allowed just one sack and five hurries through five games. He is emerging into an elite left tackle.
• ILB London Fletcher might be finally showing his age. He has missed seven tackles already this year and now faces Vikings HB Adrian Peterson.