Chain Reactions: Can the Skins Really Protect RGIII?

Paul Frederiksen-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire

Can the Redskins protect RGIII is now the #1 debate in DC lapping the Strasburg Shutdown in just three short weeks. We examine the who, what, and why on this topic as the Skins get ready for a trip to Tampa Bay.

The Redskins are 1-2 after their 7th straight loss at Fed Ex Field falling to the Bengals 38-31. It was another week where there was plenty of 'wow' when Rookie QB RGIII had the ball.

There was also plenty 'ow' too for the fans who watched the prized franchise quarterback take hit after hit from the Bengals defense that took advantage of the Redskins running a College style option offense.

I do not blame the fan base for freaking out over the constant pounding RGIII continues to take. He is a once and a lifetime type of talent and we want him to play for a long, long time. I can only imagine how Nationals General Manager Mike Rizzo must feel watching this.

So as the Redskins move forward into week 4 with RGIII somehow still standing, the question is can the Redskins protect him without taking away some of best skills?

In this week's "Chain Reactions" we take a closer look at some of the factors in keeping RGIII on the field for the season and beyond and how the NFL is helping out the Skins.

Shanahan's Need to Protect RGIII from Himself

Among the many great things we have learned about Robert Griffin III thru Week 3 is he can take a hit and will keep getting up.

The Bengals figured out quickly that while RGIII and the Skins may gash them with some big runs they were going to be sure to get some big hits on the quarterback since he was fair game as a runner.

Most of the fan base seems ready to see the Skins shift away from all the designed quarterback runs to protect RGIII.

The quarterback meanwhile thinks there are things he can do to help himself.

"On some of the option plays, just make it more clear to the refs or whatever refs we have that I don’t have the ball because then they can’t hit me. But I guess if I don’t come out with my hands up, then they think I have the ball and, legally, they can hit me. So just make it clear to them I don’t have the ball and then if I do get one of those shots, we get 15 yards."

Competitors at RGIII's level will not back away from a challenge or complain about the hits. Instead he will just keep getting off the ground and battling til the next play.

Mike Shanahan also agreed there were things RGIII could do to limit the beating.

"There are probably seven or eight hits in that game that he didn’t have to take at all. And he is going to get better and better at that. One thing we want to make sure is he stays healthy and we want to limit obviously the hits. But that is one thing about the option; you have a chance really not to take a lot of hits. And we looked at that film, and went through it, and we will see how that goes, especially out the shotgun. But he is such a competitor, he wants that ball and he wants to make plays. You are going to have to learn how to slide a little bit and learn how to run out of bounds at the right time, but that is the problem you want."

The other option is to completely toss out the option. That being said, it helped the Redskins get back in a game they were out of for the majority of the first half. It was a nice adjustment by Kyle Shanahan, albeit somewhat dangerous of an adjustment.

The other issue Sunday was the protection was awful especially after Trent Williams went down and Jordan Black came in. Black had little to no reps the week leading up to the game and one of the sacks was actually Kory Lichtensteiger's fault. Black is also the guy who was severely under weight coming into camp and out of football last season.

So if you want RGIII just to be a pocket passer that is not exactly the safest place in Washington these days either. The Right side Tackle Tyler Polumbus appears to playing on roller skates.

A pocket bound RGIII is still going to need to run for his life on many occassions and at least with the designed runs he knows where his blockers are supposed to be and his pitch man.

There are adjustments to be made for sure. I am fortunate enough to work with a former tight end and former running back (Doc Walker and Brian Mitchell). They have been pointing out that the Redskins could use their tight ends and running backs to chip more often, which could help out the tackles. This might be needed if Williams is out this week and Black is in at left tackle.

Another big help for RGIII would be to have Pierre Garcon back on the field. The two had tremendous chemistry and he is explosive and without him in the lineup the Redskins do not have a receiver that scares defenses. He is hoping to return this week.

The other nice part about this offense is it clearly is a work in progress and the game plans seem to change week to week and even half to half as we saw last week. The goal is to win but at the same time the Shanahan's need to make sure their young quarterback is here for the long haul.

Real Refs Certainly Can't Hurt

Thankfully the clown show that was Monday Night Football and the "Immaculate Interception" was the tipping point for the NFL and the NFLRA to get a deal done. So this week the Redskins will have the "regulars" back on the field and the scabs can go back to the Lingerie Football League (unless they were fired already) and low level CFB fields.

It will be tough for these guys to live up to the legendary status they gained over the last few months, but let's be honest things can not be any worse than they have been.

This could be great news for the Redskins and RGIII. The one thing that used to drive all of us crazy about the regular referees is the over protection of quarterbacks more specifically star quarterbacks. Guess what we have one of those guys now. So let the flags fly when anyone gets in RGIII's area code.

I would also expect the post whistle order to be restored which has helped slow down games and get players (Josh Morgan) in trouble in the past. The other thing we can expect is the games to keep moving. The pace has been a joke for with the replacements.

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