BEREA - It might not be such a big secret now that Robert Griffin III was able to practice Wednesday with the Washington Redskins.
If the video can be believed, Griffin's injured right knee didn't appear to be hindering him. Of course, he wasn't running an option play in the open field ready to get leveled by a linebacker. He was shown trotting without any sign of a limp.
That's bad news for the Browns' defense but good news for everyone that wants to see more of the NFL's most dynamic rookie, including Browns' fans. It should make for an entertaining Sunday afternoon when the Browns put their three-game winning streak on the line against the Redskins' four-game streak in Cleveland.
The Associated Press
Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III scrambles with the ball during the first half of last week’s game against the Baltimore Ravens.
"I felt good about it Monday morning," Griffin told Washington-area reporters after practice Wednesday. "It felt better yesterday and it feels real good today."
The Browns might need more than good preparation and discipline in trying to corral Griffin. Their only hope is that the first-degree sprain of the lateral collateral ligament in his right knee limits his mobility and makes him stay in the pocket more than normal.
"We're preparing for him to play," Browns linebacker D'Qwell Jackson said. "Their style of offense with the zone read options he runs it well. They're the only team in the NFL that constantly runs this scheme, and it's effective.
"A lot of guys will say it doesn't work in this league and it won't last. They seem to be successful with it. They have the number one rushing offense. RG III is playing well."
The offense run by the Redskins looks like about every college offense seen on Saturday afternoons. Griffin lives out of the shotgun, working the read option and veer. The read option puts stress on the backside defensive end, who's stuck between going after running back Alfred Morris or Griffin. The veer flips the action and puts stress on the playside end.
Griffin's ability to sell the run on the fake opens up the passing game by freezing the linebackers. He's rushed for 748 yards and six touchdowns on 112 carries, and he's thrown for 2,906 yards and 18 touchdowns on 66.4 percent passing. He's thrown just four interceptions.
"When I was at Maryland, the closest and I wouldn't call it a spread offense is when we played Navy with the triple wishbone offense, but they (the Redskins) aren't a wishbone-type of offense," Jackson said. "They don't do a whole lot of passing the ball, but RG III seems to find the guys. It's a credit to their coaches to understand what he's capable of doing. Any time you have a dual threat at quarterback, it creates challenges on the defensive end."
Staying within the defensive scheme will be important for the defensive line and linebackers. The ends are usually the target points of option offenses, but the interior linemen can also be put on the spot.
"We have to make sure that we're doing our jobs and we're sound in our gaps and take care of the little things, and hopefully he'll fall into our laps," tackle Ahtyba Rubin said.
Defensive end Jabaal Sheard hasn't faced an option attack since he was at the University of Pittsburgh two years ago.
"I remember playing against schemes like that against West Virginia," Sheard said. "It's all about discipline and guys staying in their gaps. I either have the running back or the quarterback. I have to remember which one I have on which play."
Not many defenses have made the right choice so far against RG III.