Robert Griffin III walked around the locker room without a limp Monday. That in itself is surprising, given the number of times he was hit in Sunday’s 38-31 loss.
He ran the ball 12 times and was sacked six times and was hit countless others after handing off or pitching the ball.
“You don’t want him taking the hits he’s exposed to,” Redskins linebacker London Fletcher said. “He’s a tough guy, he’s young, but in the same sense you don’t want to expose him to as many hits, especially unnecessary hits if he’s in the pocket.
“He’s talented so right now the coaching staff will take advantage of his talent and the pressure it puts on a defense, to be able to prepare for him, to stop him, trying to figure out the read when he has the ball and then gives it to the running back. It’s a part of our offense and it’s been successful for us.”
Fletcher said defenses want to punish a quarterback, but not to the detriment of the team.
“You can’t get so caught up in saying I hit the quarterback,” Fletcher said, “because if he gives the ball to the running back and they’re gashing you for 15, 20 yards a run, then your strategy isn’t good. The main thing is you have to figure out to stop the person on the ball. It puts a lot of pressure on you. He’s so fast that even though many want to hit him, they may not be able to catch him most of the time.”
Guard Kory Lichtensteiger said all the hits on Griffin are “a concern”.
“Every Monday I look at him out of the corner of my eye, making sure he’s OK,” Lichtensteiger said. “He’s a tough guy and he won’t complain about it, but you don’t like seeing your quarterback, especially a guy carrying the load, taking those kinds of hits.”
But, Lichtensteiger said, “If he’s hurting, he’s fooled me.”
Coach Mike Shanahan said the flow of the game — as well as down and distance – dictates how many times they’ll have Griffin run.
“You’re trying to keep defenses off-balance and we’ll do what we think gives us the best chance to win,” Shanahan said. “No, you don’t want a quarterback taking as many shots as he did yesterday, that’s for sure.”
Griffin’s toughness and ability to (thus far) bounce back up impressed his teammates.
“It’s encouraging,” Lichtensteiger said. “A couple times he’s laying as crooked as a question mark on the ground and he’s not moving and he slowly peels himself back up. It’s good for us. We’re not taking those hits so if he can get up after that than anybody should be able to.”
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