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Tuesday, September 17, 2013
Garcon: RG III slowed by knee brace

By John Keim
ESPN.com

Washington Redskins wide receiver Pierre Garcon pointed out what others outside the organization have said the past two weeks -- Robert Griffin III is not himself.

"Robert obviously can't run as fast as he did last year because of his knee brace and his knee," Garcon told ESPN980 Radio on Tuesday. "But it's the same offense, to be honest with you. It's nothing different. It hasn't changed at all."

What has changed is the number of runs that Griffin has attempted. The star quarterback has carried the ball nine times in the first two games combined, but none off either a designed run or the zone-read option.

Six of Griffin's runs have occurred on scrambles, another on a kneel down and one more when he turned the wrong way on a handoff. The last one wasn't even a run, but Griffin was credited with a run and a fumble on a dropped pitch by running back Alfred Morris.

Last season, Griffin rushed 120 times for 815 yards. The zone-read option has not been as big a factor in Washington's first two games, though the score has dictated that. When the Redskins ran it in Sunday's loss at Green Bay, the Packers sent a linebacker right at Griffin so he had no choice but to hand off.

"Everyone's going to the lack of QB runs," Griffin said Sunday. "If teams will give us the QB runs, then we'll take it. If they're not giving it to us, then we can't just run those plays."

Both the Packers and Philadelphia Eagles have tested his mobility, sending five or more rushers 42 percent of the time. Last year, teams sent five or more on only 21 percent of his snaps. Redskins coach Mike Shanahan reiterated Monday that the Redskins would not play Griffin if he were not considered healthy (and cleared by Dr. James Andrews).

Garcon said the brace on his surgically repaired right knee is to blame.

"Well, when you're walking around with a knee brace or playing with a knee brace, obviously it's slowing you down a little bit," Garcon said. "It's just natural. I don't know how much it weighs, exactly, but you always think about it when you have it on there, and it's a constant reminder.

"It's not gonna let you be the guy you are without the knee brace. When you have something around your knees -- the more equipment you have on, it's obviously distracting you or slowing you down from being as free as loose as yourself without any equipment on."

Not that Garcon wants to see Griffin take off a lot more.

"We don't want him out always to keep running; we want him to throw the ball more, and whenever he has to run, run," Garcon said. "But we don't want him out there running."