Robert Griffin III: 'I can run more'

Updated: September 19, 2013, 11:47 AM ET
By John Keim | ESPN.com

ASHBURN, Va. -- Robert Griffin III said the Washington Redskins' offense needs a spark.

And he knows where it can come from: his legs.

"I can run more," Griffin said.

After running nine times in the first two games, none on designed runs or off the zone read-option, Griffin is ready for more.

Circumstances can explain why he has fewer runs (he averaged 7.5 carries per game last season). The Redskins (0-2) have been behind by a combined 50-7 in the first half of both games. The defense has allowed a combined 1,023 yards. The offense turned over the ball three times in the season opener and has converted just 5-of-21 third downs.

But Griffin's legs provided an extra dimension last season, something that has been missing. Teams were reluctant to send extra rushers while also playing man coverage, fearing what would happen if the rookie quarterback broke outside the pocket.

Through two games, that hasn't been the case.

Griffin said the offense needs energy. His running provides that lift.

[+] EnlargeRobert Griffin III
Jeff Hanisch/USA TODAY SportsRobert Griffin III wants to provide a spark to the Redskins' offense, and is ready to step up his running game to do so.

"I'll do whatever we have to do to win the game," he said. "That's always been my mindset. I'm the quarterback. If I have to create that energy, if I have to spit a rap line in the huddle, I'll do it. Whatever it takes to get that energy."

After the Jan. 9 surgery on his knee, and with others, including his dad, saying they didn't want him to run as much, some wondered if this was a new direction for Griffin and the offense. Griffin says it isn't.

Coach Mike Shanahan said they've been in their two-minute offense more than their regular attack in the first two games.

"The plays are in, they're ready to run, and I'm ready to run them," Griffin said. "We just haven't had a chance to do them because we've fallen behind too much.

"It's not that I want to run more, I just feel like that's what we need and if that's what it takes for us to win games, I'm willing to do that. It's not anything I'm going to shy away from."

But he won't run just to run. When the Redskins used the zone read-option against Green Bay last Sunday, for example, the Packers sent a linebacker right at Griffin to force a handoff. When they rushed him, the ends stayed wide and they blitzed the middle, keeping him contained.

"It's not going out and running to prove other people wrong or prove other people right," Griffin said. "You have to do it when the time arises, and I haven't had those opportunities in those first two games. Hopefully I'll get that opportunity in this game and it will be a spark for our team."

Griffin, refuting teammate Pierre Garcon's assertion, said the brace on his right knee hasn't slowed him down. Shanahan said he can't see a difference.

"I've seen in practice that he's got some pretty good speed," Shanahan said. "Is it the same speed it was before? I can't tell you that, but I do know it's a much different game when you get behind by 20, 30 points … We're not going to abandon our offense. I know we haven't been very impressive, but we still have a lot of confidence in what we're doing."

John Keim

ESPN Washington Redskins reporter

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