Opposing Voice: How do you stop RGIII?

November, 21, 2012
11/21/12
3:38
PM ET

IRVING, Texas -- The Cowboys face another quarterback who runs the read-option and can do many different things against a defense in Washington's Robert Griffin III.

Earlier this season the Cowboys faced Carolina's Cam Newton who runs the read-option, but facing Griffin is a little different.

It seems Griffin is better.

"A lot of the young quarterbacks they cant make decisions on the fly and he's a guy who can run around and string plays out," outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware said. "He's really fast and he can throw the ball as well."

Griffin reminds the Cowboys of Michael Vick, a strong-armed quarterback who is hard to contain when he gets on the move.

But Griffin is more than scrambler.

According to ESPN Stats and Information, Griffin has picked up a league-high 1,230 of his passing yards on play-action passes.

Blitzing him is also difficult.

When defenders sent four or fewer rushers, he's completed 68.3 percent of his passes for 1,708 yards with six touchdowns and three interceptions. Send five or more defenders and Griffin completes 64.9 percent of his throws and has six touchdowns and zero interceptions.

"It's just guys being on top of their game knowing where they need to be," Griffin said of the Redskins offense against the blitz. "Whatever team blitzes you and if they make you hot in football terms, your guys have to be read (the blitz) to make plays for you in those situations. So I think teams have scaled back the blitz because of the ability if the blitz doesn't hit right I can get out and do some things with my legs."

Griffin leads NFL quarterbacks with 613 rushing yards which also places him fourth among rookies in rushing yards.

The Cowboys have to play sound fundamentally against Griffin because of his ability to escape the pocket. However, he's completed just 54.3 percent of his passes outside of the pocket this season.

"He's calm back there for a young guy," defensive coordinator Rob Ryan said. "He doesn’t get rattled too much."

The Cowboys have to get pressure on Griffin in order to mess up the Redskins offense. Overall, the Redskins have the eighth best offense in the NFL at 379.7 yards per game. What's interesting about this is the Redskins are averaging just 214 yards per game as a passing attack, but the 165 yards per game on the ground is impressive.

"It's hard to blitz a guy when you have to keep your option responsibility," Ryan said. "When you start going out all like that, it’s a great thing to do. When it's pass and they don’t block it. You got to be smart and pick you spots or they will go for 76 yards (like Griffin did) against Minnesota or something like that. We don’t like to play that way, we like to limit the big plays get after them and the big thing is we got to hit these guys hard that's the big thing. We got to be big football players on defense and we plan on hitting them hard."
Calvin Watkins joined ESPNDallas.com in September 2009. He's covered the Cowboys since 2006 and also has covered colleges, boxing and high school sports.

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