How Robert Griffin Has Pioneered the Option Offense in the NFL

Chris RolingFeatured ColumnistDecember 3, 2012

LANDOVER, MD - DECEMBER 03:  Quarterback Robert Griffin III #10 of the Washington Redskins runs for a 46-yard gain as he is taken down by  Stevie Brown #27 of the New York Giants in the second half at FedExField on December 3, 2012 in Landover, Maryland.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images

Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III has managed to take the NFL by storm thanks to his unique set of abilities that allow him to torch the league's defenses thanks to a unique option offense. 

Griffin is one of the NFL's most electric players despite only being a rookie. Washington selected RG3 with the No. 2 overall pick in last year's draft and have subsequently tailored the Redskins offensive attack to perfectly suit Griffin's skill set. 

Combining a high football I.Q., a great passing ability and speed that is almost unrivaled in the NFL and a playbook suited for the combination have allowed Griffin to abuse NFL defenses left and right. 

Redskins offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan had a large task in front of him this past offseason when asked to dial up an offensive attack that would perfectly suit a talented player such as Griffin.

What did Shanahan do? He elected to bring a college-esque offense to the NFL that would allow Griffin to make a split-second decision after the ball is snapped as to whether he will run with it, hand it off or throw it. 

The results have been magnificent. 

In 12 contests, Griffin has thrown for 2,660 yards, 17 touchdowns and four interceptions. He's earned a jaw-dropping 104.6 quarterback rating while completing a ridiculous 67.4 percent of his passing attempts. Thanks to the option offense, Griffin has also rushed the ball 105 times for 714 yards and six touchdowns, giving him a ludicrous nine yards per carry average.

The benefits of the option offense don't stop with Griffin. His starting running back, a sixth-round rookie in Alfred Morris, has rushed for 982 yards and six touchdowns with a 4.7 yards-per-carry average. 

Washington currently has the No. 8 scoring offense in the entire NFL thanks to the option, with 27 points scored per game. Behind Griffin and Morris the Redskins have the best rushing attack in the league with 164 yards on the ground per game. 

Griffin is the one quarterback in the league teams simply aren't sure how to prepare for just yet. It's a difficult task for a defense to not only account for the rushing efficiency of both Griffin and Morris, but to account for the passing prowess of the rookie as well. 

Defenses have to properly read and react to what Griffin is doing, or essentially predict how he is going to read the defense. All personnel on the defensive side of the ball have to stay at home or Griffin will make the correct read and torch the defense. 

It's no secret that Griffin will at times receive upward of 10 carries per game as essentially the second running back on the depth chart thanks to the option. He won't power through defensive lines in the red zone like a Cam Newton will, rather, he'll break the big gains that either score or put his team in a great position to score.

The genius behind the option offense in Washington is Kyle Shanahan, but Griffin is what makes it work. The attack seemingly gets better and better every week, which has allowed Griffin to flourish in his development. 

Griffin has managed to make the option offense work better than any variation of it we have seen before. He's a special talent that has an exceptionally bright future in the league. 

What's exciting is the future of the offense in Washington. Griffin will only continue to improve as a pocket passer, meaning he will only provide further headaches for defenses around the league. 

Griffin is currently pioneering an offense once not thought possible in the NFL, but if we're lucky, the best it yet to come.