Russell Wilson was drafted 73 picks after Robert Griffin in 2012, but the third-round quarterback has far outplayed the No. 2 overall pick the past three years. While Wilson has established himself as one of the NFL’s elite franchise quartermen, Griffin has turned into a journeyman.
Mike Shanahan admittedly shares some of the blame for Griffin’s initial failure in the NFL, and he points to Wilson as the way Griffin should have played in Washington.
With Griffin now in Cleveland and Shanahan in his third year out of the NFL, the coach who drafted Griffin told MMQB that Griffin can play like 2012 — if he plays like Wilson.
“People say a lot, ‘Well, people caught up to the read option,'” Shanahan said. “But when you take a look at a guy like Russell Wilson in the last two years, he ran the ball 118 times in 2014 and averaged 7.2 yards per carry, and he ran it the next year 103 times. He had more yards than Robert did as a rookie, and Wilson did that in 2014, two years after it was said people (had) caught up to the read option.
“I think the truth is that Colin Kaepernick didn’t run the option anymore, and neither did Robert. And Russell Wilson was very smart at how to slide and how to throw the football away. He continues to put pressure on defenses (and) that makes him one of the top quarterbacks in the NFL.”
Shanahan continued to speak glowingly of Wilson’s ability to run the read option.
“Russell Wilson doesn’t miss many reads,” the coach said. “If there is a question if he should run it or pitch it, he pitches it. If you take the pitch away and you take the (running) back away, then Russell Wilson runs. And Wilson doesn’t care how many yards he gets. He gets as many yards as he can, and then he falls to the ground. You will never see him get hit running the read option, or very seldom, because he knows when to give it, when to keep it, when to slide. And that’s what quarterbacks who run the read option have to do. He knows there is nothing more important than him staying healthy.”
Shanahan is dead on with his assessment of Wilson, who has taken far more hard hits in the pocket than he has while running with the ball. Some idiots continue to question Wilson running with the ball, despite the obvious evidence that he almost never takes hits in the open field. The fact is Wilson needs to take over games with his feet more often — especially considering the crappy line the Seahawks continue to field.