The Washington Redskins had the league’s best run game (as ranked by ESPN) in the 2012 season behind the Redskins average of 169.3 yards per game. Rookie running back Alfred Morris carried the ball for 1,613 yards and quarterback Robert Griffin III carried the ball for 815 yards as well.
They isntalled a read-option package last season and back up quarterback Kirk Cousins says that is here to stay even if he is starting at quarterback in place of an injured RG3.
“Last year the zone read was a work in progress,” Cousins said, via CBS Sports, “and somewhat of an experiment, and we were learning on the fly and Robert was sort of teaching everyone how it works most effectively. And now you have a more normal installation of the plays, where we’ve done it before and we have clips of it to show guys, and it’s much more comfortable. That alone should make a big difference.
“It’s a very effective play, and even with a guy like myself who, I’m not going to run it 70 yards for a touchdown, it’s a great changeup. It keeps defenses honest and forces them to think more than just be able to react. It slows them down. There are a lot of benefits even if you don’t have a 4.3 guy behind center, where it can help you win football games. I think you’re going to see it, no matter who is in at quarterback. And how much, I guess, will depend.”
Wide receiver Santana Moss is happy their running game has become more successful.
“I remember when we didn’t have that run game the first couple of years,” Moss said, “and we had to throw so much and we didn’t get enough out of us. Sit back and throw all the time, and everybody is ready for it.”
The various threats in the running game poise a problem for defenses.
“You’ve got so many different sets and formations and about four or five people in the backfield and you don’t know who is going to get the ball,” said Redskins linebacker Brian Orakpo. “It’s a zone-read option with the option on the backside. For a pass rusher or D line, it’s very tough. That’s why they were top five [in rushing] with a lot of rookies. Now they’ve got another year under their belt and have a chance to be even better. I’m glad I’m not playing against that myself.”