Perhaps it was a response to the fact that his receivers couldn't catch a cold at that point in his team's Sunday loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, but Washington Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan let himself in for a lot of second-guessing after one play in that 27-12 game. With 4:27 left in the first half, quarterback Robert Griffin III flipped the ball to receiver Josh Morgan on a reverse. Griffin then ran downfield to catch a pass that Morgan threw with questionable velocity, and RG3 had to hold up to try and catch it.
After the ball bounced off Griffin's hands (perhaps he was inspired by a receiver corps that dropped double-digit balls on the day), the quarterback was flagged for offensive pass interference and drilled by Steelers safety Ryan Clark.
For a coach who's expressed concern about Griffin running around in and out of the pocket and getting himself hurt, Shanahan's play call certainly didn't make a lot of sense.
Shanahan said on Monday that while he's tried that play with other mobile and athletic quarterbacks he's coached, whether as a head coach (in John Elway's case) or offensive coordinator (Steve Young), this one really didn't work out as planned.
"After looking at that play, you feel like a complete dumb[bleep] because you want [Griffin] to be wide open. I've run that play probably 10, 15 times with Elway, probably 20 times or more with Steve Young. With Robert, what you usually do is against the right defense — which is man coverage — no one usually accounts for the quarterback and he's by himself out there."
The Steelers, however, did.
"With Josh Morgan, he takes off and he's got such confidence in his arm, and he lets it go and probably could've thrown it another 10 yards," the coach said. "Robert's so competitive that he goes for that ball, and that one safety that comes over just killed him. Yeah, I felt like to do it over again, we'd tell Josh don't throw it unless he's wide open, I mean wide open. Of course from his perspective, he was.
"But that's part of the growing process for me and having the guys throw a pass from the backfield."
Another part of the growing process might be to keep your marquee quarterback in the pocket, and teaching your receivers to hang on to the football when it comes to them.
Just a thought, coach.