Everybody’s talking about the Redskins' Pistol offense like it’s the silver bullet for all attacking woes. Maybe it is. But let’s not kid ourselves---most NFL teams don’t have a quarterback who can run three yards, let alone the read-option style RG3 has made his own.
In the event league copycats defy common sense---and clubs like the Texans cock the Pistol with bulky Matt Schaub, or the Ravens with gangly Joe Flacco---rest assured Washington will be ready with a range of other weapon-monikered approaches.
We list them for the first time here on Why Football Is Cool:
The Cannon: A tailback and vintage WW1 cannon line up on either side of RG3, eight feet from center. Once the ball is snapped, RG3 can fake to his running mate who cuts left, or drop the ball into the mouth of the cannon, light the fuse, and fire downfield 70 yards to an open receiver. The key wrinkle is that RG3 can stuff himself into the cannon like Wile E. Coyote for a more dangerous but spectacular TD attempt, if he chooses.
The Slingshot: A difficult maneuver which, much like the banjo, requires strong fingers and a sense of rhythm. RG3 lines the team up in the I formation. On the snap, he shuffles back two quick steps, where the tailback (standing behind) hooks two fingers into Griffin's pants, on the belt line. He holds, then pirouettes, while simultaneously dragging the QB around in a circle---like a hammer thrower in the Olympics---before spinning him to the flat, where RG3 will either regather his balance and follows blockers downfield, or catapult into the opposition's coaching staff on the sideline. A win-win really.
The Trojan Horse: An excellent goal line play inspired by rugby tactics, in which RG3 runs a play action, but as he withdraws the ball from the stomach of his tailback, hides it under his jersey. Both QB and RB tumble into the o-line clutching at their stomachs. Here’s the fun part: A wide receiver will circle back behind the line of scrimmage to collect the ball dropped by RG3 between his legs. The wideout then continues around the edge, and downfield for the score. Arm-in-arm singing and beer drinking ensue.
The Bow and Arrow: This is absolutely unstoppable---if it's snowing, or foggy. RG3 lines up in the Pistol, so the defense is back on its heels. When the ball is snapped he fakes the hand off to one side, and all three backs quickly adopt the pose of an archer, which suitably mimics a throwing play. The defense can’t tell who's tossing the ball, and holds for a moment, at which time Griffin charges up the middle. This is a trusty third down play, and looks even better if you have a 6’5" Jamaican sprinter in your backfield.
The Grenade: As the name suggests, this is both an explosive play, and one with limited accuracy. There are two receivers either side, and a fullback comes in for extra protection. The ball is hiked to RG3 who spins around, now with his back to the defense. It’s imperative that the fullback levels any incoming rushers. The QB holds for a second, then heaves the ball with one cupped hand over the opposite shoulder, as if tossing a grenade. He should ideally aim for a corner, away from the fray, because this is essentially a short-field Hail Mary. (The play is otherwise known as the Three Hail Marys, due to the incredible blind faith required).