The Washington Redskins and their rookie pin-up quarterback Robert Griffin III have finally grasped the four-leaf clover that has been swirling over the team since the beginning of the season when they discovered how good running back Alfred Morris is. Now that they have it, it's starting to look like they won't let go of it.
With all luck they continue to receive, it's easy to believe that this is the beginning of an NFL fairytale bound to end with more than RGIII on the wall. That fairytale should continue this week with their next opponent, the Baltimore Ravens.
According to the Baltimore Sun, it has been uncovered that left outside linebacker Terrell Suggs has a torn biceps, but is listed as questionable. Yes, Suggs is just one piece, but the Ravens defense is already without Ray Lewis due to a torn triceps, and they rank 25th in the NFL in total defense. Furthermore, the pro bowl linebacker/defensive end is a critical piece in stopping the damage that Griffin III is going to cause come Sunday. Why?
Two words: edge speed.
Forget about his historical numbers, accolades and notoriety. The most important thing Suggs offers when it comes to this week's match-up against the rookie phenom is his ability to seal off the edge with his speed at the snap of the ball. It's something that has been so key this season in keeping Griffin immobile and in the pocket. Below is an illustration of this from the Redskins Week 9 match up against the Panthers.
What you see is the path that defensive ends Charles Johnson and Frank Alexander will take to disallow Griffin III to break contain on either side of the field. Johnson is the visible pass rusher who will use his speed to get around the offensive tackle and to Griffin III. Alexander will try and do the same thing but will also hold contain if Johnson gets to him faster.
As you can see here both Johnson and Alexander have the offensive tackles angled perfectly, and Griffin III has a long ways to go if he wants to roll out of the pocket. They will continue to push on that same angle without making any kind of moves inside, which would allow Griffin III the running lane he is waiting for.
At this point this play is winding down and Griffin III has to make a decision, especially with Johnson just a yard away from bringing him down. Griffin III doesn't throw the ball away, and instead takes the sack upon stepping up in to the very small pocket that the defensive tackles collapse very quickly.
Did you notice where...