By Tarik El-Bashir
The NFL’s 18th-ranked rusher is not a running back.
It’s Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III, who in two games has carried the ball 20 times for 124 yards. The next quarterback on the list is Carolina’s Cam Newton, who has 75 yards on 18 carries.
If Griffin maintains this pace, he'll finish his rookie season with 160 carries. Newton led all quarterbacks last season with 126 attempts.
“I think it will die down over the course of the year,” Griffin said. “Some games I’ll carry the ball 10 times. Some games I’ll carry the ball two times. It’s just a matter of how defenses are going go play.”
Although Griffin has not suffered an injury, the high number of carries figures to expose him to the possibility. A prime example came in the second quarter Sunday, when Griffin was drilled in the neck and back of the head as he scrambled for 15 yards up the middle.
Griffin said he expected to be sore Monday morning but wasn’t. He also said he attempts to avoid getting hit as much as possible.
“I try to,” he said. “On designed runs, I can’t really give it to anyone. I just have to go out there and try to make something happen. But on some of the runs where I break the pocket, I do try to dump it off to guys and stretch it out as much as I can. There’s always ways to avoid hits. But some of the hits I was getting in this past game were unavoidable.”
Griffin said he wasn’t concerned about getting hit in high school. But as a sophomore at Baylor, Coach Art Briles began talking to him about weighing risk vs. reward.“Coach taught me to get what you can, but protect yourself and get down,” Griffin said. “I’ve become pretty good at avoiding hits, or avoiding the bigger hits. There were a couple times [against the Rams] they were leading with their helmets and I had to dodge them. It’s just something that I’ve been accustomed to: being able to move my body that way.”