Last time the Cowboys and Redskins met, on Thanksgiving Day in Arlington, the Dallas defense was torched by Robert Griffin III to the tune of 303 yards through the air and four touchdowns. The key to ensuring that the rookie won’t have a repeat performance on Sunday, according to linebacker Brady Poppinga--who was out of the league on Thanksgiving--is to hit him, clean but hard.
“I think one thing you have to do with him, especially when you have an option quarterback who’s exposed, is you have to inflict him with pain,” Poppinga said, per the Dallas Morning News. “Not that you’re trying to knock the guy out or anything, but you have to tackle him, and you have to hit him and you have to make it to where the coach says, ‘Look, we need to protect our guy a little more’ and then they implement certain other kinds of running plays and things of that nature.”
The option has worked swimmingly of late for the streaking Redskins, but it also leaves one’s quarterback vulnerable, Poppinga said.
“That’s a lot of the reason that option football isn’t really utilized in the NFL, because the quarterback is exposed. At the end of the day, when he’s running and you don’t know if he’s going to pitch the ball or not, you’ve got to take a clean, legal shot on him and let him know that ‘hey, this is football’,” he said. “He’s a tough kid now. This isn’t a guy who is going shy away from contact and he’s not a guy who I would say one of those smaller kind of guys who tends to get injured a lot. I mean, he’s a hand full. But from a defensive perspective, if he’s going to be exposed in the option, you want to get some good shots on him and you want to test his toughness. He is tough, but you want to test it.”
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