ASHBURN, Va. (AP) — Put your hands up, Robert Griffin III.
One of the reasons the Washington Redskins rookie quarterback is taking such a beating is that he's so good at pretending that he still has the ball after he's handed it off. It gives defensive players freedom to clobber him over and over.
The solution: Stop pretending, if even it means toning down the trickery.
"Some of the option plays, just make it more clear to the refs — whatever refs we have — that I don't have the ball because then they can't hit me," Griffin said Wednesday. "I guess if I don't come out with my hands up, then they think I have the ball and legally they can hit me.
"So just make it clear to them that I don't have the ball and that if I do get one of those shots, we get 15 yards."
Just three games into his career, Griffin's health has become a significant concern. He's taking hard hits every week. He's been sacked nine times. He already has 32 carries, eight more than any other quarterback. He came up dizzy and was checked for a concussion after one carry in Sunday's 38-31 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals.
There have been plays, said left guard Kory Lichtensteiger, that Griffin looked sprawled "like a question mark" on the field after taking a hit.
"Every Monday we come in here, I'm just kind of looking at him out of the corner of my eye making sure he's OK," Lichtensteiger said. "He's a tough guy, and he's not going to complain about it. But you don't like seeing your quarterbacks, especially a guy that's carrying the load like he is, take those kind of hits."
Griffin is listed at just 217 pounds — 28 pounds lighter than Carolina Panthers agile quarterback Cam Newton, for example — so there's only so much punishment the reigning Heisman Trophy winner can take.
"There's not a person in the league that says, 'Hey, sign me up for a car accident every play,'" Griffin said. "But we know what we signed up for."
To help ease the pain, Griffin and coach Mike Shanahan looked at the video this week and decided that it was time to curtail the magic act with the ball. Stop extending the fake after the handoff.