Are they speaking Greek?

I recently was watching Sport Center when I heard one of the commentators say:

“We’ll find out how RG3’s ACL is after we see him run the option from the pistol”.

Seriously!? And they wonder why women don’t watch these shows and why most of us don’t want to watch football. It’s intimidating. It’s confusing. It’s annoying.

That little remark reminded me of watching a show on TV in France and trying to figure out what the actors were saying when I could only understand every 5th word.

We get it!! So, let us break this one down for you:

RG3 – this refers to Robert Griffin III. He was an amazing quarterback for Baylor University in Texas and led them to a fantastic 2011 season for which he won the Heisman Trophy (the first for a Baylor player). He is a guy we can all love. Great smile. Great talent. Military ‘brat’. Seems like an overall terrific guy. He was drafted #2 to the Washington Redskins in 2012 and had a great rookie season until a knee injury.

ACL – this is the anterior cruciate ligament. It’s the ligament that essentially goes right through the middle of the knee. RG3 tore this in January of 2013 during a game and had to have it surgically repaired. But, since he is a very mobile quarterback (one who can run just about as well as he can throw), there is a lot of worry about how he will do on a repaired knee this year.

Option – this is a strategy employed by some offenses. It requires a smart quarterback who can pass AND run. The high-level theory behind the option is that the quarterback starts the play in a certain direction with a running back following behind him. The quarterback watches the defense to see what they think he is going to do and then he tries to do the opposite. For example, if the defense thinks he is going to give the ball to the running back, he might fake doing just that but then pull the ball back at the last second and run himself or even pass it downfield.

Pistol – this is an offensive formation where the quarterback is somewhere in between the center and where he’d be in the shotgun formation, usually 4yds back. Then the running back is lined up behind the QB, whereas in a shotgun, he lines up to one side of the QB. See the diagram below showing a formation under center, in the pistol and in the shotgun to give you an idea.

pistol football

Hope that helps explain a bit on RG3, his knee and the offense the Washington Redskins like to use with him.

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