Oct 20, 2013; Landover, MD, USA; Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III (10) rolls out against the Chicago Bears during the first half at FedEX Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
KUSA - Denver faces another "running" quarterback but with a twist: This guy can actually throw the ball.
Washington's Robert Griffin III has a little more proven passing ability than say Terrelle Pryor or Michael Vick. And the Broncos' defense will be looking at Griffin on Sunday like those who surprised them in Denver's wins against Oakland and Philadelphia.
Pryor was held to 36 yards rushing but threw for 281 yards passing when the Broncos beat the Raiders; Vick ran for just 41 yards but threw for 248 in the Eagles' loss at Denver. But Griffin has averaged 6.1 yards a carry this season and 291.0 yards passing per game.
"I definitely would put RGIII above them, just by his throwing abilities," Broncos cornerback Chris Harris said this week of the trio of QBs Denver has faced. "He's getting more comfortable and has improved every game."
Returning from major knee surgery in the offseason, Griffin has rushed for 161 yards on 20 carries in the past two games after the Week 5 bye. In the first four games, he had a combined 72 yards on 18 carries as they opened the season 1-3.
Washington has rushed for more than 200 yards in the past two games after averaging 106 yards in the first four.
In last week's 45-41 win against Chicago, the second-year quarterback had season-highs of 11 carries for 84 yards; he also was 18-of-29 passing for 298 yards with two TDs and one interception. They had a season-high 499 yards of total offense and 45 point. He has thrown eight TDs and six interceptions this season.
"He did a good job running the football last week. I think he's just getting comfortable back with his knee," Broncos linebacker Wesley Woodyard said. "He's one of the players, me as an NFL guy, I respect watching him play. It's good seeing him back there full-speed, and comfortable on that knee. ... We expect a little running from him, definitely."
Helping the Washington running game was the emergence of tight end Jordan Reed. The rookie from the University of Florida had nine catches for 134 yards and a touchdown last week.
While Redskins coach Mike Shanahan makes his return to Denver for the first time since being fired in December 2008, it's his son, Kyle, who is coordinating the Washington offense.
Kyle, who is a Cherry Creek High School grad, has spent the past two seasons working Griffin into their scheme. Washington has improved as Griffin's knee gets stronger, and they have started to incorporate the no-huddle a bit more this season.
"We did it in Dallas [Week 5] a little bit and had some mixed reviews there," Kyle Shanahan said this week. "I thought it was the best for us last week. I think it's something that definitely helps us."
Denver's rushing defense remains tops in the NFL, allowing 77.1 yards per game. Denver has not allowed a 100-yard rusher, and the most yards to one player was the 73 yards by Philadelphia's LeSean McCoy.
The Broncos' defense continues to adjust personal with Von Miller's return, but Champ Bailey back out. Miller played his first game last week after serving a six-game suspension. Bailey played against Jacksonville then Indianapolis but left that game and did not return after he re-injured his sprained left foot, which he initially hurt in the preseason.
"Von did some good things and did some things he'll do better as we keep going," defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio said this week. "I think it was good for him to get his first game action in a number of weeks. He knocked a little bit of the rust off from not having played. We know he's a dynamic player and [we're] glad to have him back. He should be a week better."
Added Mike Shanahan of Miller: "It always takes a guy a game or two to get back in shape. I'm sure he's no different. He looked good when he was out there."
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