The mobile quarterback presents both a problem, and a solution to a problem. Like Michael Vick before him, just five games into his career this is the difficult existence of Robert Griffin III.
He allows the offensive coordinator to pursue creative avenues that were otherwise unimaginable before. Options, roll outs, and designed runs can be executed with ease using the quarterback’s elite athleticism, and until defenses adjust (and they always do) there’s an element of surprise.
The problem is that inviting such a unique scheme has consequences, namely repeated blows to the head and other areas of the body which aren’t designed to sustain such punishment. We assumed there would eventually be some kind of breakage with RG3 if he kept running and exposing himself with such frequency, and in Week 5 the inevitable became reality when he sustained a concussion against the Falcons.
He’s progressed quickly all week, and he’s now practiced for two straight days. So surely later today we’ll find out that Griffin has been cleared to play this Sunday against the Vikings, news that will be met with glee, with bodies doused in champagne, and maybe even body shots throughout fantasyland. Go crazy, kids, it’s Friday.
But if those good vibes are to last, you need to hope that Griffin is protected a little more. And right now, there’s no reason to even consider inviting that hope into your life. Tell us why, Redskins offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan.
From the Washington Times:
If concussed quarterback Robert Griffin III is cleared to play against the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday, offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan would not change his playcalling to protect him.
“If I went into a game thinking I had to call a different game because if he got hit he’s going to be hurt, then he shouldn’t be playing. If he’s cleared, he’s cleared – he’s OK. That’s my assumption.”
Sure, that statement is true for all injured players. If an injured player is declared healthy enough to play, then he can and should be used in his normal capacity.
But Griffin isn’t all players. He’s a franchise player, so altering a game plan so that he doesn’t get hit 18 times a game as he did over the first three weeks of the season is probably advisable. That will maintain the bone structure of both the Redskins’ offensive anchor for the next decade, and the third highest fantasy point producer.
Griffin doesn’t need to stop running, because such an extreme measure would entirely erase his Griffin-ness. But a better balance needs to be found that still utilizes his unique talents, but decreases his exposure.
And now the links part of the links post…
- Jermichael Finley has been the leading disappointment at his position, averaging just 39.6 yards per game, a stretch of stink highlighted by his three catches for 11 yards most recently in Week 5. He thinks he lacks chemistry with his quarterback, and he’s blaming Aaron Rodgers, which seems like a pretty awful way to build chemistry. [Total Packers]
- Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller aren’t more than flex plays this week. [The Fake Football]
- Rashard Mendenhall left last night’s game due to complications with his ACL injury, although this latest setback didn’t appear to be overly serious because he still stood on the sideline in full pads. This is how an ACL recovery is supposed to look, as there will be setbacks, struggles, swelling, and other pleasures. The Herculean returns by Adrian Peterson and Jamaal Charles are far from the norm. [Adam Levitan]
- Ike Taylor was burned repeatedly by Matt Hasselbeck, as he allowed completions on eight of the 13 balls thrown in his direction. [Pro Football Focus]
- Mike Pouncey was one of the 27 Steelers offensive linemen to get injured last night, and he likely has an MCL issue. That kind of injury usually requires a two-to-six week absence, depending on the severity. [Pittsburgh Tribune Review]
- Mario Williams says he sucks partly because of a wrist injury. Well good, that should shut Bills fans up in a hurry. [Pro Football Weekly]