I’ve tried to avoid even any thought of a growing cavernous divide between Robert Griffin III and his head coach Mike Shanahan, both here and generally in my life. The latter is more difficult, since reading and consuming NFL content is sort of what I do. But I strongly suggest that you take the necessary steps to rid yourself of this senseless noise.
The matter can be summarized quickly, and thusly: an injured quarterback wants to play quarterback more, and his coach won’t let him (yet) because it’s his job to ensure the injured quarterback is brought along slowly. The injured quarterback is displeased, though he understands, while coach and team move forward. OK then, done.
Of course, this tender approach didn’t happen late last season after Griffin initially suffered his knee injury, a misstep which is maybe effecting Shanahan’s approach now. If that’s the case, good. We, as humans, have the cognitive ability to learn from our mistakes. In this case, Shanny is the child who thought licking the frozen pole in winter would be fun. Never again.
What we care most about around here and what we continue to care most about for fantasy footballing purposes is Griffin’s availability on Sept. 9, when the Redskins open their season against the Eagles. And we’re still being reminded that one rather important hurdle which seems like a formality needs to be cleared.
Specifically, the last hurdle: blissful, final clearance for game action.
Earlier this week before he was preempting Shanahan’s press conferences to tell us that he does, in fact, not hate his coach passionately, Griffin defiantly said there’s “no doubt” he’ll play in Week 1. He did that a few days before he participated in an 11-on-11 drill for the first time, an obvious indication that his knee is still progressing swimmingly, and that he hasn’t experienced a setback. Prompted by those words, I then examined his current ADP, coming to the conclusion that although fantasy fiends are rightly assuming he’ll play in Week 1, there may be just a little too much hope that he’ll produce elite numbers immediately after facing no contact throughout the entire preseason.
Officially, though, it still hasn’t been decided if Griffin will be the Redskins’ Week 1 starting quarterback, a fact ProFootballTalk reminded us of last night through a source:
The source says it’s “premature” to talk about Griffin playing in Week One, although he definitely wants to play, he remains on target to play, and he hopes he’ll be cleared to play.
A final decision will be made by Shanahan after he consults with Dr. Death, who’s otherwise known as Dr. James Andrews.
It would — seemingly, presumably — take a significant setback at this point for Kirk Cousins to appear under center against the Eagles. Griffin is practicing in a full capacity with the first-team offense, and doing so at full speed. But if it was even needed, this functions as caution to the prospective Griffin owner in the upcoming weeks that will be busy with fantasy drafts.
At some point, it would be comforting to see Griffin face contact and get whacked a few times in August so fantasy owners could know his knee can take that abuse, and he’ll then bounce back up, and scramble for 15 yards on the next play. We were gifted that luxury in August of 2009, when Tom Brady took preseason snaps after missing nearly the entire 2008 season following a torn ACL.
That won’t happen with Griffin, so at least a small element of risk you have to be comfortable with will remain.