We’ve reached a breaking point in the Robert Griffin III watch.
In hindsight, most of the perceived insanity has actually seemed quite sane. We expected enough reporters to populate a small country to descend upon Redskins training camp, with every movement and every word dissected. That’s why shows based on arguing unanswerable narrative talking points have spent much of August wondering if Griffin wants his head coach Mike Shanahan to walk through traffic. Sensible minds knew the root of any supposed discomfort: it was simply an elite athlete burning to ease his competitive desires, and a coach looking out for his best interests, nothing more.
Fans and media alike have grasped for any morsel of practice footage to analyze Griffin and his relative quarterback-ness post-injury. Is there any kind of hesitancy in his drop back? Can he cut without pain, and run laterally? What about his throwing motion? Is it still crisp? That last question was the subject of some scrutiny from Ron Jaworski, who spotted a small flaw in Griffin’s mechanics while repeatedly watching tape of his warmup throws prior to a preseason game, a game that he didn’t appear in, of course.
But today, on this fine late August afternoon with the calendar nearly set to flip over to September and greet us with glorious regular-season football, we finally and forever crossed the rubicon of good sense. I’m impressed it took this long.
Somewhere deep in an ESPN bunker, Trey Wingo received an e-mail, a text, or possibly even that other kind of communication which requires you to actually put the phone to your ear. Then he had some hot sprots news on his hands, and he delivered the goods to our frothing mouths.
Sources telling me the “concerns” about @RGIII have less to do with health of the knee, much more on how the team plans to use him
— trey wingo (@wingoz) August 30, 2013
This came after Dr. James Andrews had officially cleared Griffin for Week 1 last night, but somewhat curiously Shanahan then said after Washington’s preseason win over Tampa that there are still concerns which will be discussed over the weekend. He then departed without officially and formally naming Griffin the Week 1 starter.
Fellow news pusher Adam Schefter followed with more…
What @wingoz also reports: Dr. Andrews does not want Redskins to expose RGIII’s knee to punishment during games.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) August 30, 2013
Then inevitably, Andrews responded with a denial…
Dr. Andrews disputes ESPN report on his “concerns” about RG3′s use. Via text: “Not true. Team will use [Griffin] appropriately. No concerns”
— Brian McNally (@bmcnally14) August 30, 2013
Hmmm, there’s an old-timey movie reference to be had here somewhere. Ahh, there it is.
Sort of, but what we really have is an illustration of how our thirst for news can lead the news gatherers astray. I’m not meaning to pick on Schefter and Wingo, as they’re just the example here. Upon receiving the original information, a moment of pause should have taken place in which this important yet simple question was pondered: when was it determined, exactly, that doctors get to have any influence on a player’s in-game use, and how a team goes about trying to win games?
When he’s playing doctor, Andrews’ job is to first perform the surgery. Then he monitors the recovery and healing, and finally there’s the crucial step of determining if the player is ready for game action. That last evaluation includes assessing whether or not the injury has healed sufficiently enough to take a hit from any angle, at any area of the field.
If Andrews examined Griffin and determined that, yes, he is ready to play and the knee can sustain any blow, everything beyond that is out of his hands. It doesn’t matter what he thinks about the Redskins’ game plan or their usage of Griffin, because that’s far removed from his area of influence. If Griffin has been cleared (which he has), then how he’s used is under the job description of both Shanahans.
What Andrews said or didn’t say carries little significance then. But it mattered a lot to one particular on-air host, and from there the web was spun, with reaching inferences for larger meaning made.
Less than a week until the regular season starts, guys.