Tuesday, October 9, 2012
The RG3 watch continues
By Dan Graziano
No, in answer to many questions, there has been no news yet today on the condition of Washington Redskins rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III. There's not likely to be any today, either, since the Redskins don't practice or speak to the media on Tuesdays.
The next development in this story is likely to come Wednesday, when Griffin either does or does not practice, and it's possible a final answer on Griffin's status for Sunday will have to wait until the weekend. Every concussion case is different. Some guys go through all of the testing and get cleared to play the following week. Some do not. Until we hear otherwise, it remains possible that Griffin will have to miss Sunday's game against the Minnesota Vikings.
What we do have on Griffin today are a couple of things. First, there's this Ed Werder video which deals with the idea of the injury as a potential teaching opportunity for the Redskins as they work with Griffin on ways to keep him safe in the long term. There's also this Insider piece from Gary Horton on just how much trouble the Redskins would be in if they had to play for a while without Griffin and fellow rookie Kirk Cousins had to replace him:
On Sunday, Cousins was a mixed bag of good passes and also a couple of costly interceptions, but the coaches have seen enough of him to feel comfortable about his ability to run this offense. He doesn't have RG3's arm strength, so the vertical passing game will likely not be a big part of the game plan, but Cousins has good short-to-intermediate passing skills and possesses the necessary accuracy and ability to hit receivers as they come out of their breaks. He also does a good job of reading coverages and we could see the continuation of the shotgun formation with some no-huddle looks to take advantage of his ability to find good one-on-one matchups.
Even though Cousins isn't in the same stratosphere as RG3 in terms of movement skills and scrambling, he can still run the play-action bootleg passing game because that is what their zone blocking offense does. But he will not tuck the ball and run with any regularity, and we may see more two-tight end sets and a lot of short-to-intermediate crossing routes. If this offense has to play with Cousins, the good news is that the Redskins have developed a legitimate run game in the last couple of weeks with rookie Alfred Morris. With RG3 out of the lineup, the coaches will call a much more conservative game with a heavy emphasis on the run -- which could really help Cousins in his play-action package.
I, too, assume Cousins would get the start if Griffin can't go. But the Redskins haven't said so, and the possibility remains that Rex Grossman could be called upon to step in and direct the offense as he did for 13 of the Redskins' games last season. Cousins replaced Griffin on Sunday because Grossman was inactive, as he has been for every game. But if faced with the prospect of playing a whole game without Griffin, the Redskins could decide Grossman gives them a greater comfort level due to his knowledge of and experience with the offense.
Regardless, the Redskins will surely lose something if they have to play without Griffin, who has directed them to a 28-points-per-game average so far this year. If Redskins fans can't imagine life without Griffin, that's by choice, since it wasn't that long ago. But how could you blame them?