Robert Griffin III will start opener

Updated: September 3, 2013, 10:55 AM ET
By John Keim | ESPN.com

ASHBURN, Va. -- Whatever concerns Dr. James Andrews may have had about Robert Griffin III's knee, they won't keep the Washington Redskins quarterback from starting in Week 1.

Coach Mike Shanahan said that, barring a "crazy setback," Griffin will start the Sept. 9 opener against the Philadelphia Eagles on ESPN's "Monday Night Football."

"He's ready to go, full speed ahead," Shanahan said Monday.

[+] EnlargeRobert Griffin III
Geoff Burke/USA TODAY SportsRobert Griffin III will start at quarterback next Monday night for the Redskins, completing his return from major knee surgery.

And Griffin, the coach said, is able to handle a full offensive workload.

"If we didn't feel Robert was full-go and ready to play and do all the things you ask a guy to do, he would not be playing in this game," Shanahan said. "If that's sprinting out, if it's running the option, if it's drop back, he can do all those things because he proved it to us in practice."

Shanahan would not elaborate on the concerns he said Andrews, who performed the Jan. 9 surgery, had expressed.

Shanahan said Andrews shared concerns with him, as well as with other Redskins doctors and Griffin, before the Redskins' preseason finale Thursday against Tampa Bay. Shanahan said he reiterated those concerns in a conference call Sunday that also involved Griffin and general manager Bruce Allen.

ESPN, citing sources close to the situation, first reported the issue Friday, saying Andrews had expressed concern about how the Redskins plan to use the quarterback in their offense.

Shanahan said that Andrews' concerns were not about anything tactical.

"He said he never said that, and he surely never said that to me," Shanahan said. "I don't think a doctor would ever say anything like that. I'm not sure a doctor would ever say anything that had to do with football.

"You'll have to trust us that the doctor feels good about it regardless of what those concerns were. I'm trying to be honest with you. [There are] certain conversations that stay between a doctor and a player or a coach and a player, this is one of those conversations."

Griffin's start will come exactly eight months after he underwent surgery on the ACL, MCL and LCL in his right knee. After he awoke from surgery, he set a goal of starting in the opener.

Throughout the offseason, Griffin was said to be ahead of schedule. But the Redskins tried to temper expectations, knowing a setback could occur at any time. The team eased Griffin into a full workload during training camp, not having him take any 11-on-11 snaps until the third week.

Shanahan has maintained a cautious optimism regarding Griffin since he returned to full-team work. And he scoffed at the notion that he waited until Monday to name the starter simply to gain a competitive advantage over the Eagles.

"I told you from day one Robert was gonna be our starter unless there was a setback," Shanahan said. "I told you that for the last month, so I don't know why it's a surprise that Robert's our starter. All I said was I talked to Dr. Andrews, who gave him a physical and there were a couple concerns, and I shared that with Robert when he was in my office, and I told [the media] that after the game. So I don't think there's any big surprise that Robert is a starter."

Teammates weren't surprised.

"He looks like Robert," receiver Santana Moss said.

John Keim

ESPN Washington Redskins reporter

Comments

Use a Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook name, photo & other personal information you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment, and may be used on ESPN's media platforms. Learn more.


ALSO SEE