Every year, a strange trend emerges when it comes to the team-by-team injury reports. This year, the early habit we’ve spotted is an overuse of the “questionable” designation by the Redskins.
“Questionable” means that a player has a 50-50 chance of playing. In each of the first three weeks of the 2010 season, the Redskins have used “questionable” extensively and “probable” not a single time.
As we explained last week, this approach allows the Redskins to jumble together the injured players who’ll play with the injured players who won’t play, making it harder for the opponent (and gamblers without inside information) to figure out which of the injured players is too injured to suit up.
This week, the players with the “questionable” designation are receiver Anthony Armstrong (groin), defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth (ankle), safety Chris Horton (ankle), safety LaRon Landry (wrist), safety Kareem Moore (knee), running back Clinton Portis (wrist), and tackle Trent Williams (knee, toe).
Last week (and the week before that), quarterback Donovan McNabb appeared on the injury report as “questionable” with an ankle injury. He played in both games.
In our view, overuse of “questionable” creates the same problem as underuse of it. If a player is going to play, he shouldn’t be used as a decoy to help conceal the injured players also listed as “questionable” but who won’t play. Taken to the extreme, a team could disclose all 53 players as “questionable” with whatever bump, bite, or bruise he may have sustained during the prior game, making it impossible to know — without inside information — who will and won’t dress on game day.
Maybe, by the end of the year, the Redskins will do just that.