Most of the voices (sometimes conflicting) regarding whether Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III will play in the regular-season opener against the Eagles have come from the organization or those directly attached to it.
An outsider now agrees with the currently prevailing view that, barring a setback, Griffin will be ready to go come September.
Peter King of SI.com writes that there’s “little doubt” Griffin will play, based on what King saw Griffin do at practice last week. “He sprinted without a limp the 53-yard width of the end zone,” King says in his Monday Morning Quarterback column. “Then, at nearly full speed, he planted his twice-surgically repaired right knee and pivoted left, up the sideline of the practice field. It wasn’t the planting and cutting he’ll have to do in games, of course. But it’s close.”
The next step for Griffin will be to secure clearance to make hard cuts on the knee. Then comes clearance to practice. With 13 weeks to go until his Monday night opener against the Eagles, it looks like clearance to play is, at this point, inevitable.
Still, it will be wise for Griffin and those close to him to constantly ensure that he’s not back on the field until he is truly 100 percent. Opposing defenses — especially from teams in the NFC East — will be trying to hit him low after he leaves the pocket and loses the protection of the Tom Brady rule.
Some may even be inclined to hit him low in the pocket, trading the 15-yard penalty and the inevitable fine for a chance to rattle Griffin and/or to put him on the sidelines for the balance of the season, and possibly longer. Right or wrong (and largely pushed out of view given last year’s bounty scandal), that mindset remains one of the basic realities of an inherently violent game.
And so Griffin shouldn’t play until he’s certain his body will be able to carry out precisely the instructions supplied by his brain, at the desired speed. If he believes he can’t run away from contact, Griffin needs to get down. If he can’t or won’t, it’ll be just a matter of time before someone gets another shot at a knee that has had two ACL replacements, and counting.