Now that Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III has been cleared to practice with his team, it would seem reasonable to limit his preseason participation. In fact, some would say that it would be best for RG3 to forgo playing in any preseason games in preparation for the Redskins’ 2013 season opener against the Philadelphia Eagles on September 9.
Letting Griffin III miss the entire 2013 preseason would be a foolish move by Washington head coach Mike Shanahan. Granted, RG3 has absolutely nothing to gain and everything to lose by playing in a series of preseason games that won’t help the Redskins one iota in their quest for NFL supremacy. In fact, playing Griffin III could leave him vulnerable to injury once again. Nevertheless, it would be wise for Shanahan to give his franchise quarterback some preseason work.
While Griffin III has been cleared for practice, he will need to test his right knee during real game situations. While many fans focus on whether or not Griffin III will be able to scramble out of the pocket and take off on one of his breathtaking sprints, his game is much more than that. He will need to test himself to see if he can make all the necessary throws. Can RG3’s knee hold up while in the pocket? Does he have enough power in his knee to throw a 15-yard out pattern? Can he still throw the deep ball? Simply put, can Robert Griffin III remain an efficient NFL quarterback on the verge of greatness after his injury?
The Redskins need to find the answers to these questions during the preseason. I’m not saying that RG3 should play in all four preseason games. However, he will need to get some playing time against opposing NFL defenses that are playing to either hone their skills or has players trying to win a roster spot. Opposing NFL defenses will go near full throttle against RG3 in comparison to his Redskins’ defensive teammates during practice who won’t lay a hand on their franchise quarterback. That means Washington cannot get a full barometer of Griffin III’s recovery from his injury during team practices. The true barometer of RG3’s progress from injury can only come from playing in the preseason.
I say let RG3 get at least one series of preseason work. Get him the work he needs to prepare himself for the Eagles game. There should be enough evidence from one series to see how he’s progressed. While it’s obvious no one wants to see RG3 injured again, there’s also the possibility of him looking extremely rusty against the Eagles in the season opener due to preseason inactivity. He could look horrible against Philadelphia, completing less than half of his pass attempts. If that happens and Washington loses to the Eagles, there will be a lot of second-guessing on whether or not Griffin III should have played during the preseason.
But I digress. The handling of RG3’s injury by Shanahan last season raised a few eyebrows because many fans feel the coach rushed his franchise quarterback back onto the field. Nevertheless, 2013 is a new year and RG3 should see some type of preseason action in 2013. After that, he should be good to go for the Washington Redskins.