Kyle Shanahan talks about protecting RG3
By Tarik El-Bashir and Rich Tandler
Countdown to kickoff question 1: Is Robert Griffin III healthy?
Robert Griffin III is back. So is Brian Orakpo. In all, the Redskins retained 21 of the 22 starters who led them to the NFC East title in 2012. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t any potential pitfalls as the new season approaches – because there are. Over the next week, Redskins Insiders Rich Tandler and Tarik El-Bashir will identify and examine seven areas of concern going forward.
As noted, RG3 is back. But is he here to stay? He will take the field tonight eight months to the day after Dr. James Andrews reconstructed his badly injured right knee. Despite all of the talk of Griffin being superhuman, he’s not. If he was, he wouldn’t have suffered a second torn ACL. No doubt, Griffin has looked good in the practice sessions we’ve been allowed to watch. But is the knee really 100 percent (that brace he’ll wear all year makes you wonder)? And, most important, if he is, will he stay that way?
Tandler: In many ways, we’re trying to answer an unanswerable question here. We do know that in recent years both Philip Rivers and Carson Palmer suffered ACL tears in the playoffs in January and both came back to play in 16 games the next year. Palmer passed for a career-high 4,131 yards in his comeback 2006 season and Rivers led the NFL with 34 touchdown passes in 2008. To be sure, both Palmer and Rivers play a different game than does Griffin. Both of them could lose a step and you’d never know it. RG3 plays a speed game. Still, we’ve seen him sprint and if he’s lost anything it isn’t much. Certainly there will be nervous moments but there is no reason to believe that Griffin is at a high risk of suffering further knee problems. He can avoid other injury issues by sliding and locating the sideline. It says here RG3 lines up under center all 16 games this year.
El-Bashir: The second-to-last sentence in Rich’s response is the key here. Because RG3 is going to determine whether RG3 stays healthy in 2013. When he’s carrying the ball, extending a play outside of the pocket or scrambling because all of his receivers are covered, what’s he going to do? Will he slide/get down? Will he throw the ball away? Will he forgo the possibility of gaining an extra yard or two and get out of bounds (instead of taking a shoulder pad to the helmet like Atlanta’s Sean Weatherspoon delivered in Week 5 last season)? It all goes against Griffin’s competitive nature, his intense drive to win. But it’s necessary. Last week, Griffin all but rolled his eyes when he was asked about protecting himself better, telling reporters, “I mean, you guys have been talking to me about it for eight months. I think it’s ingrained in my head now. I’ll be getting down on Monday night.” Saying it is one thing. Doing it is another. And there’s only one way for RG3 to show that he’s a man of his word.
Countdown to Kickoff
- Question 7: Is offensive line depth a concern?
- Question 6: Are the Redskins better at safety with Rambo and Meriweather?
- Question 5: Can defenses stop the Redskins’ read option
- Question 4: Can Orakpo help make the Redskins pass rush a disruptive force?
- Question 3: Can Garçon be a 1,000-yard receiver?
- Question 2: Will there be a new-look offense for Redskins, RG3?