Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III was at team headquarters Monday morning and appeared to be doing well the day after he suffered a third-quarter concussion that knocked him out of the team’s 24-17 loss to the Atlanta Falcons, according to teammates.
Backup quarterback Kirk Cousins said he spoke with Griffin while the two attended a mandatory rookie orientation meeting. Cousins, who played the final quarter-and-a-half Sunday in place of Griffin, said the starter didn’t show any ill effects from the hit that knocked him from the game.
“We had our mandatory rookie success program this morning, and Robert was there,” Cousins said. “He seemed fine, seemed in good spirits. He appeared to be doing well.”
Cousins and veteran quarterback Rex Grossman said they had yet to learn what the upcoming week – and Sunday’s game against the Minnesota Vikings – holds for them.
Cousins’ action on Sunday was the first of his NFL career. Drafted in the fourth round out of Michigan State, he has been active for all of the Redskins’ games this season while Grossman, a 10th-year veteran, has not.
Cousins said that he would have preferred to enter a game having gone through snaps with the first team in the previous week. But he felt good about how he had prepared, given his situation.
“I’m going to control what I can control,” Cousins said. “I can’t control the reps I get or when I go in. What I can control is my preparation on my own, in terms of film study and drawing plays and everything, every detail of how I approach my day, from the sleep I get to what I do at night when I go back to my apartment. I’m going to control what I can control and do the things I can do, and that’s what I have been doing, and that’s what I’m going to continue to do.”
Grossman and Cousins both said that the uncertainty of Griffin’s availability for Sunday will not cause them to prepare any differently this week. Their snap counts could increase if Griffin isn’t cleared before Wednesday’s practice, but they said they expected to go about the week in the same way they always do.
Grossman said he wouldn’t be surprised if Griffin did play Sunday, but unlike Cousins, he hadn’t spoken to Griffin or coaches.
“A lot of people have injuries throughout the year, whether they knock you out for a game, or longer. But it’s football. I think he might learn from that one a little bit,” Grossman said. “So, I think he’ll be fine. I have no idea, and haven’t talked to anybody. But he seemed like he was with it after the game, and he’s tough, and I’m sure he’ll fight through this.”
Although Griffin might have spared himself the injury by getting rid of the ball rather than trying to make a play, Grossman said any quarterback could have made the same decision given the circumstances.
“Everything happens so fast, especially in the red zone. The red zone kind of speeds up the game a little bit,” Grossman said. “The area you have to work with is fast, lanes close quick, and you think you might be able to run it in, and then all of a sudden, a linebacker’s scraping over the top and knocking you out. I think he does a really good job of knowing when to get down and all that. Just, in that scenario, I don’t think he saw that linebacker.”
Griffin suffered the concussion while rolling out on third-and-goal from the Atlanta 3-yard line. He tried to find an open receiver in the end zone, but then elected to tuck the ball and try to run rather than throw the ball away. As Griffin tried to turn the corner, Atlanta defensive end Sean Weatherspoon made a clean tackle, but hit Griffin hard in the side of the head with his shoulder pad.
Griffin lay face-down on the field for a while, and had to be helped up. He walked slowly to the sideline with the assistance of team trainers, and was treated on the bench before being taken to an examination area in a tunnel behind the Redskins’ bench. Griffin and the team’s medical staff emerged several minutes later and headed for the locker room.
Coach Mike Shanahan announced afterwards that Griffin received an examination from an independent neurologist. In the minutes immediately following the hit he didn’t know the game score or what quarter it was.
Griffin was diagnosed with a mild concussion and never returned. Cousins completed five of nine passes for 111 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions.
Griffin tweeted several hours after the game that he expected to pass tests for lingering concussion symptoms this week and play Sunday against Minnesota. But the Redskins won’t likely know for sure until later in the week.