Sean Collins just isn’t a gambling man. The most money he’s ever dropped on something even remotely resembling a bet is $75 in online fantasy football. And that was only because some friends were pressuring him to join the league with them and it cost that much to get in.
So it was no surprise that Collins, a musician from Largo, was against the decision to start Robert Griffin III on Sunday. Yes, the
rookie quarterback did return to the lineup—Griffin was held out of last week’s game because of a right knee sprain—and led the Redskins to a 27-20 victory over the struggling Philadelphia Eagles.
But while sitting in front of a big-screen television inside Buffalo Wild Wings in Bowie, the risk-averse Collins fingered his thick beard as he explained why playing the future of the franchise so soon after a difficult knee injury, during a game that wouldn’t necessarily lock up a playoff berth, was too dangerous a wage
“What if he would’ve got injured worse?” said Collins. “I wouldn’t have started RG. I like [backup rookie quarterback] Kirk Cousins. If we had to use him even for the playoffs I’d have no problems. The way they’re scheming things up right now, it doesn’t matter which quarterback is in. They’re both capable.”
Griffin III, who was cleared by doctors to play on Sunday, looked wobbly early on the injured right knee. He wore a black sleeve on it and ran with a noticeable limp on a first-quarter scramble toward the right sideline. Around the two-minute warning, the No. 2 overall pick and Heisman Trophy winner was caught by television cameras icing his knee on the sideline.
Still, he completed 16 of 24 passes for 198 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. He had a 102.4 passer rating. Like usual, his numbers weren’t gaudy but they were efficient and they helped spark the NFC East-leading Redskins (9-6) to their sixth win in a row.
Griffin, as expected, was hardly a dynamic running threat. He entered Sunday averaging 58 rushing yards per game but carried twice on Sunday for just four yards.
Brian Muir knows a thing or two about the type of knee injury Griffin sustained two weeks ago at the hands of the Baltimore Ravens. The truck driver from Capitol Heights was a two-sport athlete at Division II Southern Connecticut State and, during a basketball game, suffered a low-grade sprain of his lateral collateral ligament (LCL).
“It takes a minimum of three weeks to let that injury heal,” Muir said. “It’s very noble for you to be a warrior but you got to know the difference between being a warrior and hurting your team. Griffin should have sat this one out.”
Had Cousins not performed ably as the starter last week—the rookie out of Michigan State threw for 329 yards in Washington’s 38-21 victory over the Cleveland Browns—most fans would probably be singing a different tune.
Mary Vast seemed to be one of just a handful of Redskins supporters who wasn’t convinced the team could afford to shelve its No. 2 overall pick one more week in favor of Cousins, especially with Washington on the cusp of its first division title since 1999. “He’s a good guy,” said Vast, “but I just don’t trust him like that.”
Vast wasn’t even sure she could trust Griffin in the early going on Sunday and she tapped nervously on the table as she watched him hobble through parts of the first half. “I think he’s scared to run,” she said.
But the Upper Marlboro resident exploded from her seat and clapped in the third quarter after Griffin fired a 22-yard scoring strike to wide receiver Santana Moss. The touchdown pass was RG3’s 20th of the season, a team rookie record, and gave the Redskins a 27-13 lead.
“I’m not saying Cousins couldn’t have done that,” Vast said. “But the team goes as RG goes. “We needed him for this game. You don’t want the season to come down to us playing the Cowboys. I mean, there’s a little wiggle room there but why depend on it if you don’t have to?”