Mike Shanahan: All signs point to Robert Griffin III playing Sunday
By Mike Jones,
Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III went through a third consecutive day of practice and reported no concussion-like symptoms afterward and is expected to play Sunday against the visiting Minnesota Vikings.
Redskins Coach Mike Shanahan said Friday afternoon that Griffin practiced fully, a day after taking “75 to 80 percent” of the offensive snaps rather than his usual 85 to 90 percent.
Shanahan said Griffin still had to be tested again by doctors, but added that all signs point to the rookie starting.
“I’m not sure what we’ll list him as, but as you guys know, if he passes the test and doesn’t have any setbacks, he’ll be ready to go,” Shanahan said. “So, if he’s listed as questionable or probable, it all depends on the doctors.”
Shortly thereafter, the team officially listed Griffin as questionable for Sunday.
Washington’s first-round pick in April’s draft, Griffin suffered a concussion during the third quarter of the Redskins’ 24-17 loss to the Atlanta Falcons last Sunday at FedEx Field. On the play, the quarterback scrambled after failing to find an open receiver in the end zone and took a blow to the left side of the head from Atlanta linebacker Sean Weatherspoon’s right shoulder. Griffin briefly lay face down on the field before being helped up by team trainers.
Shanahan said that once on the sideline, Griffin initially told him that he felt fine. But the coach said the quarterback’s eyes appeared glassy, and the coach instructed him to go see the team doctors. Griffin then couldn’t remember the score or the quarter of the game. He was taken to the locker room, where he had a “mild concussion” diagnosed by an independent neurologist. Griffin said he felt fine 15 minutes later, and he has passed concussion tests each day since. He practiced in a limited capacity Wednesday and increased his workload Thursday and again Friday.
Griffin said Wednesday that he expected to play against the Vikings. He hasn’t been permitted to speak to the media since, but teammates say he has seemed and played like his normal self.
“If he’s not on the field Sunday, I’ll be surprised,” running back Alfred Morris said.
On Thursday, offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan said: “He’s been great in practice this week. Sounds like he’s going to be all right.”
Both Mike and Kyle Shanahan said they won’t adjust their play-calling because of fear of Griffin’s condition.
“If I went into a game thinking I had to call a different game because if he got hit he was going to get hurt, then he shouldn’t be playing,” Kyle Shanahan said. “If he’s cleared, he’s cleared. He’s okay.”
Last week, Kirk Cousins took over for Griffin, taking 13 snaps and throwing a touchdown and two interceptions. Although Mike Shanahan said he would have confidence in Cousins if Griffin were not available, the coach said there has been no talk of resting Griffin as a precautionary move because the quarterback has been fine all week.
“Doctors make those decisions; we don’t. If Robert feels like he’s fine, he’s had no side effects and he wants to play, he’s good to play,” Shanahan said. “Or, if he says, ‘Hey, I have a headache,’ then of course you’d [sit him]. That’s why we do all those tests. But why wouldn’t you let somebody play if he’s felt good since the end of the game and every day until now? But if he has these tests after practice today, and all of a sudden he’s not feeling good and something’s wrong, then obviously we’re not going to take a chance.”
Meanwhile, the Redskins don’t know if they’ll have starting wide receiver Pierre Garcon for Sunday’s game because of a lingering foot injury. Garcon was limited in Friday’s practice and is listed as questionable.
The team’s biggest free agent signing of the offseason, Garcon has appeared in three games while missing two. He recorded four catches for 109 yards and a touchdown in the first eight plays of Washington’s season-opening victory in New Orleans. But on his 88-yard touchdown catch, Garcon strained his right foot. X-rays have shown no breaks, and the injury has been deemed a pain-tolerance issue.
Garcon practiced fully Wednesday and Thursday but was unable to do so Friday.
“It’s painful; that’s why we sat him out,” Shanahan said. “It’s tender, and it’s still sore, but it’s a pain issue. [He’s] not sore enough to where he can’t push off all the time, so that’s why we listed him as questionable.”
Ruled out for the game are strong safety Brandon Meriweather (knee) and backup defensive end Doug Worthington (calf). Cornerback Cedric Griffin (hamstring) is questionable.
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