After weeks of expressing uneasiness over the controlled pace of his return to action, Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III changed his tune Wednesday. Entering his second week of full-team practices and fresh off an examination by orthopedic surgeon James Andrews, Griffin expressed content with his situation and said he believes he has done everything possible to return to the field for the Redskins’ Sept. 9 season opener.
Griffin acknowledged the final decision rests with Andrews, who performed the reconstruction of his right knee, and Coach Mike Shanahan. But the quarterback said he is more at ease because he performed well during a 90-minute workout Monday and had an encouraging examination by Andrews afterward, then heard Shanahan reiterate that if all continues to go well, Griffin will start Week 1.
Andrews “just said, ‘Stay the course. The leg looks good, looks strong. Movement looks fine,’ and I’m happy about that,” Griffin said. “I’ve done all I can. I can’t say that enough. And I’m leaving it all in their hands to go from here.”
Shanahan on Monday night confirmed he had met with Andrews about Griffin’s progress. But Griffin revealed Wednesday that the surgeon physically examined his knee. “He put his hands on me” and tested the strength and stability of the anterior cruciate ligament and lateral collateral ligament, Griffin said.
Griffin said Andrews didn’t give him any instructions on how he should proceed through the next three weeks leading up to the season opener and didn’t give an exact date for a final ruling on his availability.
Asked what remains unchecked on his to-do list, Griffin said, “I think for Doc, it’s just continuing to go out, perform well and not have any swelling and setbacks, and for Coach, it’s the same thing but also going out and performing well on the field, and that’s the goal. That’s what we want to do and just continue to move the team up and down the field, and everybody’s doing a good job.”
Wednesday kicked off Griffin’s second week of 11-on-11 practices. Last week, he took full-team drills three straight days while facing the scout-team defense. On Wednesday, he faced the starting defense in a full-speed game simulation for the first time, and according to Shanahan, “he did a good job.”
Andrews is expected to return at some point following the Redskins’ final preseason game Aug. 29 at Tampa Bay, examine Griffin again and then determine whether he should play in the season opener against Philadelphia. Shanahan also could have a say in the matter, however.
Asked about an ESPN report that team owner Daniel Snyder said Andrews alone would make the decision on whether Griffin would play, Shanahan said, “I would never go against the doctor anyhow. If the doctor didn’t feel he was ready to play, I sure wouldn’t play him. So, if [Snyder] said it or not, if Dr. Andrews said to me, ‘I don’t think Robert’s ready to play,’ I surely wouldn’t put him out there. But Dr. Andrews could tell me that he is ready, and if I thought something was wrong with Robert through a practice, I wouldn’t put him out there.”
Meanwhile, Shanahan said he hasn’t decided how he will handle his quarterback situation in the remaining two preseason games. He called interim starter Kirk Cousins “a long shot” to play Saturday against the Buffalo Bills. Cousins is nursing a sprained right foot and said he didn’t expect to play this week.
Cousins expressed relief that an MRI exam conducted on the foot didn’t reveal any more extensive damage than a “mid-foot sprain.”
“I think it is just a day-to-day thing,” Cousins said Wednesday. “It’s every morning when I wake up and every day when I go to treatment, just see how it feels and go from there. But at this time in the preseason, the experience is valuable to go out there and play. But it’s also not worth risking being ready and available for later in the year when the games really do matter.”
Grossman, an 11th-year veteran now in his fourth season in Washington, figures to start against the Bills. White, a 2009 second-round pick attempting to make an NFL roster for the first time since the Miami Dolphins cut him in 2010, likely will take over for Grossman.
Grossman appears to have a significant leg up on White for the third-string quarterback duties. Having played for Kyle Shanahan in Houston in 2009 before following him to Washington the following year, Grossman has great understanding of the offense and last season served as a mentor to Griffin and Cousins. Cousins is locked in as the No. 2 quarterback, but Grossman said he still is approaching the game as if he has something to prove.
“Any time you’ve got a chance to show where you’re at presently — and everyone’s seen a lot of tape on me — but you can always strive to get better, and you want to establish yourself every year and show you get better,” Grossman said. “It’s another opportunity to play. I don’t know how much I’m going to play, but that’s my mind-set, preseason or regular season.”
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