The decision to start Griffin and end his absence from the lineup after he suffered from a dislocated angle in Week 2, has been widely reported and is expected to be confirmed by Jay Gruden at some point.
Some decisions are hard. The one to start Robert Griffin III against the Vikings on Sunday is easy.
This is assuming, of course, that the Redskins’ quarterback is indeed fully cleared to go medically, that the risk of re-injuring the ankle is low, and that he has knocked off as much of the rust that he accumulated during his seven-week layoff as he can in practice. Jay Gruden has stated numerous times that Griffin would not play until those criteria have been met so we have to assume that they have been.
Some fans and members of the media disagree with the decision to play Griffin this week. They say that the Redskins should hold him out until after the bye week and play him on November 16 against the Bucs. The line of thinking here is that he needs the “extra rest” and “extra practice” that the bye will provide. You know, to make “sure” that he’s ready.
But the NFL doesn’t work that way. When you’re ready to play, you play. In fact, we have indications that Griffin already got his “extra” rest time.
"I’m not going to lie, he looked ready two weeks ago,” said fullback Darrel Young after Wednesday’s practice. “...He’ll be ready for it.”
“I think from a physical standpoint, he might have been able to play last week, I don’t know,” said Gruden.
According to Tarik El-Bashir, Trent Williams praised the coaching staff for not rushing Griffin back, considering how good he has looked in practice.
In other words, it appears that the time where one could say that Griffin was being rushed back has passed. Maybe he could have played against the Titans but doing so would have been irresponsible. There was talk that he might play against the Cowboys but would have been risky. The proper precautions have been taken and it’s time to remove the bubble wrap and let him play.
Fan and media reaction to injuries is all over the board and consistently inconsistent. Many have been outright laughing at tight end Jordan Reed and cornerback Tracy Porter for taking, in their judgment, too long to come back from their hamstring injuries. Apparently you are “soft” when people who have no information on the medical reports and examinations think you’re waiting too long to start playing again but when those with the same lack of information think you’re coming back sooner than they think you should, you’re “reckless” and “egotistical”.
I have to wonder what happens when these folks have to miss some work time due to being sick. If they are feeling fine and ready to resume their duties do they take an extra day off just because? And how do their bosses feel if they want to do that? In most cases, when they’re able to go back, they go back.
And the world of the NFL isn’t like the regular world. There are only 16 workdays in a year and you can’t make up the work at a later time. That’s why players play when they are ready.
Finally, can we dispense with the notion that the Redskins don’t “need” Griffin, who is their best quarterback, to beat the Vikings? They have lost three times as many games as they have won over the last year and a half. There isn’t a single team in the NFL they should feel confident of beating.
Sure Colt McCoy did a nice job in helping the Redskins beat the Cowboys. But his track record, which includes career marks of a 59.9 completion percentage, an average of 6.5 yards per pass attempt, and a passer rating of 77.1, is what it is. With Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer in possession of six quarters of film on McCoy, the better course of action is to quit while you’re ahead with him.
There is no guarantee that the Redskins will win on Sunday with Griffin but there were no assurances that McCoy would either. When it’s time, it’s time. Let’s see what Griffin can do.