Rick Snider: For Redskins, it's all about protecting RG3

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Who's protecting Robert Griffin III?

Washington Redskins coach Mike Shanahan said his quarterback must learn to slide from defenders. Funny, some feel Griffin's safety was compromised by Shanahan leaving the passer in the playoff loss to Seattle that led to knee surgery.

Shanahan also expects famed surgeon Dr. James Andrews to remain on the team's sideline during games this season. Funny, Andrews and Shanahan got their signals mixed last season so badly that each publicly blamed the other. Will Andrews really be on the Redskins sideline this fall? We'll see.

Griffin has one person whom he must respect more -- himself. It's so easy for Griffin to take off downfield, surging for extra yards in like high school and college when the game was played for fun.

But this isn't a game, it's a business, and the Redskins have millions invested in Griffin. So do fans buying tickets and gear. Everyone sees Griffin as the team's best player in decades, but only if he remains in one piece.

Griffin protected himself better after suffering a concussion against Atlanta last season. He found the sideline a step or two quicker to avoid collisions. The lesson seemed learned.

But Griffin hobbled badly on one knee against Seattle after twisting it on a throw. The Redskins offense did little afterwards because Griffin wasn't himself.

Shanahan failed by not changing passers. The last few months have brought some admitted doubts over his decision, but Shanahan knows inside everyone involved failed. The players, the medical staff, the coach all should have made a change.

It's not easy to switch passers during a game, much less a playoff game, unless absolutely necessary. The Redskins were winning. Maybe Griffin could finish and have a week's rest for the next round. Shanahan was caught in a whirlwind so he should have been given more help by trainers and Griffin. But Shanahan also could have been more proactive.

The second-guessing won't stop but hopefully it makes a difference this fall. Shanahan has been surprisingly candid over not knowing when Griffin will return. The old Shanahan would have couched it as uncertain so the opening opponent spends more time watching film of Griffin than backup Kirk Cousins. The new Shanahan at least admits uncertainty over Griffin's return date.

Uncertainty is an understatement. Shanahan rightfully said no one will know Griffin's status until he returns to the field come training camp. And, really it's the next morning to see if his knee swells.

Griffin is working hard during rehab, but injuries often heal at a prescribed pace and rehabbing hard just shaves a little time off recovery. Hopefully, trainers aren't letting Griffin overdo it because that will delay his recovery.

The Redskins have done a good offseason job of retaining players given the salary cap sanction, but the future is only successful if Griffin's healthy. The offseason should teach everyone to take a breath over risking Griffin.

Examiner columnist Rick Snider has covered local sports since 1978. Read more on Twitter @Snide_Remarks or email rsnider@washingtonexaminer.com.

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