Robert Griffin III will play and, if the doctors have cleared him, then he should. I’m not buying into any notion that they should somehow rest him just to be safe. If he’s ready, play him. It would be hard to justify to other players not playing a guy who has been cleared by doctors. Especially when many others on the team already are playing with various issues – Trent Williams and his thigh bruise, for example.
Besides, you can’t save a guy for the playoffs when you haven’t made them yet. Which reminds me, as Rich Campbell from the Washington Times also pointed out earlier this week, of former Redskins coach Jim Zorn talking about needing to get guys ready for the playoffs in his first season when they were 6-2. Need to get there first.
And, no, I don’t change his style. I keep reminding Griffin to be smart when he runs, but if I’m asking him not to run? Then he shouldn’t be playing. Think I said that last week too. In fact I’ll say it every week. How do you like that?
For those worried about the Redskins overlooking the Eagles: I think the fact that this is a division game helps. Not only is it an important tiebreaker, but almost all of these players know how well the Eagles can play. Philly won three straight over Washington before the November loss. Of course, Nick Foles was not the quarterback for any of those wins. But this is not like facing, say, Jacksonville.
My sense is that Tyler Polumbus will play, but considering he was limited Friday that’s not a guarantee. But the linemen have been optimistic all week that they’ll have their group intact Sunday. It’ll be tough if Polumbus can’t play with improving Brandon Graham playing left end. He’s recorded four sacks in his four starts and would be a handful for whoever replaces Polumbus (my guess: Mo Hurt). The Redskins’ scheme helps out the linemen, especially in protection. All those zone read fakes can hold the line. But the tackle must do a good job opening cutback lanes. If Hurt must play, that’ll be something to watch.
In the last five games, the Redskins’ two rookie quarterbacks have combined for 13 touchdowns and two interceptions. They have a combined 126.6 passer rating during the streak. Let that swivel around in your brain for a minute.
Yes, the bulk of that is because of Griffin but Kirk Cousins, as you know, has contributed to that number. But it’s really amazing and it shows you that they are getting help, including from the play-calling and just as important the play design. The scheme does such a good job of getting guys open that it leads QBs with high percentage throws that are 15 yards downfield.
It’s odd to walk around the locker room this late in the season not knowing if next week is the last one or not. Usually by now we know.
Joe Gibbs was in town a week or so ago and I’m not sure why I’m thinking about this now, but he was always a good story teller. And it’s a reminder how different coaches are when it comes to dealing with the media. Gibbs was great after Wednesday practices, often sticking around and chatting for a half-hour. He didn’t talk on Thursdays and by Friday he was in no mood for talking so his pressers usually lasted a couple minutes. You could tell what day it was by the expression on his face and the brevity of his answers.
Mike Shanahan is controlling and not always forthcoming, but he’s also more consistent. You can joke around with him even on a Friday. But you’re not going to get the 30-minute sessions in which he tells stories of Al Davis or some such figure.
I saw the Michael Lombardi piece on a possible Kyle Shanahan/Kirk Cousins pairing at a future stop. Sure, it makes sense on some level. But we don’t truly know what Shanahan really thinks of Cousins and that makes a difference. My guess is that he’ll feel he can find a QB like him in this year’s draft so why surrender a valuable pick for him. Also, why would his dad just give Cousins away? Just to help his son? Sorry, but if I were a coach and my son went to another team I’d want him to succeed but not at the expense of my team. Hell no. (Can I use that word?). Unless, that is, that new team was willing to give me a higher pick. But why trade him for a fourth-round pick? Because it’s to help your son? Sorry, no. And I have a hard time believing another GM would pony up a second-round pick based on one good game. That’s an excellent way to get fired someday.
The defense continues to play better for stretches, but my concern (one I don’t think will hurt them this week) is that there have been big plays available downfield in each of the past three games and only once has it been hit. Those are low percentage throws, but sooner or later a QB will hit one of them. In two of the past three games those plays would have been game changers.
Have to say, enjoy going to the Linc 100 times more than I ever did going to the Vet in Philly. The stadium itself is much nicer, but going from the press box in the old stadium to the Linc was like going from a third world country to America. And the food at the Linc is among the best, if not the best. Very good omelet station. I like mine with sausage, tomato, a little cheese and bacon. Yeah, I cut back on my food intake for a few days after covering a game in Philly. Aren’t you glad you know?
One Redskin who has come a long way in dealing with the media? Kory Lichtensteiger. A couple years ago it was clear he did not enjoy it (Denver mindset, perhaps?). Yes, he was criticized too so I don’t blame him if that was part of the reason. But he’s come around in big fashion. We’re a fortunate press corps because most of the players are easy to deal with. That’s why, when it comes time for our Good Guy Award winner, there’s good debate.
OK, off to take the 9-year old to Santa. Merry Christmas.