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Rick Snider: If Redskins' RG3 is cleared, sitting is not an option

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Sports,NFL,Redskins,Rick Snider

ASHBURN

If he's cleared medically, Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III should play against the Cleveland Browns on Sunday.

Washington (7-6) probably can't afford to lose any of its final three games. Even with a 10-6 record, it might not reach the postseason.

The Redskins paid heavily to draft Griffin to win a championship someday. Well, that day might be now. If Washington sweeps into the playoffs with seven straight wins, it has a fair chance to win it all.

You always sacrifice the future for the present. Win today, worry tomorrow and apologize never.

Those who want Griffin to sit are using the same argument the Nationals did when they rested pitcher Stephen Strasburg at the end of last season. Nats general manager Mike Rizzo decided not to risk future arm problems for his ace. He made up his mind early and stuck to it. In five years, if no championship banners are flying atop the stadium, maybe he will regret that decision.

Maybe Strasburg's absence had nothing to do with Washington losing the National League Division Series to St. Louis, but things might have ended better had he been available for one of those late innings in Game 5 when the bullpen collapsed. Maybe the Nats will rebound with a title next season, but so much can happen to prevent it.

Griffin seemed fine after Wednesday's practice. Coach Mike Shanahan and Griffin were cagey about the quarterback's readiness just to keep Cleveland guessing, but it would be surprising if Kirk Cousins started.

Of course, Griffin wants to play. Athletes always do. It's up to the doctors to make an impartial decision, and if they say Griffin can play with the sprained knee, then that's good enough. Of course, if the doctors say no, then he sits without hesitation.

But saving Griffin for future glory? That's nonsense. What's the difference between winning the Super Bowl now or in three years? Other than in coach Joe Gibbs' two tenures, Washington has won only three playoff games since 1943: two in 1972 and one in 1999.

The Redskins are currently the seventh seed overall and second in the NFC East. Their best chance is catching New York (8-5) for the division title. The Giants must travel to Atlanta (11-2) and Baltimore (9-4) before ending against Philadelphia (4-9). Washington would win the tiebreaker with New York.

The wild-card chase is tougher. Seattle (8-5) is at Buffalo (5-8) and home vs. San Francisco (9-3-1) and St. Louis (6-6-1). The Seahawks easily could finish 10-6 or 11-5.

Chicago (8-5) hosts Green Bay (9-4) before traveling to Arizona (4-9) and Detroit (4-9). They also could go 10-6 or 11-5.

Forget the talk radio banter that Washington -- if it is going to lose one of its last three games -- is better off falling to an AFC team in Cleveland because of tiebreakers. The first tiebreaker is won-loss record, and finishing 9-7 by losing to the Browns could leave Washington's bid short.

There's really no debate. A healthy Griffin should play.

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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