The Washington Redskins have rarely been accused of being cautious or long-term thinkers...about anything. When Robert Griffin III dislocated his ankle in Week 2 vs the Jaguars, the show went on with Kirk Cousins taking over. Cousins had one of the best performances of his career, and everyone was ecstatic with a blowout win that saw the offense and defense dominating another team. The sting of losing your franchise quarterback to injury was lessened by Cousins taking command and running the offense effectively.
This continued into the following week, with Cousins having another good game that the team barely lost. More confidence in the backup and the team, even with mounting injuries on both sides of the ball. The pundits began to wonder aloud whether Cousins was the better long-term option for the Redskins, which QB will be traded next season, is Cousins legit, etc. Fans began to get more confident saying Cousins was their guy, and RGIII is not the answer.
Then the Giants game happened. Cousins threw 4 interceptions and fumbled the ball on a strip-sack. He looked indecisive, forced throws, and had trouble adjusting to the defense. Cue the "I told you so" crowd and the pundits backtracking on their Cousins love. Now we're right back to where we started in Week 1. The fans are clamoring for Robert Griffin III to come back and save the season, and the team has no problem stoking those fires. Yesterday Griffin was briefly out on the practice field sans walking boot, and the Redskins tweeted out this little teaser:
#Redskins QB @RGIII returns to the practice field for the first time since his ankle injury. #HTTR pic.twitter.com/6x9tA7o1Kz— Washington Redskins (@Redskins) October 4, 2014
Griffin didn't actually practice, but he was on the practice field! Get your hype here.
Griffin on Saturday wore cleats on both feet as he joined his teammates for the agility drills and stretching exercises and appeared to jog fairly well. He then left Washington's practice bubble to continue more rehabilitation work. Griffin didn't take part in any actual position drills.
This led to questions from Griffin's biggest supporter Jason Reid of the Washington Post:
@Russellmania980 @john_keim And why was Griffin on the field today?— Jason Reid (@JReidPost) October 5, 2014
This morning Ian Rapoport from NFL.com reported that Griffin is ahead of schedule in his recovery, and they expect him to be back in a few weeks:
That step puts him on a pace to return to the lineup prior to the team's Week 10 bye. NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported Sunday on NFL GameDay First that the Redskins' plan is forRGIII to be back in three weeks.
That pace would put Griffin back on the field Oct. 27 (Week 8) to face division rival Dallas Cowboys.
That sounds amazing, and it's another miracle recovery. Thank you Dr. Rapoport. Dr. Florio from ProFootballTalk Memorial Hospital has a more cautionary take on Patient III's recovery though.
In response to a report from NFL Media that Griffin plans to return from a dislocated ankle in three weeks, a source with knowledge of the situation tells PFT that it's too early to tell when Griffin will make his return.
Griffin is indeed ahead of schedule (isn't every injured player?), but the challenge with Griffin will be to ensure that he won't risk re-injury, and that he'll have maximum effectiveness. In 2013, he wasn't ready to return from a torn ACL - and it showed. All year long.
So which anonymous source should the fans believe, and who is feeding Rapoport the rosy picture for Griffin's recovery? We all know that Griff wants to be back on the field as soon as possible. After a disappointing season last year, he needs to have a strong campaign this year, and the early injury did not help. Cousins playing well adds more motivation to return to the field quickly. The Redskins front office should not be putting public pressure on Griffin to return early, and they've officially been taking the wait and see approach. Coach Gruden won't give a timetable to the press, and has been coy about what will happen when Griffin comes back.
Rushing Griffin back from this ankle injury is just a very Redskins thing to do, so I can see it happening to get some hype back with the team. When the injury first happened I thought he would be done for the year, but there was no fracture so that gives you a shorter recovery time. It makes too much sense to wait until after the bye and allow him to properly heal. But what do I know, I'm not an online doctor, coach, trainer or player. I just want the adults to make the decision for the long-term health of Griffin, and the Washington Redskins.