In one of the weekend’s big NFL playoff games, the Washington Redskins went down to the Seattle Seahawks 24-14, in no small part due to the ‘Skins quarterback, Robert Griffin III, being forced off through injury.
‘RG3’s’ injury has since been diagnosed – partial tears to the anterior cruciate ligament and lateral collateral ligament (LCL) in his right knee.
The things is, all week long he’d been nursing a previously sprained LCL in the same knee, and was wearing a knee brace to support it. Yet the coach, Mike Shanahan, took the risk of starting him.
And even when Griffin tweaked that knee on a pass attempt in the first quarter, and couldn’t plant his right leg properly after that, Shanahan still left him in.
When Griffin tried to run the ball, limping heavily, Shanahan made no move to replace him.
Finally, in the fourth quarter, RG3 twisted the knee attempting to recover a muffed snap and was done for the day (and for who knows how long after, as well).
A tit-for-tat has since erupted between Shanahan and team doctor James Andrews over whether Andrews gave RG3 clearance to play or not. The coach says he did, the doctor says he didn’t.
I’m reminded of what happened to the Bears’ Dick Butkus, perhaps the best middle linebacker in the history of the game.
The Bears’ owner, George Hallas, stipulated that if the team doctor said a player was fit to play, he played. Butkus later sued Hallas for shortening his career by making him play injured.
I don’t think Shanahan is anywhere near as autocratic as the infamous Hallas, but he knows now that he should have sidelined Griffin at the start of the week so that his backup QB could have used that time to practise with his receivers and running backs.
I very much doubt that a rugby coach would have let his star playmaker start under similar circumstances. If you’re not 100% before the game, how can you give 100% during the game?
The Seahawks play the Atlanta Falcons next weekend, and I urge you to watch the game if you can.
Seattle have a great QB in Russell Wilson who not only throws well and scampers for major yards, but also races downfield and blocks for his runners. His tailback, Marshawn Lynch, is a terrific ball carrier.
You’re in for a treat.