Robert Griffin III's fantasy owners might want to sit him this weekend. Nothing kills a fantasy team more than starting a stud who does not play in the real game.
The Redskins are coy about RGIII's true status, as they should be. No sense helping the Vikings by divulging that. We've heard the positives from Head Coach Mike Shanahan and from Griffin himself.
I want to hear from the outside doctors the NFL makes the final judge of whether a player is ready or not. Washington is silent on that.
The sportsbooks are hedging their bets. Bovada set the over/under for Kirk Cousins passing yards at 2101/2. They accept bets only if Cousins actually starts. I didn't see an over/under line for any other back-up quarterback, or for Rex Grossman.
If Griffin III can't go, I can live with rookie mistakes from Cousins. I cannot live with rookie mistakes from Grossman.
The Redskins list Griffin as Questionable. While I've always considered Questionable players as likely to play, I'm not sure about RGIII. Players always want to play. Coaches want them to play. Concussion is the one-word medical term for "traumatic head injury." The NFL now takes traumatic head injury very seriously now. It's 50-50 we see Mr. Griffin come Sunday.
Would you be happy to see Griffin change his style?
I'm not buying fan sentiment on this topic. Look no further than two Clinton Portis examples for reasons why.
Turn on the Wayback Machine to 2006. Clinton injures his shoulder on a 70-yard run down of an interception during a preseason game. The year 2006 was "our year," when the Redskins were supposedly Super Bowl contenders. CP was as essential to Washington's offense then as RGIII is to us now.
Portis was lambasted by fans for risking injury on a meaningful play, just as Griffin III was last Sunday. Portis said he could hardly play any other way.
In 2010, Portis took a defensive dive to avoid a hit; he crumpled like a puppet with cut strings. Portis was again lambasted by fans for doing what we now want Griffin to do.
There's no pleasing the fans. If a play doesn't work, fans think the player should have done the opposite. Shanahan defended Portis, by the way for taking the step to avoid injury.
Griffin isn't Griffin if he isn't a dual threat. Shanahan dial back designed runs by Griffin against Atlanta. Perhaps that was dictated by the Falcons defense. Protecting RGIII was an aim of the game plan, too.
I didn't like that game plan. Washington wasn't the half-a-point-a-minute offense we saw in the first four games. RGIII said in preseason he would not play in fear of hits. I hope that holds true. We'll be watching how he plays, if at all, against the Vikings.
We got your injuries, folks
Griffin III, Pierre Garçon and Cedric Griffin are listed Questionable for Sunday. Garçon made an appearance last Sunday and may do so this weekend. He hasn't been the dangerous deep threat that he was in Game One against the Saints. I don't expect it against Minnesota either.
ex-Vikings in the house...
...and I don't know what to make of it. I've talked to Minnesota fans who think their defense improved when they dropped Madieu Williams and Cedric Griffin. Williams in particular is sure to be targeted by Christian Ponder. So, I hope Jim Haslett has something in mind to counter it.
One thing I do not want to see is over-under coverage of Percy Harvin by Williams and DeAngelo Hall.
Beating the Vikings
I just did a fun Q&A exchange with Purple Jesus Blog on Vikings at Redskins and asked how the 'Skins should attack the Vikes. Here's what PJD told me:
RHH - How does Washington's offense attack the Minnesota defense?
PJD - Your best bet would be exploit the Vikings middle of the field. If you can get enough time for a receiver to get 10-15 yards into the soft spot of our zones in the middle of the field, you can dink and dunk down to the red zone, keep our offense off the field. Our linebackers have shown SOME potential, but it's mostly been in run support. In coverage? No beuno. And while we have Harrison Smith, rookie safety from Notre Dame, who could drop down and help hit in that area, he is still a rookie. You should be able to take advantage of that. I'd also look at receivers or running backs in the flat, especially speedy ones if they are lined up against Chad Greenway. Chad will get his tackles, but he just doesn't have the speed to compete with some of those guys. Likewise, our corner backs have potential, but outside of Antoine Winfield, several of them still need to prove their worth. I'm foreseeing a couple of big pass plays deep to Pierre Garcon as leading to a Redskins win.
RHH - How does Washington's defense stop Minnesota's offense?
PJD - You focus everything you have on Percy Harvin and hope our other receivers have a case of the dropsies. Outside of Harvin, I wouldn't say I trust any of the other guys out there right now. Jerome Simpson is coming back from a recent suspension, but he's had leg issues this week and is questionable to play. Michael Jenkins is ... Michael Jenkins. Whatever. And then I wouldn't worry about anyone else there. Kyle Rudolph, our second year tight end, is tied for the league lead in TDs for tight ends, so he has potential. You'd want a good linebacker blanketing him. Beyond that, keep the running game bottled up inside. We've been able to sustain a lot of good drives this season by mixing run and pass well, but we'll get into some third downs that, so far, we've been able to convert. We're not a quick strike offense right now, so if you get us off the field, and put some points up yourself, it'll be hard for us to come back.
Sneaky PJD, didn't say anything about Adrian Peterson in all that. No matter. The Redskins knocked Peterson out of the game last year and lost anyway. It's a passing league now. Stop Harvin and everything else falls in place.
Purple Jesus explains Vikings to Redskins fans.
Hear Redskins Hog Heaven's game commentary during the game thanks to the techno-magic of Let Me hear Ya. Follow the link to my profile page and click your way through the instructions. if you are handy with your DVR, adjust your timer and hear Hog Heaven commentary in synch with the game. The rest will notice a slight lag of my audio to the game action you see on your TV. I'm not attempting to do play-by-play, just sharing thoughts as the game unfolds. To comment on my comments, use "#HogHeavenTV" on Twitter.
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Images: October 6, 2012 - Patrick Smith/Getty Images North America via zimbio.com.