With the Washington Redskins inching closer to a playoff spot, they are starting to get a big bull's-eye on their back. Robert Griffin III is the straw that stirs the drink for that offense, so it makes sense the team would keep his status for Week 15 against Cleveland a great mystery.
Griffin suffered what appeared to be a brutal knee injury late in the fourth quarter of last week's game against Baltimore. His leg bent in such a way that it made you think of Willis McGahee in the BCS Championship Game with Miami 10 years ago.
On Monday, the Redskins announced (h/t Mike Jones of the Washington Post) that Griffin only suffered a knee sprain. All of Washington let out a huge sigh of relief when the news broke.
Redskins announce Griffin knee injury is a knee sprain MRI showed.— Mike Jones (@MikeJonesWaPo) December 10, 2012
Then on Wednesday, Marc Sessler of NFL.com posted a report that included quotes from Griffin, who was able to participate in non-contact drills during practice, saying, "I feel like I can play through any injury. Does that mean I'll play on Sunday? We'll see."
In the same report, Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan said that he was "impressed" with Griffin during practice. There is a world of difference between practicing and being ready for game action. Alex Smith was practicing with San Francisco after he suffered his concussion but still wasn't cleared to play against Chicago a few weeks ago.
With Griffin and the Redskins staying quiet about the rookie's status for Week 15, they have put the Browns behind the eight ball in their preparation. Getting ready to face Robert Griffin III and getting ready to face Kirk Cousins are very different.
Even though the Browns do not have a great resume, they have been playing well lately. They have won three straight games and the defense has allowed just 38 points during the streak. Granted, they were playing Pittsburgh without Ben Roethlisberger, Oakland and Kansas City, but they still took care of their business.
The NFL is so competitive and the gap between the best and worst teams is so small that any competitive advantage a team can find, it is going to take. The Redskins keeping things quiet about their starting quarterback is a brilliant move by the team.
In the end, Griffin could very well end up starting the game. He certainly sounds like he is ready to go. But the Browns don't need to know that until the absolute last possible moment. This is a genius move by the Redskins, who are at a point where they need to win all their games to ensure they make the postseason.