Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III is the great equalizer for the team in its playoff game against the Seattle Seahawks. Unfortunately, due to the knee injury he suffered four weeks ago against Baltimore, no one knows exactly how healthy he is.
Even the Redskins weren't sure what to do with his injury when it first happened. According to a report from Robert Klemko of USA Today, Dr. James Andrews, who was on the sideline when the injury first happened, is still worried about Griffin's long-term health risks.
I've been a nervous wreck letting him come back as quick as he has. He's doing a lot better this week, but he's still recovering and I'm holding my breath because of it.
He passed all the tests and all the functional things we do, but it's been a trying moment for me, to be honest with you.
At full strength, Griffin is one of the best weapons in the NFL. His accuracy in and out of the pocket is incredible. The pistol formation that the Redskins love to use, which led them to lead the league in rushing yards, is dependent on Griffin being able to move around at full strength.
In the two games Griffin has played since suffering the injury, he has thrown for just 298 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. He has only thrown the ball 42 times, and his running game has been virtually non-existent with 67 yards and one touchdown.
Even in the regular-season finale against Dallas, which clinched the NFC East for the Redskins, Griffin had 67 rushing yards but didn't have that same burst off the line we have gotten so accustomed to seeing.
According to Barry Svrluga of the Washington Post, Griffin will still be wearing the knee brace he has had for the last two weeks when the Redskins take the field against the Seahawks.
In that same report, Griffin said he feels more constricted by the brace than the injury at this point in the recovery process.
It’s getting pretty close to just being mostly the brace. But the doctors aren’t going to let me take it off, I don’t believe, and [head athletic trainer Larry Hess] is not going to let me take it off. So I try to do as much as I can without the brace, and then whenever they find out that I don’t have it on, then I have to throw it on.
Going into a playoff game against a team like the Seahawks, who have developed into one of the best and most physical defensive teams in the league, at anything less than full strength is a recipe for disaster.
The Seahawks are the better team overall, so all things being equal, they should win the game. With Griffin still dealing with knee issues, it is going to be hard for this team to win.
As great as Alfred Morris has been for the Redskins, that vaunted rushing attack loses a lot of luster if teams don't have a reason to respect the passing game.
Another problem for the Redskins is the Seahawks are so balanced on the defensive side of the ball. They excel in pass coverage, with Richard Sherman being the glue that holds everything together.
Because teams have to respect Seattle's ability to defend the pass, Pete Carroll is able to commit more defenders up front to stopping the run.
Griffin has to be the one to carry the Redskins to victory. He has the raw talent to do so, but when you are limited by a knee injury, you lose a little bit of what makes you so special as a player and especially a quarterback.
It has been an incredible run for the Redskins after starting the season 3-6, but it is all going to come crashing down on them unless Griffin can return to the form he showed before being hurt in Week 14.