It’s easy to get carried away sometimes, and we saw a little bit of that last year with the Washington Redskins.
Last year, we saw them push then-rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III to the very depths of his abilities. Some may argue that they pushed him too far in the playoffs when he was playing on a bum knee, while others believe it was just bad luck.
Regardless, it became clear that the Shanahans had to be more careful with their new toy. On the other hand, you can’t put all of the blame for RG3’s injury on the coaches; he was a bit reckless on foot at times.
Ever since that fateful day against the Seattle Seahawks, things have certainly changed.
Griffin III has been working on his sliding, even garnering cheers in practice for it. Meanwhile, the coaches have been very careful with how much they allow the second-year passer to participate—a bit too careful by some standards.
While you would hate to lose a player during the preseason—especially a player like No. 10—you have to give a guy a little bit of a tune-up before throwing him into the lion’s den. RG3 has tremendous talent, but he is still human and will more than likely have some rust.
It’s probably not a drastic difference from the level of play he’s used to performing at, but it’s better to make mistakes in the preseason than Week 1 on Monday Night against the Philadelphia Eagles, a team they should beat.
Now that the first preseason game is out of the way, they are one step closer to opening day and RG3’s expected return. Most of a team’s starters don’t play a good chunk of the game until the third week of the preseason, and that might be a good time to allow Griffin III to get back in the swing of things, and that’s also when he said he’d like to play.
Should RG3 play in the preseason, even if it's just a couple of series?
Even though Mike Shanahan has made it clear that Griffin III won’t be playing until Week 1, the young QB has been vocal about wanting to get a few reps in while the games don’t count.
Shanahan's plan, Operation Patience, can be described in one word: adamant. He’s looking out for the best interest of the player and the team, but all signs point to RG3 being 100 percent and ready to go.
Griffin III had this to say about Shanahan’s plan for him, according to Dan Wetzel of Yahoo! Sports:
...I don't like it. There's some part of it that I do understand. I don't understand all of it. At the end of the day he gave me his word. We talked privately. I know the whole plan. I'm not telling the whole plan. I don't understand the whole plan at all and I can't lie about that.
It’s clear he’s itching to play, and he deserves to. He could get injured just as easily on the first play of the regular season as he could on the first play of the preseason. Even if you’re careful there’s always a possibility that it could happen; this is the other, more unfortunate side of the saying “any given Sunday."
The bottom line is this: It would be prudent, although somewhat risky, to play Griffin III in the preseason, but it might be best for him to get his bearings in a game that doesn’t count and where the opposing team isn’t playing all-out.
RG3 hasn’t played a healthy down of football in close to seven months. Why not give him a little taste of the game to help him adjust before the opener? Even though what coach says goes, there doesn’t seem to be any harm in letting the guy get a few reps before the season starts.