ESPN host Trey Wingo tweeted the following early this afternoon.
Sources telling me the "concerns" about @RGIII have less to do with health of the knee, much more on how the team plans to use him
— trey wingo (@wingoz) August 30, 2013
Shortly after that, ESPN's Adam Schefter followed up with this:
What @wingoz also reports: Dr. Andrews does not want Redskins to expose RGIII's knee to punishment during games.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) August 30, 2013
So, as some suspected, the "concerns" of Dr. James Andrews that Mike Shanahan referred to last night may not be not medical but had more to do with football strategy and, perhaps, the need for Griffin to do a better job of protecting himself when he runs the ball or scrambles.
Of course, it is impossible for any football player to participate in a game and not expose his knees to some degree of punishment. It doesn't require too much of a leap here to think that in the interest of brevity that the words "excessive" and/or "unnecessary" in front of "punishment" were left out.
Andrews' concerns are not necessarily in conflict with the assertion that his right knee is sound. Griffin tore the ACL in the same knee in 2009 as a sophomore at Baylor. You would certainly expect Andrews to recommend an abundance of caution under those circumstances.
Or are there any concerns at all? Andrews texted a few media organizations, including the Washington Post. "None of it is true. No concerns,” the message read.
Maybe it's a matter of semantics. Perhaps these "concerns" were common sense advice that perhaps Griffin should throw more and run less and when he does run he should quickly look for the nearest sliding area or sideline. And maybe Shanahan is using these "concerns" to slow down the process a bit and establish that the final decision here belongs to him.
And it's hard to blame him for that. The last time Griffin said he could play and Andrews gave the green light Shanahan went along with it and it turned out to be the biggest, most disastrous mistake of the coach's stellar career. It's hard to find issue with him slowing things down a bit and making absolutely sure that starting Griffin is the best thing to do for the long term good of the player and the organization.
It is very likely that Shanahan's answer will be "yes" and Griffin will start a week from Monday but the coach taking his time and making sure of the best way to proceed is the smart thing to do.