Robert Griffin III is going to start the regular season opener at quarterback without having played in a preseason game. That’s unusual for a quarterback coming off of a torn ACL; in fact, it may be unprecedented in recent times.
Jordan Raanan of NJ.com looked at the returns of five other NFL starting quarterbacks from torn ACLs—Tom Brady, Carson Palmer, Daunte Culpepper, Donovan McNabb, and Phillip Rivers. All of them saw two or three games of preseason action in their comeback seasons.
Griffin’s injury did come later in the season than those of Brady, Culpeper, and McNabb. But both Rivers and Palmer were injured later in January than was Griffin and they both played the following preseason. So recovery time is not necessarily an impediment to Griffin playing in August
Raanan also has the stats on each quarterback’s first game back and their stats that season. It’s a mixed bag; some had solid seasons while Culpepper was benched by the Dolphins.
Griffin went back and forth on the importance of preseason games over the course of training camp.
“I don’t think preseason actually matters that much when it comes to that,” he said the day before camp started. “I think if you talk to a lot of the vets, they don’t even like the preseason. I think that’s a well-known fact. Even I know that and I’ve only been in the league one year. I think you can get that timing, those reps in practice and that’s what I’m going to get later in the preseason.”
A few weeks later he was singing a different tune. He was asked if he was going to ask Mike Shanahan if he could play in a preseason game. “You know me too well. I’m going to, definitely,” he said. “I want to play, let’s get that straight. I want to play in the preseason.”
So who was right, Griffin in late July or Griffin in mid-August? I suspect that he might have benefited from a few exhibition snaps but in the long run it won’t make much difference. The risk him playing may not have been worth the marginal gains.
The Redskins haven't shied away from using draft picks on players with an injury history, and that trend continued all the way to their final pick of the draft with Auburn CB Joshua Holsey.
Holsey missed parts of the 2013 and 2015 seasons at Auburn due to torn ACLs, but rebounded with a strong season in 2016. He had 30 tackles, three interceptions and 10 passes defended in his senior season.
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He was overlooked through most of the draft process due to his injury history and was snubbed at the combine.
The seventh round is a spot to take a flier on a guy who has some traits you like, and this certainly fits the bill with the pick of Joshua Holsey.
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With two picks in the seventh round, the Redskins rolled the dice and selected Josh Harvey-Clemons. A safety from Louisville that started his career at Georgia, Harvey-Clemons was a five star recruit out of high school that eventually left Georgia due to multiple positive drug tests.
His junior year at Louisville, however, was a breakout season for Harvey-Clemons. Here are three things to know:
- Testing - At Georgia, Harvey-Clemons dealt with multiple suspensions for marijuana. That had a major impact on his draft status, and will have the eyes of the NFL watching him on the next level.
- Size - Harvey-Clemons has the size to play safety in the NFL, or maybe even more of a hybrid role like Su'a Cravens as a rookie. He's listed at 6-foot-4 and 217 lbs. NFL.com describes him with an "alpha mentality."
- Keep it together - After sitting out a transfer year, Harvey-Clemons played well at Lousville for two seasons. He logged more than 140 tackles and took ACC conference honors in 2015 and 2016. Whatever problems he had early in his college career (cough pot cough) he controlled at Louisville. If that continues, Harvey Clemons could have a chance at making the Redskins roster.
Simply put? The Redskins rolled the dice on a kid with good size and tackling ability who had problems with marijuana early in his college career. A lot of college students have problems smoking marijuana early in their college career. In the 7th round, this seems like a good gamble.
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