Are the Redskins in trouble at Quarterback?

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Updated: August 20, 2013
Cousins, RG3, Pat White

Redskins QB Robert Griffin III is very famously recovering from a devastating knee injury suffered in the fourth quarter of Washington’s wild card loss to the Seattle Seahawks last January. While RG3 has been on the shelf, his backup, Kirk Cousins, has been running the first team offense — and looking good doing it. Last night, however, Cousins was tackled while running toward the sideline by Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Lawrence Timmons and Cousins injured his right foot.

After the game Cousins called his injury a “mild foot sprain” and the x-ray showed “nothing to note.” However, midfoot sprains sometimes turn out to be Lisfranc injuries [see Thomas, Phillip] and those injuries often end a player’s season [see Thomas, Phillip]. After the game, Cousins was spotted with a walking boot and crutches. Let’s face it, it’s always better to be off crutches than on them. Cousins will have an MRI to determine the full extent of Cousins’ injury.

I have to think we’ve seen the last of Cousins in the preseason, since his health is terribly important and preseason games are emphatically unimportant. Since RG3 was never scheduled to play in the preseason, that means the Redskins will go with Rex Grossman and Pat White at quarterback in preseason games three and four.

“I had to self-evaluate how much if I had to change directions and be an athlete, could I do that,” Cousins said after the game. “I decided preseason game No. 2, with a long season to go, now’s not the time to be a hero.”

So Cousins is out until September 9 at the earliest and RG3 is out until September 9 at the earliest. The franchise quarterback and the quarterback the team is relying on them to help them win if anything happens to the franchise quarterback are both on the shelf. But will they be able to return in good health when the season begins on Monday night against the Eagles?

According to Redskins owner Dan Snyder, the decision on whether or not RG3 plays on September 9 in the season opener against the Philadelphia Eagles will be made by Dr James Andrews, the physician who has overseen Griffin’s entire knee rehabilitation.

“Redskins owner Dan Snyder has told us that the decision about when Robert Griffin III will be cleared to play will be up to team orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews,” Salters said. “And it will be Andrews’s decision alone. And Robert Griffin knows that, because he told me so. He was out here earlier pre-game, working out, and was just downright giddy. He was singing, dancing as he was working out. …

“At one point, when he was switching sides of the field, he just went sprinting down the field. And Dr. Andrews was watching from the sideline, and the doctor’s reaction was priceless — he just started laughing out loud as if to say ‘Wow, look at what this guy is doing.’

“So the decision belongs to Dr. Andrews, but Robert Griffin is fully expecting to be cleared for Week 1. And this guy has a lot of confidence, he has a lot of swag. As he was heading back into the locker room after the workout, he ran by me and said ‘You guys need me to show you anything else?’ As if to say ‘I’m ready, let’s do this.’ “

Redskins fans should not breathe a sigh of relief until we receive positive and final word that Cousins has not suffered a Lisfranc injury. Although the team does not believe that to be the case right now, they also did not correctly diagnose Phillip Thomas’ Lisfranc injury until more than a day had passed since the injury had occurred. It’s early hours yet, as of this writing, so concern is still merited.

If the Redskins get Griffin and Cousins back in time for the season opener, they’ll have to hope both are ready to play. If we’ve learned one thing in the NFL, it’s to never count on good health.