Robert Griffin III Must Protect Himself – Or Take

It is ironic that during the week the Washington Redskins devised a game plan to minimize exposure of their prized rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III to potentially vicious hits, Griffin got blasted by the Atlanta Falcons’ Shawn Witherspoon, causing a mild concussion.The Redskins were traumatized to see Griffin wobbled, but hope that he would be OK to play next week when they host the Minnesota Vikings. They also hope Griffin finally learned a lesson. There were no need for him to take that hit Sunday.He was not going to get to the end zone. There was ample time for him to throw away the ball and let the field goal unit come onto the field. Or he could have just sprinted out of bounds. Trying to cut back against two defenders that had the angle on him set himself up to take a legal but devastating hit from Witherspoon, jolting his head back before crashing to the turf.“We’d like to have him throw the football away when he’s outside of the pocket,” team leader London Fletcher said after the game, “and not take the hit like that.”It is admirable to be so competitive and to be willing to sacrifice his body. But Griffin has to be smarter. There is a lot of value to playing is conservative in order to stay on the field. He appears to be a smart guy, so it stands to reason Witherspoon hammered home the message of protecting himself.All he has to do is look at Michael Vick of the Philadelphia Eagles and see how much punishment he continues to take week after week through a reluctance to get out of bounds, slide feet forward or throw away the ball. Those are three options Griffin has to employ.Coach Mike Shanahan said Griffin was removed because he could not answer basic questions about the game, such as the score and what quarter it was. Griffin Tweeted that he will play next week against the Vikings, but, under league rules, Griffin will not be permitted to practice or play until he is cleared by neurologists that have no association with the Redskins.Without Griffin, the Redskins’ chances for success diminish exponentially. Rookie Kirk Cousins took advantage of busted Falcons coverage and hit Santana Moss for a 77-yard touchdown during his action replacing Griffin. He then threw two interceptions in his last two passes, helping Atlanta secure the win. The idea that Rex Grossman could return as starting quarterback makes Redskin fans everywhere as loopy as Griffin felt Sunday. Whenever he returns, Griffin must protect himself with wise decisions when under duress — or the kind of abuse Witherspoon inflicted will not be the last.

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