Off the Snap: Still no date set for RGIII’s return to action
Catching you up on the latest must-read news and analysis from around the web….
• Robert Griffin III worked out on the field before Washington’s preseason win over Tennessee on Thursday, and he looked sharp doing so. Still, head coach Mike Shanahan said that “no date has been determined” for when RGIII will return in full to practice, per NFL.com.
“I said, ‘If you’d like to go through pregame warmups, you’re welcome to,’ as I said to a number of our players,” Shanahan said of Griffin in his postgame press conference. “Robert wanted to get some more work done, so it was good to see him out there.”
Wisely, there has been little rush by the Redskins to get their superstar quarterback on the field this preseason. The team still has three exhibition games remaining before a Sept. 9 opener against Philadelphia. Barring any setbacks between now and then, Griffin probably can be expected to start that week, though he may not see any game action before then.
Griffin has participated some in camp with his teammates, mainly in non-contact, seven-on-seven drills. Before the Redskins would clear him to play in a game, they would need to see him go through a complete workout with the team.
There’s still time for that, of course, even if it appears that Kirk Cousins will start again on Aug. 19, when Washington plays at Pittsburgh in its second preseason game.
• Much has been made of the Buffalo Bills’ new offense, with QBs Kevin Kolb and E.J. Manuel fighting it out for the top spot on the depth chart. The team’s defensive changes, however, could go even further in determining the Bills’ fate this season.
New defensive coordinator Mike Pettine is turning Buffalo over to a hybrid 3-4/4-3 scheme — the main goal being, “to confuse an offense,” Pettine said, according to mpnnow.com. “Sometimes we want to make it difficult to identify who is who. A big part of offensive football is identifying potential pass rushers and setting your protection that way. We feel we can run the same defense with different people and it will look different to an offense.”
That aim relies on having flexibility on defense provided by a number of versatile players. The Bills did what they could to add a few more of those bodies this offseason, adding guys like Jerry Hughes, Kiko Alonso, Alan Branch and Manny Lawson. After finishing 26th in points allowed last season, the Bills have almost nowhere to go but up.
• Detroit Lions rookie cornerback Darius Slay is preaching “education first” for his six-year-old son, Darion. The Detroit Free Press‘ Dave Birkett reports that Darion will not be in attendance for his dad’s NFL debut Friday night, because Darius insisted that his offspring attend his second day of school in Georgia.
“I don’t want to put him there,” Darius Slay told Birkett. “He can’t be missing school like that, even to see me play. Got to get an education first. Education’s first.”
Darian, a first-grader, will be in attendance for at least the Lions’ Thanksgiving Day game against the Packers. But he will have to find some other way to watch the preseason opener.
• Bernard Pollard drew a little extra attention to himself earlier this offseason, when a media member snapped a photo of a note in Pollard’s locker that read: “Goal – Super Bowl … Mission – Kill!!!”
Pollard dodged any punishment from the NFL for that memo, but the new Titans safety may not be as fortunate after being flagged for a personal foul in Thursday’s win over Washington. Just a few minutes into the first quarter, Pollard delivered a late hit on Redskins receiver Aldrick Robinson as Robinson headed out of bounds.
Though it was far from the most brutal act of football violence you’ll see, Pollard still could hear from the league office in the coming days.
• The tragic tale of former Ravens and Broncos quarterback Cullen Finnerty took another unfortunate turn this week, when an autopsy revealed that Finnerty, who was found dead in the woods in May, had suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy. CTE, for short, is a degenerative disease related to brain trauma, like that suffered in a concussion.
Junior Seau and Dave Duerson, among others, both were found to have similar symptoms after they took their own lives in separate incidents.
Finnerty, who went undrafted out of Grand Valley State in 2007, signed with the Ravens in camp that year and eventually was bumped to the active roster late in the season. He then joined the Broncos for a stint prior to the 2008 season, before his career wound to a close shortly thereafter.