Since we're still more than three months from the start of the NFL regular season, speculating on week one games at this point seems premature. That being said, there will be a lot of people paying extra attention to the September 9 Monday night match-up between the Eagles and Redskins. It will be Chip Kelly's first game as head coach of the Eagles and whether he can transform an NFL offense to look like his high octane attack at Oregon will be interesting. The bigger question will be the availability of Washington quarterback Robert Griffin III.
In his rookie season RG3 passed for 3,200 yards, completed 66 percent of his passes, threw for 20 touchdowns and his ability to run made him a terror for defenses to defend. He averaged nearly seven yards a carry, accumulated 815 yards on the ground, and scored seven rushing touchdowns. The one negative in Griffin's rookie campaign was injuries that held him out of one game, deteriorated his level of play down the stretch, and negated his ability to succeed in a playoff loss against Seattle. In January his right knee was operated on.
At the time of the surgery it was expected Griffin would miss the first few weeks of the 2013 season. He now hopes to be ready for training camp. On Saturday Mark Maske of the Washington Post reported that Griffin would be comfortable with playing in the regular season opener even if he doesn't participate in any of the preseason games. Coach Mike Shanahan said that Griffin would need to practice at some point but not play in an exhibition game in order to start the opener.
Exhibition sporting events are meaningless by definition. You learn very little by watching them. However, in the case of a player coming back from an injury, it is nice to see him run around and look somewhat healthy. Advocating for Griffin to play extensively during the preseason is silly. Even if he was healthy you wouldn't want him taking many hits in games that don't count. But if he doesn't play at all, there will be no way to know what to expect come September 9.
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If healthy Griffin is going to be among the most exciting players in the NFL for the next decade. Whether he can stay on the field is a major question. It seems likely in one way or another he'll give it a go against the Eagles. If he doesn't take a snap during the preseason, it will just add to the intrigue of an already fascinating match-up.