By JOSEPH WHITE
2013-09-03 06:01 AM
ASHBURN, Virginia (AP) -- So much for those last-minute "concerns." RG3 is starting Week 1.
Washington Redskins coach Mike Shanahan finally confirmed Monday what has appeared inevitable since the start of training camp: Robert Griffin III will start the season opener against the Philadelphia Eagles.
"I feel very good where Robert's at," Shanahan said. "And he'll be our starter on Monday night unless there's some crazy setback that we don't anticipate."
As is fitting with all things Griffin these days, Shanahan couldn't make the proclamation without leaving a few loose ends of intrigue. The coach refused to disclose the "concerns" that caused him to delay the announcement for several days after the quarterback was medically cleared by Dr. James Andrews.
Andrews gave Griffin the go-ahead Thursday after examining the quarterback's surgically repaired right knee in Florida, where the Redskins were playing the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in a preseason game.
But Shanahan said at the time that Andrews also had "concerns" that needed to be addressed. Andrews contradicted the coach the next day in a series of text messages, saying he had "no concerns."
Nevertheless, Shanahan said Andrews voiced those concerns Sunday in a conference call with Griffin, general manager Bruce Allen and team athletic trainer Larry Hess. The call, the coach said, was aimed at "making sure we're all on the same page."
The conclusion? Shanahan said Griffin is "ready to go -- full-speed ahead."
Shanahan did indicate that the team has learned from last season, when Griffin missed all or part of four games due to various injuries. The general perception is that the read-option offense makes Griffin more vulnerable to injury, even though his injuries came on drop-back passes, usually when trying to scramble.
"You're always trying to take a look at what's in the best interest of your football team, obviously the health of your football team as well," Shanahan said. "But if we didn't feel like Robert was full-go, and he was ready to play and do all the things that you ask a guy to do, he would not be playing in this game.
"We believe he can do everything that a quarterback is asked to do. And if that's sprinting out, if it's running the option, if it's dropping back, we think he can do all those things because he's proved it to us in practice and there hasn't been a setback."
The bottom line is that Griffin will start, making a remarkably expedited return for last year's NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year. It's been only eight months since Andrews repaired two ligaments in Griffin's knee a few days after the Redskins' playoff loss to the Seattle Seahawks in January.
Griffin didn't miss a day of training camp, His practice snaps were limited and he wasn't allowed to play in a preseason game. He was frustrated about not being allowed to do more, but Shanahan maintained it was all done with an eye on the regular season.
Teammates said Griffin has moved especially well in practice the last week or so.
"He looked great," linebacker Brian Orakpo said. "Robert is back. He's back to being himself."
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