Injuries are the Early Storyline at Camp
- Updated: July 27, 2012
The 2012 training camp kicked off for the Washington Redskins yesterday as the team’s first practices got underway. It isn’t really a surprise to anyone that most of the headlines have been dominated by Robert Griffin III. There have been so many hard hitting questions, such as: How much does the guy weigh? “Are you mad at Osi for calling you Bob?” and “What’s for dinner?”. The list goes on.
We get it. The Redskins haven’t had a quarterback since the Stone Age, and this kid is a pretty big deal coming out of college. Everybody wants to know everything about him.
So while everyone else is focusing on pistol formations and how impressive RG3 is (spoiler alert: he’s pretty freaking impressive), I want to turn your attention to a storyline that is not going to go away anytime soon.
The single most important determining factor heading into the 2012 season is the one that no one has any control over – injuries.
It’s only one day into the 2012 camp, and there has already been one promising young player lost to the IR, and two of the most important guys on this team are still struggling with past injuries.
It is hard to say what the impact will be of losing an undrafted guy like Chase Minnifield. Sure, he was pretty good in rookie camps and at OTA’s, but he never even put pads on. Minnifield has all the potential and talent in the world, but the question for him has always been his health. Stashing him on the IR for 2012 and spending a year getting him healthy could be one of the smartest things this organization does this season. Protecting the future of a guy with this type of potential is way more important than whatever small impact he would have while trying to come back too soon form his injuries.
Tim Hightower continues to deal with the ACL injury that cost him most of his 2012 season. While Hightower is stressing that he is at “full speed” on the reps he is getting, Mile Shanahan is preaching caution when it comes to the team’s projected starting running back.
“Hightower looked good.” Shanahan told members of local and national media. “As I told Tim, I said, ‘I don’t want to overdo it. I’ll get you through some individual work, a few team plays, then I’ll try to get you ready for the regular season after the first preseason game.’ I thought Tim did an excellent job today.”
While Shanahan reiterated his faith in Hightower, reminding the media that Tim was the starter before injury, he also showed faith in the younger backs on the roster.
“Obviously Roy [Helu] did a good job, [Evan] Royster did a good job. We’ve got a lot of guys that I believe have the ability to play and play well, so we’ll just let it play out.”
Even though the young backs have shown the ability to be impact players at the NFL level, their durability is still a big question after both Royster and Helu dealt with their own injury woes at the end of the 2012 season.
With all these question marks at such an important position, it is not really a shock to hear the rumors start swirling about Washington’s interest in free agent backs Ryan Grant and Cedric Benson. With all the question marks surrounding the 3 backs in DC, bringing another back to compete in camp doesn’t seem like such a bad idea.
The injury that stands out as being the biggest scare has to be that of starting right tackle Jammal Brown. Brown–who has never really been healthy since Shanahan traded for him in 2010–was believed to be having his best offseason in years. He spent a good portion of the offseason working with Yoga instructors to build up his flexibility and prevent these flare ups.
The scary thing is that it is still Brown’s hip that is the issue, the same hip that has been troubling him since 2010. This problem doesn’t seem to be going away.
When you trade as much as the Redskins did to get a franchise QB, there has to be a premium put on keeping him upright. This season hinges on the play of the offensive line more than any other unit, so to have your starting RT go on the PUP list on day one is disconcerting to say the least.
Injuries are something that every team has to deal with, and at this early stage in camp, it is probably a little premature to starting freaking out. But when you are talking about positions that are as important as offensive line and running back, there are no insignificant injuries.