The news today is relatively "good" in my eyes. Obviously had he never gotten hurt that would have been the best news, but I would be very surprised if RG isn't participating in camp and then starting week one.
So, assuming he is set for 2013, I keep hearing the team needs to "protect" him. But what I think people fail to realize is that there simply isn't much anyone can do. At some point RG has to play football again and every time he steps on the field he will be in extreme danger. Just a fact. It is a dangerous game... Even more so for someone that has undergone two major surgeries already.
The "haters" (just realists) were right. RG is a smaller, "stringier," guy than Luck. RG is built like an Olympic hurdler... Luck is built "like luggage" (as Colin Cowherd likes to say). Prior to the draft I said I'd absolutely take Luck over RG for this reason... The Colts absolutely made the right choice.
And I think the Redskins made the right choice as well. Luck was off the board, so even though it cost us picks, we made the move we had to make even knowing the risks. He was/is worth the risk. He has already delivered one great year and I suspect him will do so on several more occasions. I also think that he is likely to miss more time due to injury (hopefully not major injuries) and that ultimately he will not play as frequently or as long as Luck.
But I still think he can win championships in DC... His window just might be smaller.
So, RG is ready to go next year.... What can the team do to protect him?
1. I have no doubt he will be participating in camp at some level. No matter what, no matter how fast he is progressing, I would not play him in a preseason game until the last preseason game on the schedule. And then, I'd only put him out there for a few series to let him experience game speed and gain some confidence.
2. Limit designed runs. They were already doing this as the year progressed. I don't think you can scrap designed runs completely... It makes him dangerous and helps other areas of the offense. And especially around the goal line, a well timed sneak, etc is often a good call. But I would certainly scale back the read option plays and only allow him to run it enough to where defenses have to plan for it.
3. By far the most important... Don't play him after he shows signs of injury. I doubt this will be an issue considering the events of this year. Coaches can't listen to RG anymore...if he doesn't look right, keep him out. There is a danger here of course of over-correcting. Do you take him out for the day every time he is slow to get up or takes a hard shot? That is going to happen weekly. They will need to be tuned in to what is a real potential issues and what's just a typical football bump or bruise.
4. Take him out of non-critical situations. Err on the side of caution in blowouts, etc. again that rarely happens, but if a game is out of hand, they can remove him.
That is about all you can do.
RG will have to plant, cut, burst, get hit, jump, sprint, etc whenever he returns. And every time he does those things, he will be at risk.
There isn't a ton the Redskins can do. It will be more up to RG himself. Not only will he need to learn to slide and run out of bounds, but he will need to understand when a play isn't worth saving. But there will be times when RG HAS to run and HAS to get hit. If RG never scrambles and never uses his legs as a weapon, then he is no longer special. He doesn't need 76 yard TD runs, but a Houdini act on 3rd and 13 is what makes him special and so dangerous. He can't abandon that because that is who he is.
Bottom line, there are minor things RG and the coaches can do, but once he puts those pads on, he is instantly at risk. Just gotta cross our fingers that he has learned a few lessons and that luck is on his side.