The starting quarterback -- who, by the way, is a rookie -- isn't playing in the preseason finale? Not even a series?
Robert Griffin and many of the Washington Redskins' starters are excused from the game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Wednesday. Instead, they're focusing on the regular-season opener at New Orleans on Sept. 9.
That's just wrong.
As long as the Redskins keep charging regular-season prices for preseason games and want $9 a beer, they at least should pretend to put on a good show. The few fans who will head to FedEx Field for this throwaway game -- and it easily could be only 25,000 -- will watch two reserve quarterbacks who hopefully won't play again until next summer.
The Redskins peddled $35 shirts commemorating Griffin's first meeting with Indianapolis' Andrew Luck. Now they're not even allowing him to make a throwaway appearance?
Starters always have played a series or two in the finale to improve team chemistry. The Redskins certainly need that considering they haven't figured out who's the starting running back and the offensive line remains in flux. Griffin certainly could use more experience against pass rushes. A few snaps in a meaningless game are anything but meaningless to him.
It's not like Shanahan needs extra time to decide that Kirk Cousins is the No. 3 quarterback. If that wasn't sealed before camp started, Rex Grossman made sure of it with a perfect 158.3 passer rating after hitting all eight passes against Indianapolis on Saturday. Grossman should be the choice off the bench should Griffin become injured or ineffective.
Griffin certainly isn't asking for a veteran's day off. After hitting 11 of 17 passes for just 74 yards and nothing downfield, Griffin admitted he needed to gauge his receivers' game speed better. Uh, that only happens in games.
Still, the rookie figures Tampa Bay -- a team the Redskins face again in Week 4 of the regular season -- must be some scrimmage and is moving on to New Orleans.
"If we are going to finish the preseason with this performance, I think that was a great way to finish it," Griffin said. "The Tampa game we will have a lot of guys out there fighting for spots on the team. And I'll be out there jumping around as always pumped up for the game. But [Shanahan] wants us to sit out and get ready for the Saints, and that is what we are going to do."
There's some thought the Saints will crumble this season after a disruptive offseason of "Bountygate" that included the suspension of their coach. Maybe, but New Orleans will be all in for the opener. It might be the team's best effort of the season. Certainly, Saints fans who believe the team has been unfairly penalized will make the Superdome beyond deafening. Griffin better spend the next two weeks listening to Pearl Jam at max volume on his iPod.
Shanahan doesn't want his starters to return on three days' rest to face Tampa Bay. But until this team earns a playoff bye, no rest should be granted.