Towards the end of last night’s training camp practice at M&T Bank Stadium, the Ravens backup quarterback, Robert Griffin III, suffered a thumb injury on his throwing hand. The injury occurred after Griffin’s hand collided with Tim William’s helmet during a scrimmage.
Baltimore Beatdown’s own Spencer Schultz captured the moment on video. As you can see in the footage, Williams rushed the passer and made contact with RGIII’s finger. While the contact was minimal. it was enough to cause some significant damage.
I was able to catch the rep that RG3 injured his hand on. He hit Tim Williams on the helmet on his follow through. Wishing him a speedy recovery. pic.twitter.com/v7YspxYsgj— Spencer N. Schultz (@ravens4dummies) July 28, 2019
Initial speculation and reporting suggested that Griffin would only miss a few weeks of action, but ESPN’s Adam Schefter delivered more clarity on his status in the late hours of Saturday night:
Ravens’ QB Robert Griffin III is expected to be out 4-8 weeks with a hairline fracture in his right thumb, per source. Griffin injured his thumb tonight during practice.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) July 28, 2019
This is obviously less than ideal for both sides, but the most important thing is wishing Griffin a speedy recovery. He’s been nothing but a true class act since joining the team and earned himself a well-deserved, two-year contract this offseason. The fact that he’s suffered yet another injury is truly unfortunate.
The question now begs, however: what should the Ravens do in his absence? The 4-8 week timetable is a broad one. At the earliest, Griffin would return sometime towards the end of late August, roughly around or shortly after the team’s third preseason game. That’s going off the four week estimate, though.
If Griffin’s timetable extends to eight weeks, he wouldn’t return to action until late September, possibly sometime between Weeks 2-4 of the regular season. The best-case scenario is the former, but hand injuries can be tricky. The better bet is probably assuming RGIII won’t be available to suit up come Week 1 against the Dolphins.
Baltimore will likely explore bringing in another body at the position, and the most suitable option available on the free agent market is veteran Josh Johnson. Johnson, 33, was a preseason standout for Baltimore back in 2016 but was released by the team during roster cuts. He was quickly scooped up by the Giants and backed up Eli Manning for a year.
Last season, Johnson was signed by the Redskins in the wake of injuries to their top two quarterbacks at the time, Alex Smith and Colt McCoy. Johnson started three games for Washington towards the end of the season, completing 52 of 91 passes for 590 yards while tossing three touchdowns and four interceptions. He also rushed for 120 yards and a TD.
Like Jackson, RGIII and McSorley, Johnson brings rushing and dual-threat ability to the table, even at the age of 33. Johnson is familiar with the organization and would fit into the offensive scheme well. He won’t blow anyone away with elite arm strength or accuracy, but he’s a stabilizing presence and capable passer at the very least.
If Griffin were to miss the start of the regular season, Johnson would be an adequate backup behind Jackson, a role that McSorley isn’t quite ready for yet. If RGIII returns during the preseason, Johnson would have at least provided another arm for a few weeks.
Considering Baltimore’s offensive scheme, they’re not looking for a pure pocket passer at the position. Therefore, outside of Johnson, the top available quarterbacks are Geno Smith, Trevone Boykin, and Colin Kaepernick. Johnson is probably the best player between these three and has the edge in experience and familiarity with the team.
Whether or not the Ravens pursue him or any other free agent quarterbacks remains to be seen. Stay tuned for more updates in the coming days.
Should the Ravens sign Josh Johnson?
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