BEREA - You can bet that Browns coach Pat Shurmur will keep a close watch on the injury report this week, and he might even take a look at the Browns' list of injuries.
The ankle injury suffered by Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III has added intrigue to Sunday's game between the Browns and Redskins at Cleveland Browns Stadium. Griffin was hurt in the fourth quarter of Washington's overtime win over the Baltimore Ravens. Kirk Cousins stepped in, but Griffin returned and played three plays on a gimpy ankle.
A MRI revealed no ACL damage, but Griffin has a first-degree sprain of the LCL in his right ankle. He'll be monitored on a daily basis.
Griffin's unavailability would have a big impact on the Browns' defensive strategy. Cousins is more of a traditional pocket passer and doesn't present the option threat of Griffin.
"We have to prepare for their offense, and they have some elements of option football," Shurmur said. "They have elements of drop-back passing. They're an off-tackle zone running team, and they do have their wrinkles.
"We have to prepare for all of that. We can't stop the preparation worrying about who's going to play because I'm sure there are elements of drop back football and option game that both of the quarterbacks might execute. We have to get ready for them."
The Browns scouted Cousins prior to this year's draft. The Redskins selected him in the fourth round despite having traded up to get Griffin second overall.
"I know a lot about him (Cousins). I talked to him numerous times as we went through last year's draft evaluations," Shurmur said. "He's a very mature guy. I like the way he led (at Michigan State). Very efficient. He won a lot of football games. All the things you look for in a player.
"Some people may say they were surprised they drafted him along with RG III. I thought he was a good player and I'm not surprised he was drafted. We liked him quite a bit."
It would be a shame if Griffin isn't able to play Sunday. He would bring excitement that Browns Stadium hasn't seen all season and add to the intensity of what will already be a playoff-like atmosphere.
Shurmur won't complain if Griffin is sidelined. He's added a college style of play to the NFL and turned the league on its head with option runs and a solid passing game that's produced 2,906 yards, 18 touchdowns and four interceptions.
It's no secret that the Browns made a play to trade up from the fourth spot to second overall with the St. Louis Rams to land Griffin. They offered the Rams picks four and 22 this year and next year's number one. The Redskins offered three first-round picks and a second-round choice.
"You can group in a (49ers quarterback) Colin Kaepernick, a (Panthers quarterback) Cam Newton; those style of quarterbacks that are off-the-chart athletes that can carry the football," Shurmur said. "They added these elements of the option game, and they can be very effective.
"There was no question in my mind he'd be a success in this league. I credit their coaching staff because they've incorporated things in their offense that utilize his skill and ability, and I think that's smart."
If Griffin plays, it would pit two of the four quarterbacks selected in the first round of the draft against each other. The inevitable comparisons between Griffin and Cleveland's Brandon Weeden would surely follow.
"It's natural to compare the quarterbacks that play against one another," Shurmur said. "Unless something is goofy, they'll never be on the field together. At the end of the day the one that plays the best is probably the one whose team wins."