Robert Griffin III's home debut turned out to be well worth the wait for fans of the Washington Redskins. Backers of the Burgundy and Gold will have their next opportunity to witness the dazzling rookie quarterback in person delayed for a little while, however.
Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan announced after Saturday's 30-17 victory over Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts that Griffin will not play in Wednesday's preseason finale against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from FedEx Field. The No. 2 overall choice of this past draft's next game action will come when Washington opens its 2012 regular-season schedule at New Orleans on Sept. 9.
Washington's first home game of the regular season won't take place until Week 3, a Sept. 23 matchup with Cincinnati. The Redskins also face the Buccaneers in Tampa the following Sunday, which may have played a part in Shanahan's decision.
Griffin performed well in his highly touted showdown with Luck, taken by the Colts with the top pick in April's draft. The 2011 Heisman Trophy recipient completed 11 of his 17 passes for 74 yards and directed a touchdown drive near the end of the first half in which he capped by finding wide receiver Santana Moss for a four-yard score.
The 22-year-old finishes the preseason with 193 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions on 20-of-31 passing (64.5 percent).
With Griffin being rested, fellow first-year pro Kirk Cousins may draw the start against the Buccaneers. The 2012 fourth-round pick has also impressed in his chances, having hit on 27-of-46 throws for 338 yards and three touchdowns with one interception over the first three outings.
While Griffin was the headline attraction, it was another Washington rookie that stole the show in Saturday's win. Running back Albert Morris, a sixth- round selection out of Florida Atlantic, rushed for 107 yards and a touchdown on only 14 carries.
Morris' strong showing has put him in the mix to be the lead ball-carrier to start the season, with holdovers Tim Hightower, Evan Royster and Roy Helu also possibilities. Hightower, who missed most of last year with a torn ACL, gained 28 yards on five attempts against the Colts in his first action of this preseason, while Royster (knee) and Helu (Achilles) were held out with injuries.
The Redskins did make a decision on who'll be their kicker on Monday, signing former Baltimore Pro Bowler Billy Cundiff shortly after he was released by the Ravens. Veteran free-agent pickup Neil Rackers and incumbent Graham Gano had been competing for the position, but both were let go after Cundiff's addition.
Washington also announced on Monday that starting right tackle Jammal Brown will begin the season on the physically unable to perform list after undergoing hip surgery last week.
Tampa Bay is also holding a fierce competition at running back, one in which well-regarded rookie Doug Martin may have taken the lead after a solid showing in last Friday's 30-28 win over New England. The first-round choice started the contest and ran for 53 yards and a touchdown on 13 rushes while adding three receptions totaling 12 yards.
Martin is contending with one-time 1,000-yard rusher LeGarrette Blount, who managed just 22 yards on seven carries against the Patriots and has averaged a pedestrian 2.9 yards per attempt thus far in the preseason.
Safety Mark Barron, Tampa's other Day 1 selection in this most recent draft, made his mark as well by intercepting New England's Tom Brady and returning the pick 22 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter.
Bucs quarterback Josh Freeman played into the second half of Friday's triumph and threw for 102 yards on 10-of-19 passing. The fourth-year pro is expected to work only a handful of snaps this week to sharpen up for the team's Week 1 lid-lifter against Carolina.
Tampa Bay did suffer a big injury loss in the game, with Pro Bowl right guard Davin Joseph tearing his patella tendon late in the first half. He'll be placed on season-ending injured reserve, with Ted Larsen the favorite to take over.
Washington posted a 29-24 win over the Buccaneers at Fed Ex Field in last year's preseason finale, giving the Redskins a 6-5 edge in the all-time exhibition series.