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Despite NFL Crackdown, Head Injuries Mark Week 2

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USA TODAY
September 16, 2013 Monday
FINAL EDITION
SPORTS; Pg. 7C
390 words
Week 2 marked by head injuries;
Multiple players exit because of brain trauma
Lindsay H. Jones, @ByLindsayHJones, USA TODAY Sports

Washington Redskins safety Brandon Meriweather lowered his head into a pair of Green Bay Packers running backs Sunday. Two helmet-to-helmet hits. Two concussions, one to Packers rookie Eddie Lacy and, later, one to Meriweather.

Despite the NFL's crackdown on helmet-to-helmet hits and a focus on reducing head and neck injuries, Sunday was a bad day, especially in Green Bay. Lacy appeared woozy, staggered to the sideline and didn't return to the game after the first-quarter hit. And Meriweather was down for several minutes after colliding headfirst with James Starks.

In Philadelphia, San Diego Chargers wide receiver Malcom Floyd was taken off the field on a stretcher after a collision with Philadelphia Eagles linebacker DeMeco Ryans, who hit Floyd with his shoulder, not his head.

Floyd initially was diagnosed with a neck injury and was taken to a Philadelphia hospital for observation, but he was expected to be OK.

The hits on Lacy, Starks and Floyd did not result in penalties.

Floyd was cleared to fly home with the Chargers on Sunday evening.

"All the tests right now look good, so it's great for the organization to go out and get a win for Malcom," coach Mike McCoy said.

Houston Texans Pro Bowl receiver Andre Johnson and Carolina Panthers cornerback Josh Thomas were also being evaluated for possible concussions.

RG3 misfiring: Washington Redskins quarterback Robert GriffinIII got off to another bad start in Sunday's 38-20 loss to the Green Bay Packers -- a game the Pack led 31-0 midway through the third quarter.

At that point, Griffin was 9-for-19 passing for 143 yards with an interception and had run twice for 1 yard as coaches continued to be cautious about deploying their read-option attack.

An executive in personnel for a different team who saw Sunday's game told USA TODAY Sports that Griffin seemed to be a little off rhythm-wise but didn't think his reconstructed right knee was the problem.

But another scout who saw last Monday's loss at the Philadelphia Eagles thought it might be affecting Griffin's mechanics.

"Boy, he was struggling," the scout told USA TODAY Sports. "It looked like he had arm strength and was kind of launching the ball, but there was nothing behind it."

Both people spoke on condition of anonymity because NFL rules forbid them from commenting on other teams' players.

Contributing: Tom Pelissero

September 16, 2013

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