The Washington Redskins won the NFC East last season for the first time since 1999 with a 10-6 regular season record, an improvement of five wins over 2011. The driving force for the team’s success in 2012 was quarterback Robert Griffin III, who threw for 3,200 yards, rushed for over 800 yards and had 27 total touchdowns (20 passing, seven rushing) on his way to winning NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year.
But Griffin’s status for the start of the 2013 season is in doubt after suffering a torn ACL and LCL in his right knee during Washington’s playoff loss to the Seattle Seahawks. He missed a game late in the regular season with an injury to the same knee, and did not look quite the same despite leading the Redskins to critical wins in Week 16 and 17. Add in the fact he aggravated the knee issue early in the game against Seattle, which rendered him ineffective until being injured again and finally giving way to backup Kirk Cousins, and a lot of controversy surrounded head coach Mike Shanahan’s decision to put his franchise quarterback at greater risk for injury.
The near record-setting season Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson had in 2012 after a similar injury will not do Griffin any favors in terms of public perception, but all indications are he is ahead of schedule in his recovery right now. He was able to throw passes when the Redskins opened OTAs on May 23, and more recently has progressed to running on the injured knee without any reported restrictions.
There will surely be more positive reports coming regarding Griffin’s progress and his status for the start of the season, but his level of activity when training camp gets going will lend much more clarity. It’s feasible, and even likely, that he will be held out of all four of Washington’s preseason games with an eye toward being ready when the games count, which would be a smart approach for everyone involved. Griffin’s style of play will definitely have to change some, regardless of when he plays his first game in 2013, or he may never quite fulfill the promise he showed during his rookie season.
Brad Berreman is a contributing writer at Rant Sports.com. Follow him on Twitter @bradberreman24.