Washington Redskins’ Cornerstones Must Avoid Sophomore Jinx
Washington Redskins‘ quarterback Robert Griffin III and running back Alfred Morris rejuvenated the franchise with their solid rookie seasons in 2012. Griffin III won NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year honors by virtue of his superb passing and rushing ability at quarterback. Not to be outdone, Morris ascended from the relative obscurity usually afforded a sixth round draft selection to rushing for over 1,600 yards. The efforts of Griffin III and Morris helped the Redskins capture the NFC East title in 2012, the franchise’s first division title since 1999.
Griffin III and Morris will be motivated to improve on their solid rookie seasons. Griffin III, nicknamed “RG3”, wants to show the world he’s totally recovered from the torn right ACL injury that slightly dampened his rookie season. The last image of RG3 NFL fans had was of him being carried off the field after aggravating his injury during Washington’s 24-14 Wild Card playoff loss to the Seattle Seahawks last season. The competitor in RG3 demands that he come back even stronger to lead the Redskins in 2013, and Griffin III is definitely rehabbing his injury feverishly to make his comeback a reality.
Luckily for Morris, he didn’t have to overcome such adversity. While Morris is the undisputed starter at running back, he could be pushed by other running backs on the roster. Roy Helu Jr. was the Redskins’ leading rusher in 2011. However, a toe injury cut short his 2012 season, paving the way for Morris. Helu Jr. will be looking to return to action and capitalize on any opportunity afforded him in 2013.
Washington also selected running backs Chris Thompson and Jawan Jamison in the 2013 NFL draft. Redskins’ head coach Mike Shanahan is known to give young players a fair chance to earn playing time, like Morris did in 2012. If Thompson and Jamison prove their worth as running backs, it’s quite possible that they, along with Helu Jr. and veteran running back Evan Royster, could take carries away from Morris.
But I digress. Washington’s success rests on the shoulders of the supremely talented RG3 and Morris. It will be a challenge for each of them to either match or surpass their output from 2012, considering that opposing NFL defenses will be primed to stop them. However, if RG3 and Morris remain efficient in guiding the Redskins’ offense, Washington could enjoy greater success with their two young stars for years to come.