The Washington Redskins made a dramatic turnaround last season, going from 5-11 in 2011 to 10-6 and their first NFC East title since 1999. But things came to a disappointing end with a playoff loss to the Seattle Seahawks, and if the Redskins hope to repeat their success from 2012 improvement in some key areas will be required.
There are a few candidates for who is the most irreplaceable player on Washington’s roster, including running back Alfred Morris (1,613 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns as a rookie last season) and linebacker Brian Orakpo, who missed all but two games last season due to a torn pectoral. But to me the choice is clear, and surely not surprising.
The Redskins made a significant trade to move up and take quarterback Robert Griffin III in the 2012 NFL Draft, and he did not disappoint. He had 3,200 passing yards with 20 touchdowns and just five interceptions, while completing close to 66 percent of his passes, and he added 815 rushing yards and seven touchdowns on the ground on his way to earning AP Offensive Rookie of the Year honors.
Despite missing just one start, injuries were a concern for Griffin throughout last season. From an early-season concussion to the right knee injury that bothered him late in the season and led to him failing to finish the Redskins’ playoff loss to the Seahawks, Griffin may have to change his playing style this season and going forward in order to have a long career.
All reports out of training camp to this point suggest Griffin is making excellent progress in recovery from a torn ACL and LCL in that right knee, and it would be a shock if he is not on the field for the season opener against the Philadelphia Eagles. No offense to backup Kirk Cousins, who played very well in his one start last season, but Griffin has to be ready to go and be able to stay on the field for the Redskins to have any chance of winning a second straight division title.
Brad Berreman is a contributing writer at Rant Sports.com. Follow him on Twitter @bradberreman24.