RGIII's Amazing Comeback for the Washington Redskins
Last season, all the talk was about the amazing return from an ACL tear by Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, who returned to game action in Week 1 after suffering the injury in Week 16 of the 2011 season.
Now, it's Robert Griffin III at the center of talk about being able to recover so quickly.
The quarterback's injury occurred at a later time in the season than Peterson's. Griffin suffered his torn ligament in the NFC Wild Card Game against the Seattle Seahawks.
Six months later, Griffin has already been cleared to practice. He tweeted the news on Monday.
Doctors cleared me to practice. Coach is going to ease me in. Thank you for your support & See you in Richmond— Robert Griffin III (@RGIII) July 22, 2013
Such an amazing recovery. Now, don't expect him to play in any preseason games, but the odds are now very good that he will be behind center come Week 1 against Philadelphia.
2012 was a great rookie season for the Baylor product, who threw for 3,200 yards and 20 touchdowns while adding 815 yards on the ground and seven rushing touchdowns on the way to an amazing second-half surge.
The Redskins were 3-6 before their bye week. They went 7-0 after the break.
Griffin and the Redskins won the NFC East in the last game of the season, going 10-6 before bowing out of the playoffs the next week. Griffin showed off his arm many times, as well as his running ability. Teams struggled to stop him.
The only way Griffin would be stopped was if he stopped himself, which he did once, missing one game due to a concussion. But when he was healthy, he was a force that was taking the NFL by storm.
However, Griffin wasn’t the only reason for the Redskins’ sudden success in 2012. Consistency at the running back position helped too.
After a 2011 season full of "Shanahanigans" at running back, the Redskins struck gold with rookie running back Alfred Morris, who rushed for 1,613 yards—the only running back besides Peterson to top the 1,600-yard mark.
Playing in Shanahan's zone-blocking scheme behind a good offensive line, Morris has the opportunity to post another strong season. Teams will continue to respect Griffin, potentially leaving holes for the second-year back to exploit.
Injuries, including one to his foot, plagued the start of Pierre Garcon's career as a Redskin, as he missed six of the first nine games in 2012-13. But the wideout rebounded nicely and posted at least 65 receiving yards in five of his last seven games.
Garcon underwent surgery for a torn labrum during the offseason, but he should be good to go for Week 1.
After Garcon, however, the Redskins' WR crop is a bit of a grab bag, with Josh Morgan, Santana Moss and Leonard Hankerson. Granted, Moss is still a valuable slot receiver.
Hankerson has been fairly disappointing up to now and Morgan didn’t overly impress last season, but was somewhat serviceable.
While there may not be much depth at wide receiver, the Redskins do have some good young players at tight end, including Fred Davis, Niles Paul, Logan Paulsen and rookie Jordan Reed.
Davis is recovering from a torn Achilles and re-signed for one year with the hopes of cashing in next offseason. He is a nice safety valve for Griffin and was on his way to a 1,000-yard season in 2011 with Rex Grossman and John Beck under center before his four-game suspension.
Paul and Paulsen will rotate as blocking tight ends and may also get involved in the passing game with Reed recovering from a knee and quadriceps injury.
With Brian Orakpo (torn pectoral) and Adam Carriker (quad tendon tear) back, the Redskins' pass rush is instantly improved. Orakpo returns with Ryan Kerrigan to re-form the young pass-rushing duo while Carriker will rotate within the front line. Once again, Barry Cofield anchors the front line.
London Fletcher contemplated retirement, but decided to return for a 16th NFL season—his seventh with the Redskins. Fletcher has started every game since 2001, his last season in St. Louis, before spending his next five seasons in Buffalo.
Perry Riley will join Fletcher on the inside of the linebacking corps.
The secondary was a weakness for the Redskins last season and they addressed it in the draft, selecting cornerback David Amerson in the second round as well as safeties Bacarri Rambo and Phillip Thomas in later rounds. These guys have good upside and could contribute sooner rather than later.
They will play behind DeAngelo Hall, Josh Wilson, Brandon Meriweather and Reed Doughty.
Sav Rocca and Kai Forbath will punt and kick, respectively, Nick Sundberg will long snap and Niles Paul will return kicks.
Heading into training camp, the Redskins may be the favorites in the NFC East. With Griffin healthy, a strong running game and an improved defense, the Redskins are in good position as possibly the best team in the division—at least until proven otherwise.
The big question was the status of Griffin. It's fair to say that has been answered. Now, the next one is, "Can Alfred Morris avoid the sophomore slump?"
2012 was known for Adrian Peterson's amazing comeback. 2013 is RGIII's year.
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