On Jan. 6, 2013, Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III suffered a torn ACL. Fresh off of winning the 2012 NFL Rookie of the Year award, Griffin III's superstar profile took a significant blow as his future fell into question.
In 2013, the NFL regular season will provide the perfect stage for RG3 to overcome his injury, answer all questions, quiet the doubters and become an instant MVP candidate.
Per Howard Eskin of Fox 29, Dr. James Andrews has advised the Redskins to rest RG3 for the first four weeks of the season. Eskin proceeded to report that Washington plan ignore Andrews' suggestion and use Griffin when they deem him ready to play.
Numerous sources have since labeled Eskin's reports as false.
Regardless of what the truth is, all signs point towards RG3 being available to play during Washington's Week 1 game against the Philadelphia Eagles.
Griffin III has an uphill battle, as teams will game plan for his dynamic skill set. More importantly, RG3 will be forced to perform at an elite level after facing one of the most devastating injuries in all of professional sports.
With that being said, Griffin has every tool necessary to shine.
In terms of the direct impact a defense has on their quarterback, it's difficult to measure just how powerful it can be. With that being said, the Redskins played strong, albeit one-dimensional defense in 2012 despite missing some of their top performers.
In 2013, the return of Brian Orakpo highlights is what makes the Redskins' defense the one to watch in the NFC East.
Orakpo picked up 28.5 sacks during his first three seasons in the NFL, instantly becoming one of the best pass rushers in the league. In 2012, however, Orakpo suffered a season-ending injury just two games into the campaign.
With the addition of players such as Orakpo, Nick Barnett and rookies David Amerson and Bacarri Rambo, the Redskins will continue dominating the run. More importantly, they've made substantial improvements to their 30th-ranked pass defense.
This all adds up to Griffin III and the Redskins' offense beginning their drives with better field position than in 2012—a scary thought considering how much upside Washington has offensively.
The Redskins have a high-powered offensive attack, consisting of RG3, running back Alfred Morris and wide receivers Pierre Garcon, Santana Moss and Josh Morgan. With that being said, injuries were sustained by more than just Griffin III in 2012, and Washington paid the price for their lack of depth.
This season, the Redskins have found a cure to past woes.
Washington added rookie Jordan Reed to an already stout crop of tight ends, including Fred Davis, Logan Paulsen and Niles Paul. While each of the listed players are strong, Davis has a history of injuries, and the Redskins can use as many pass catchers as possible at the position.
At receiver, Aldrick Robinson and Leonard Hankerson are two second-year players to watch. Robinson caught 11 passes for 237 yards and three touchdowns as a rookie, while Hankerson picked up 38 receptions for 543 yards and three scores.
With Moss aging, Garcon injury-prone and Morgan relatively unproven, both men will have the opportunity to build upon their past success.
If that's not enough, Alfred Morris picked up 1,613 yards and 13 touchdowns during his rookie season. Not only has Morris become an elite running back, but his presence will alleviate the pressure from Griffin's wobbly knees.
With all factors weighed, it all adds up to Griffin building upon past success.
Griffin III was supremely efficient in 2012, posting 3,200 yards with 20 touchdowns and five interceptions on a completion percentage of 65.6. He also ran for 815 yards, seven touchdowns and 40 first downs, picking up 6.8 yards per carry.
Is Robert Griffin III a legitimate MVP candidate?
Griffin also ranked third in the NFL in quarterback rating and led the league in yards per passing attempt at 8.14.
With 12 fumbles, Griffin III's must take better care of the ball and learn to run out of bounds or slide instead of taking hits. That being said, Griffin III was a legitimate MVP candidate as a rookie with an unproven supporting cast.
One year wiser, and with significantly more chemistry developed, RG3 can now receive recognition as an instant MVP candidate.
Griffin III has already taken the Redskins from 5-11 to 10-6 with virtually the same crop of players from the season prior. In 2013, Griffin will not only have a strong reputation to work with, but a storyline that breeds attention.
Just like Peyton Manning and Adrian Peterson, the top two vote-getters for MVP in 2013, Griffin III is coming off of a serious injury. Should he produce at an elite level and succeed in leading Washington to the postseason, the MVP award is far from out of the question.
Expect this fallen superstar to rise up once again.