RGIII Back as Expected

September 8, 2013

Robert Griffin III didn’t play a preseason game, but he will start Monday night against the Eagles.

It should come as no surprise that when the Redskins take the field tonight for the season opener against the Philadelphia Eagles at FedEx Field, it will be with Robert Griffin III calling the shots as quarterback. Despite tearing his ACL and LCL in January’s playoff loss to Seattle, Griffin always stated he’d be back for Week 1.

So, needless to say, Redskins players are not surprised that

No. 10 will be back in his familiar position under the center.

“Day 1 of camp, he looked good to me,” center Will Montgomery said. “He’s running 100-yard sprints, giving fans high-fives, so I think the coaches were being conservative and going at their pace.”

Still, Griffin hasn’t seen live action since that fateful evening in January. Will there be rust, or will Griffin return to his high-level of play?

“He looks like the same old Robert,” linebacker Ryan Kerrigan said. “I’m really not surprised he’s ready.”

Wide receiver Santana Moss said: “Guys come back stronger, faster and even better on the arm or leg they’ve injured. Who knows what’s going to happen? [Griffin] knows who he is and it probably won’t be hard for him to go out there and be himself.”

Last year, the Redskins were one of the teams that made the read-option offense all the rage, with Griffin playing a huge role in its success.

But those plays and Griffin’s style may have to change in order to protect the team’s most valuable asset from another devastating injury.

“Robert wants to play this game for a long time — he doesn’t want to play for a couple of years and be done,” running back Alfred Morris said. “He loves the game and wants to play as long as possible. Even if his ego or confidence or whatever it is doesn’t want him to [be safe], he’s going to have to. He has to be smart.”

Griffin’s return, as preordained as it may be, is still a boost for a team looking to prove that 2012’s NFC East title run wasn’t a fluke.

“I’m looking forward to him,” wide receiver Pierre Garcon said. “He’s doing well, and he’s excited about [tonight]. This is what we’ve all been waiting for.”

Knee-to-Know

The most scrutinized joint in the D.C. area will be put to the test today when Robert Griffin III takes the field for the Washington Redskins in Week 1 of the 2013 NFL season. Here’s a look at the long and winding road for RGIII’s right knee.

September 2009: Griffin suffers “an isolated tear” in his ACL during Baylor’s Week 3 contest against Northwestern State. Griffin would miss the remainder of the season.

September 2010-April 2012: Griffin caps a remarkable recovery by starting the season for the Bears and leading them to a bowl win. He follows that up with a Heisman-winning junior season in 2011 and is taken as No. 2 by the Redskins in the NFL draft.

Dec. 9, 2012: Griffin is hit and twisted by Baltimore nose tackle Haloti Ngata, suffering a Grade 1 LCL strain. The QB would miss the next week’s contest against Cleveland.

Jan. 6, 2013: Dr. James Andrews tells USA Today that on the morning of the Redskins’ playoff game, he didn’t clear Griffin to return in the Ravens game. Redskins coach Mike Shanahan refutes that statement, saying the doctor OK’d the QB.

Jan. 6: A clearly hobbled Griffin labors through the first half of the wild card game against the Seahawks. Later, Griffin suffers an ACL and LCL tear.

Jan. 9: Andrews performs surgery on the QB in Florida. The normal recovery time for an injury of this stature is nine to 12 months. Griffin awakens from the surgery, cries and then changes the password of his phone to the date of Washington’s Week 1 contest against Philadelphia.

May 23: Griffin makes his first public appearance before the media since his surgery, going through noncontact drills during organized team activities.

July: Griffin is cleared for training camp, although the team says his activity will be limited to seven-on-seven drills.

August: Griffin lobbies for more playing time during training camp, although Shanahan holds firm that the star will not see any action during preseason games.

Aug. 30: The QB is cleared by Andrews to play in the Redskins’ season opener.

Today: Griffin will start the Redskins’ contest against Philadelphia.

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Jeffrey Tomik | September 8, 2013