Robert Griffin III led the Redskins to a 10-6 record as a rookie starter in 2012 while leading the NFL in both yards per pass attempt and yards per rushing attempt. He also set NFL records for highest passer rating and most rushing yards by a rookie quarterback. But he suffered a concussion in Week 5 against Atlanta, was knocked out of a Week 15 game against Baltimore and missed the following game in Cleveland. Then he suffered torn ligaments in his right knee in the Redskins’ loss to Seattle in the first round of the NFC playoffs in January, requiring reconstructive surgery.
Griffin is currently rehabbing his knee at the Redskins’ headquarters in Ashburn, and by all accounts is on schedule to be ready near the start of the 2013 season. According to Griffin’s father, “The goal is to be back for the start of the season.”
The direction of the Redskins’ offense — specifically, the extent to which Coach Mike Shanahan and his son, offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, should go to protect Griffin’s health — has been one of the most pressing topics of the offseason. In March, the younger Griffin sent a text message to a television host, saying, “I know where my responsibility is within the dilemma that led to me having surgery to repair my knee and all parties involved know their responsibilities as well.”
Mike Shanahan has said the Redskins need to retain the zone-read option offense that Griffin ran in 2012 as an element of their overall offensive scheme in 2013, in order to keep defenses off balance and open up other avenues.
The elder Griffin said his son has conversations with the Shanahans about the offense, and that it remains important that everyone be on the same page when it comes to offensive philosophy.
“Coach Shanahan, he’s seen a lot over his years in football,” Griffin Jr. said. “He knows what works and what doesn’t work. Sometimes new things are great. But there are some things you have to have in your game. Like in basketball — the fast break is great, but you’ve got to have that half-court game.
“I think for [Robert III], he likes some of the things that they do. And he feels any area where he had a concern, he addressed it. And I think [the Shanahans] have concerns, too. We want to have a united community. That first year everybody was just, ‘Wow.’ And now we have to look at sustainment. It can’t be a ‘Wow’ again.”