The Redskins won their final seven regular season games to secure their first NFC East title since the 1999 season. Griffin was one of the NFL’s most celebrated players. Tailback Alfred Morris, a fellow rookie, set a single-season rushing record for the team and capped off the regular season with a 200-yard rushing performance in the win over the Dallas Cowboys that wrapped up the division crown.
With Griffin and Morris, the Redskins had the look of being a built-to-last contender, even with the lack of the draft picks Washington traded to the St. Louis Rams to be able to draft Griffin in April and what remains of a $36 million salary cap penalty imposed against the franchise by the league.
The melodrama of previous seasons during Daniel Snyder’s ownership appeared to have dissipated. Snyder was being praised for staying out of the way of Coach Mike Shanahan and General Manager Bruce Allen. Shanahan seemed to have redeemed himself for the team’s struggles in its first 21
2 seasons with him as the coach.
That all seems like a long time ago.
As Griffin recovers from five-hour surgery Wednesday to reconstruct the anterior cruciate ligament and repair the lateral collateral ligament in his right knee, here’s an early look at the new uncertainties facing the club because of his injuries.
The quarterback’s recovery will be one of the sport’s top offseason story lines. When will he make it back on the field? And will he be the same?
James Andrews, the orthopedist who operated on Griffin on Wednesday, said in a statement that it was hoped Griffin would be ready for the 2013 season. Some medical experts, however, said recovery could take as long as eight to 12 months.
“I would guess he’ll be back in November,” one former NFL executive said. “I knew they’d try to say he’d be back by the [start of next] season. But I don’t see it happening.”
Even on Monday, before it was confirmed that Griffin needed surgery, Shanahan brought up the comparison to Adrian Peterson, the Minnesota Vikings tailback who suffered a torn ACL in the final game of last season but returned for this season and fell nine yards shy of setting the NFL’s single-season rushing record. But that’s a high bar to set. And Griffin now is coming back from a second ACL surgery to the same knee, after tearing the ligament while in college at Baylor.
Mike Shanahan’s future
Shanahan has faced widespread criticism for his decision to allow Griffin to continue playing Sunday after aggravating his knee injury in the first quarter. Shanahan and Griffin said that Griffin talked his way into staying in the game. Shanahan said Sunday he might second-guess himself, but then said Monday he believed he made the right decision.