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RG3 Return Disastrous? Don’t Be Ridiculous

Griffin and the Redskins didn't exactly pick up where they left off.

Griffin and the Redskins didn’t exactly pick up where they left off.

A few hours prior to the Monday Night matchup between the division rival Washington Redskins and Philadelphia Eagles, Dave Sheinin of the Washington Post asked: “Robert Griffin III is back for start of 2013 NFL season. Will he be the same?”

It’s a question that has been on the minds of many since the rookie sensation limped off the field during the fourth quarter of their playoff loss against the Seattle Seahawks in January. Griffin played hurt through much of the season, but it was immediately clear in that game he sustained an injury that not even he could power through.

After the game an MRI revealed at least a partially torn lateral collateral ligament (LCL), but initially doctors were unable to determine whether the damage to his ACL would require surgery. In fact, Griffin revealed he was not made aware of the full extent of his off-season knee surgery until after it was performed.

It was an emotional experience for Griffin, who had a good cry over the situation while recovering in the hospital. The pity party didn’t last long. Griffin channeled all his energy into rehab and recovery, making it clear last spring that he intended to be the starter come opening day.

He wasn’t kidding either. Griffin’s recovery moved fast—some said too fast. All summer it seemed he was two steps ahead of his coaches and three steps ahead of his doctors. Then they finally got on the same page last week, when Griffin was announced the opening day starter.

So was he the same? Well…not exactly the same.

Griffin and the Redskins had an abysmal first half on Monday night and looked to be completely out of the game before the Eagles nearly self-destructed in the second half. He took too many hits and looked very hesitant at times—it was particularly disconcerting to see him clutching the knee brace he’s been saddled with.

Some level of rust in Week 1 is to be expected, particularly for a second-year starter like Griffin. But it looked to most objective onlookers that what he was struggling with was a lot more than rust. Griffin was seriously out of sync in the first half and many of his throws floated before falling short, or hitting the ground entirely.

That being said, considering his trajectory in the game, the concern about RG3 has been seriously overstated. For as stunningly inefficient as he was in the first half, Griffin looked like a completely different quarterback in the second—having completely 28-of-38 passes for 276 yards and two touchdowns.

It was like night and day.

Griffin’s 329 yards against the Eagles were actually a career high for him in the NFL. Yet Sally Jenkins of the Washington Post insisted, “Robert Griffin III should not have played in Monday Night game.”

That decade of abject futility under Dan Snyder has really made the Washington sports media too sensitive. Eight months removed from major knee surgery, Griffin passed for a career high and lost to a division rival by just five points. Most would find that pretty impressive.

So everyone settle down! RG3 may not have been his old self, but he was limited in training camp and didn’t make a single throw in the preseason. Look at how far he progressed after just 30 minutes of play. Not too bad if you ask me.

And only going to get better from here.

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