All eyes are on Robert Griffin
III's recovery this offseason. (Charles Dharapak/AP)
Robert Griffin III continues to say exactly what Washington Redskins fans want to hear. Specifically, that his rehab is progressing at an advanced rate and that he anticipates being ready for the start of the 2013 season.
He might even be back on the field before that, if his comments Thursday are accurate. Griffin confirmed that a return for the open of training camp, currently set for July 25, is "without a doubt" realistic.
But even if Griffin is at or close to 100 percent by late July, is there any benefit to the Redskins turning him loose?
Probably not much of one. Griffin's returning to the same offense in which he thrived last season, with the same coaching staff calling the plays. There really are not any new faces on the Redskins' offense, either -- Alfred Morris remains the No. 1 RB and Washington's top 10 most productive pass-catchers from 2012 return. So, too, does an offensive line that started all but one game together last year (Tyler Polumbus sat out Week 16).
Add it all up and Griffin should be able to jump back into the lineup, whenever that may be, with relatively few issues. It's far more important that he is able to do so on Sept. 9, when Washington opens its regular season against Philadelphia, than it is in July or even August.
Of course, Griffin's rapid recovery has to have the Redskins starting to believe that he'll be a go for Week 1. When he crumpled to the turf against Seattle back on Jan. 6, that hardly looked like a possibility. But, per Mike Jones of the Washington Post, RGIII added Thursday that he felt no soreness in his knee, despite working out for four straight days this week, and that he's doing more out-of-the-pocket things like throwing on the run and cutting.
Coach Mike Shanahan, for what it's worth, was more reserved than Griffin on the QB's health:
Shanahan might be more inclined to keep Griffin harnessed in light of how Griffin's injuries came about in the first place -- Shanahan kept his QB on the field in that fateful playoff game, despite a deteriorating turf and Griffin already hobbling from a hit by Haloti Ngata a few weeks prior; Griffin later told ESPN the Magazine that he saw the mistake in playing, and that in hindsight he should have been removed from the game.
Though the Redskins remain confident in backup Kirk Cousins and Rex Grossman (for whatever reason) is still on the roster, there's no doubt that Griffin is the key to a successful 2013 Redskins season.
So, while it's admirable and rather incredible that Griffin even has a shot to be ready for training camp, there's absolutely no reason for Washington to push him in the coming weeks. If RGIII's rehab is moving along as smoothly as he says it is, the Redskins will have their franchise QB back in the lineup for the start of the regular season. And that's all that matters.