COMMENTARY | If Adrian Peterson's superhuman 2012 comeback from an ACL repair is any indication, Robert Griffin III's slow start and improved finish in the season-opener should serve as a positive omen of good things to come for the Washington Redskins.
Many expected a dazzling display of fireworks from RG III in his highly-anticipated Week 1 comeback from ACL surgery. Unfortunately, the only explosives witnessed that night were the bombs that detonated from Chip Kelly's Philadelphia Eagles high octane offense in their 33-27 victory over the Washington Redskins.
Griffin started off slowly, but ended the night with a respectable stat line as he completed 30 of his 49 passes for 329 yards, including two touchdown tosses.
Lost amid the hoopla surrounding Peterson's 2012 Herculean comeback from a torn ACL was its humble beginnings. The end result was outstanding; 2,097 rushing yards, recipient of the Most Valuable Player award and for the icing on the cake, a playoff appearance.
However, the path that ensued to Peterson's greatness last season was anything but great at the start.
Similar to Griffin's 2013 preseason, Peterson experienced his own version of "Operation Patience" during the 2012 preseason. Like Griffin, Peterson was relegated to a sightseeing role on the team's bench as Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier arrived at the same conclusion as Redskins head man Mike Shanahan did one year later; no preseason action for the star recovering from an ACL injury.
Due to a combination of the physical rust attributed to being away from the game and the mental hurdles that come with overcoming a torn ACL, AP struggled out of the gate. In his first six games last season, Peterson surpassed the century-mark in rushing yards only once. During that stretch, Peterson carried the football 113 times for a pedestrian 499 yards, averaging 4.4 yards per rushing attempt with only two touchdowns.
Solid numbers, but nothing compared to what was about to come.
The proverbial light switch flipped on for Peterson in the remaining 10 games of the season. After wading through the waters of the tough start courtesy of overcoming an ACL injury, it was smooth sailing ahead for AP the rest of the year. His final 10 games consisted of these impressive numbers; 235 carries for 1,598 yards while averaging a scintillating 6.8 yards per attempt and scoring 10 touchdowns.
Speaking of Peterson's light glimmering; RGIII's star began to shine some in the second half of the season opening loss to Philadelphia.
After looking lost and rusty during an uninspiring first half performance, after halftime, Griffin started to resemble the quarterback that turned the NFL world upside down during his successful rookie season.
The Philadelphia defense that overwhelmed him in the beginning became easier to cope with, as RGIII slowly but surely readjusted to the intensity and speed a signal-caller experiences when facing an NFL defense. His initial moments of hesitation and awkwardness were replaced by a confidence in and outside of the pocket that helped turn a 26 point deficit into a more tolerable six point defeat.
Griffin's inconsistent first week performance is likely to become the norm over the next several weeks as he embarks upon the on the field recovery portion of his ACL rehabilitation process.
However, hope is not lost, Washington Redskins fans. There's always the chance that RGIII will follow Adrian Peterson's footsteps by hitting his stride towards the middle of the season, just in time to steer the team's push towards its second consecutive postseason appearance.
Like Peterson last year, hopefully Griffin will save his best for last in 2013.
Drexel Perry recently moved back to the Washington D.C. area. He's been a Redskins fan for over 30 years.
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