Adam Schefter's report this morning says the Washington Redskins are encouraged enough with Robert Griffin III's recovery that Griffin has "a legitimate chance" to start in Week 1 of the 2013 season, just eight months after a second reconstructive surgery on his right knee.
I'm not sure what to do with this. I mean, I have no doubt Adam's right and that his sources are impeccable, but I also have to think those sources are being more exuberant than they need to be. And I have no idea what their motivation is to get everyone's hopes up.
There's absolutely no way to know anything at all about Griffin's chances to play NFL football seven months from now. It's too early to assess how much healing has already taken place in the various damaged parts of his knee and how much remains. It's impossible to predict what kind of setbacks he'll endure in his recovery. And it's myopic and irresponsible for any reasonable, thinking human being to sit there and say, without any other context, that Griffin can do it because Adrian Peterson did.
The Redskins need to chill out. It's February. Did they learn nothing at all from the way their season fell apart along with Griffin's knee in their playoff loss to Seattle? Is it not more important that he be able to play brilliantly in Week 16 than that he be able to play at all in Week 1? Did they not use three of last year's draft picks on the quarterback position for this very reason, picking Kirk Cousins because they believed him to be a capable short-term replacement if Griffin had to miss time?
Why rush this? Why even hint at rushing this? The proper thing for the Redskins to be saying about Griffin right now is this: "He is going to get all the time he needs to recover, whether that's in time for Week 1, Week 10, Week 17 or 2014. The most important thing for Robert and for our franchise is his long-term health. We will do nothing that threatens his ability to make a full and thorough recovery, and that includes setting any timetables or expectations for when he might play again. We would love to have him back for Week 1, but at this point there is no way to know whether that's even possible, and we do not want Robert setting unreasonable expectations that might lead to further problems. We are proceeding with Kirk as our starter until such time as Robert is fully ready to resume that role, no matter how soon or distant that time is."
As we've discussed here before, Griffin himself should have no say in this. He lost that privilege when he talked his way back into a playoff game he clearly had no business playing after the second possession. He's a tough kid, a hyper-motivated kid and a determined kid, and all of that is admirable. But the responsible adults around him need to have learned their lessons from what happened early last month in that game. And the most important lesson of all is to be unbelievably careful here. Whether Griffin can play in Week 1 of 2013 should not be the Redskins' primary concern. They need to be thinking about all of the Week 1s to come.