Two NFL franchises have high expectations for next season, but those are attached, like with most teams, to the production of their quarterbacks. For the Pittsburgh Steelers (with Ben Roethlisberger) and the Washington Redskins (with Robert Griffin III) it comes with an added risk, both of them entering the season coming off knee surgeries.
It’s a lot more minor when it comes to Roethlisberger, who underwent arthroscopic surgery last week to relieve “discomfort” in the knee; something very similar to what he underwent back in 2005 after hyperextending the knee. Roethlisberger wasn’t sure about taking the surgery now, meaning missing a week or two from training camp, but team officials didn’t leave him a lot of choices by showing him the wisdom of taking a small blow now compared with dealing with bigger problems in the future.
And it seems to have worked out. Roethlisberger feels fine, and there’s a good chance that in the next 10 days he’ll be back on the field with his teammates, instead of watching from the sidelines as a very expensive and slightly disgruntled spectator.
I saw Dr. Bradley this morning, and he was pleasantly surprised with the range of motion and where we are at, and the swelling. So, it feels great. I’d come in on Tuesday to practice and it would feel good, and by Thursday, it was almost like a tire was slowly losing air.
But there’s more than just the injury that Roethlisberger needs to overcome next season. He has had his quarrels with offensive coordinator Todd Haley in the last season, feeling the jargon and language the former Chiefs’ head coach was trying to install wasn’t working out, missing Bruce Arians’ old hand signals he was fond of when he was too frustrated with the playcalling.
This season, Haley seems a bit more tentative to his players, talking to his quarterback about certain plays and asking if the naming and signalling of plays fits the team’s players, which makes Roethlisberger, for now, a bit more happier, hoping that the disappointments of last season won’t return. Part of it will be kick-starting the offense, ranking 21st in total yards and 22nd in points scored and its minus-10 giveaway/takeaway ratio was 23rd.
Things are different when it comes to the Redskins. Robert Griffin III went something a little more major when it came to his knee, possibly game-changing in terms of his style. He’s already back in practice, but on his own. Explosive sprinting, dashing from sideline to sideline. That’s it for now, as Mike Shannahan won’t put him in training came in full-mode before he’s cleared by the medical staff.
Shannahan was the one held responsible for Griffin going down in the playoff game against the Seattle Seahawks, already hurting his knee during the game, in a way that was quite obvious won’t allow him to perform as usual. Instead of putting in Kirk Cousins, Shannahan stuck to Griffin, and saw him lose the ball and hurt his knee in a way that ended his day, and created a whole lot of worried about his promising future.
The assessments point out that the most efficient rusher in the NFL last season (815 yards, 6.8 per carry) is going to have to change his ways, although his passing numbers were near the top of the NFL as well. However, without the threat of breaking out of the pocket, the fear of his legs might help teams handle him a little better.
The Redskins have their future invested in Griffin – their hopes, dreams and expectations, after getting a little taste in his rookie season. Waiting a little longer isn’t going to hurt anyone if it guarantees them their quarterback won’t be slowed down or become irrelative because he was rushed into anything.