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Can RG III be effective early?

How Redskins QB compares historically after no preseason action

Updated: September 8, 2013, 6:43 PM ET
By Mike Sando | ESPN Insider

There is no precedent for what Robert Griffin III accomplished as a rookie in 2012. He became the only player in NFL history to finish a season with at least 3,000 yards passing, 800 yards rushing and a passer rating in triple digits. There also appears to be no precedent for what Griffin will do when he takes the field Monday in Washington's season opener against Philadelphia after taking zero snaps in preseason games.

Coach Mike Shanahan has assured nervous Washington Redskins fans (and fantasy GMs) that Griffin, barring a setback, will indeed start the "Monday Night Football" contest -- just eight months after knee surgery. Redskins fans might expect the same explosive, record-shattering player they saw last season, but what are reasonable expectations for Griffin's return? How have knee injuries affected other mobile quarterbacks in their returns? How might the decision to withhold Griffin from preseason games affect the quarterback initially? And how well is Griffin equipped to adjust his game in the interests of self-preservation?

Our search for answers begins with a trip into the past.

When Griffin starts for the Redskins against the Eagles, he will become only the second quarterback since at least 2000 to start a Week 1 game after attempting zero passes in the preseason. Five quarterbacks other than Griffin have made opening-week starts after injuries limited them to eight or fewer pass attempts in the preseason. While those quarterbacks' teams went 2-3 in their openers, a look at how they fared against the spread (0-4-1) shows that they did not measure up to expectations in Week 1.

That said, a run through that list shows Griffin fitting into a different category.

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