10 Signs Robert Griffin III Will Be Rookie of the Year

Tom NataliCorrespondent IJuly 9, 2012

10 Signs Robert Griffin III Will Be Rookie of the Year

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    We are currently one month away from Robert Griffin’s debut in the preseason. I’m so excited that I can’t wait to play with a scrambling quarterback that can throw it over 20 yards in Madden.

    Not just regionally, RG3 has become a household name throughout the country. He’s a special talent with such an infectious personality that even Cowboys fans can’t point out a flaw in the former Heisman winner.

    Even though he hasn’t even played a down yet, it’s been really exciting for Redskins Nation. We’ve waited for 20 years to have a level of anticipation like this. His current record is 0-0 and he’s already beloved. What a fanbase.

    That all being considered, there are no guarantees in this league; in fact, the NFL can be downright evil to some players. Still, Robert Griffin III has major expectations with the weight of a franchise currently on his shoulders, and that’s a lot for any athlete to grasp.

    Here are 10 signs that RG3 will be the 2012 NFL Rookie of the Year.

Humility

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    If any college football player had a reason to be conceited this past year, it was Robert Griffin III. Other than major college football fans and analysts, Griffin was considered to have a future in the NFL as a receiver prior to his magical season.

    What has made him so likeable is his recognition of his teammates, coaches and his upbringing from his parents’ military background.  The cool, calm and collected Griffin rarely credited himself for his exploits.

    Griffin is a respectful young man, which will make the locker room less than dramatic, which is certainly a major difference.

Preparedness

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    Kyle Shanahan has been going over the playbook with RG3 even before he was drafted. He’s going to have all offseason to acclimate himself with the offense and a full schedule of OTAs and rookie minicamps.

    Griffin exemplifies hard work, which is one of the reasons why his success has come full circle. That is one aspect I’m not worried about.

    Physically, RG3 appears to be in peak physical condition. It’s the mental side that should carry the most importance.

    The Redskins' front office wouldn’t have given up that much if they didn’t feel 100 percent confident in Griffin’s mindset and ability to lead a team.

He's a Dual Threat

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    I’ve heard on numerous occasions that Robert Griffin’s production will be compared with Cam Newton’s. He’s another dual-threat quarterback who took the nation by storm in college with a contagious personality.

    Cam Newton was a fantasy football Christmas gift, and I don’t see why Griffin can't put up similar statistics. First of all, he’s faster than Newton. He may not be as strong, but there should be no reason why RG3 can’t outrun defensive linemen.

    He’s a pass-first quarterback, and that’s where I think the majority of his statistics will bulk up.

The Talent Around Him

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    RG3 may not have the best offensive line around him, but the Redskins signed, traded and drafted to accumulate talented skill players.

    Pierre Garcon is expected to be the team’s primary deep threat. Josh Morgan and Leonard Hankerson will be the possession receivers. Santana Moss can still perform in the slot. Fred Davis should earn a Pro Bowl berth, and Roy Helu, Jr., is a receiving threat out of the backfield.

    While it might not be the most intimidating roster, these players are all high-potential athletes who have yet to hit their peaks.

In Comparison to Other Rookies

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    Let’s face it, an offensive lineman is not going to win Rookie of the Year. Even though it has been widely agreed that Andrew Luck has the higher ceiling, I expect Robert Griffin III to have a better first year.

    The Colts are completely starting over, and many expect Andrew Luck and his team to take their lumps in their first season together.

    Ryan Tannehill will start the season on the bench for the Miami Dolphins, so I wouldn’t expect him to be put up great numbers. Even if he were the starter, I would still have higher expectations for Griffin.

    Brandon Weeden appears to be the starter in Cleveland, that poor guy. I think Weeden is a solid prospect, but how much will he have to do to turn that franchise around? A lot.

    That leaves it up to other skill position rookies like Trent Richardson, Justin Blackmon and Michael Floyd.

    Well, Justin Blackmon is already off to a bad start in Jacksonville with his arrest.

    I doubt Michael Floyd will put up better numbers than his teammate Larry Fitzgerald, and Trent Richardson has his hands full in Cleveland.

Defenses' Lack of Familiarity

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    Despite four preseason games, opposing teams will not have a lot of tape on Robert Griffin III. The emphasis of film and studying players’ tendencies is a landmark of professional football.

    It’s particularly hard to compete against a quarterback that can run as well. While defensive coordinators can study his college tape, the offense he will be running in Washington will be far different from his days at Baylor.

    So for the time being, opponents of the Redskins will have a trial and error against RG3.

Kyle Shanahan's Pass-Happy Offense

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    For as much heat Kyle Shanahan gets from fans and other members of the media, his offense has put up numbers. Even Donovan McNabb was set for throwing over 4,000 passing yards.

    Receivers are open in his offense and he tends to favor the pass versus the run. A lot has to do with the fact that the Redskins are playing from behind frequently, and we all know that no other quarterback will throw as many interceptions as Rex Grossman.

    That being said, the Shanahans have altered their offensive attack to best suit their new quarterback and the young talented roster built around him.

Performing Well in Crunch Time

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    I remember watching Baylor versus Oklahoma last year, and with time winding down, Griffin threw 34 yards across his body in the corner of the end zone and found his receiver for a touchdown.

    I thought to myself right at that moment that not many quarterbacks, professional or collegiate, can do that. I believe performing effectively in crunch time is what separates great quarterbacks from the rest.

    Can Griffin get it done with less than two minutes to play? If so, that ability alone could win him Rookie of the Year honors.

His Intangibles

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    He’s comfortable in his own skin. He has a personality that we haven’t seen before, from the funny socks, to his ability to beat-box or those awkward celebrations after touchdown passes. Despite all of that, Griffin is a business-first athlete.

    He has embraced his role on the team while still eager to earn respect amongst his veteran teammates. He’s well aware of the dedication it will take to become the player that we are all expecting him to be.

    Griffin always says the right thing to the media, which can go a long way, especially after a bad game.

    Without being overly bias, Griffin is the complete package as far as a prospect is concerned, and he would have been the No. 1 pick in almost any year if it wasn’t for Andrew Luck.

He's Engaged

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    Yes, I threw a little curveball in here, but I love the fact that he’s already settled down or at least is in the process of settling down.

    Without getting too controversial, we all know that Washington athletes sometimes have a little “too much fun” socially. Fred Davis going to a club the night before a game? Alex Ovechkin and other teammates enjoying one too many cocktails at The Russia House in Dupont Circle? We’ve heard it all.

    Here's a reminder.

    Anyways, being an engaged man eliminates the social distractions that the DC area can offer. Even though Griffin doesn’t have a reputation of being a “party animal,” the farther he can stay away from the nightlife scenes, the more comfortable I am.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying he needs to be locked in a room studying the playbook 24 hours a day, but I am also well aware of the party-goers that have been found on all the Washington teams. None of which have won anything.