Robert Griffin III's professional career is a whole 14 preseason snaps old, and the desire to compare and contrast him against established veterans and legends is as strong as ever. Though there are better comparisons for Griffin, Michael Vick seems to be the one that lingers.
Griffin may not be the running quarterback that Vick epitomizes, but he has the makings of a more dynamic version of Vick.
Speed is one thing Vick and Griffin have in common as quarterbacks, with the former running a 4.33 40-yard dash and the latter a 4.41 prior to their respective drafts. Vick's speed, combined with his great field vision, offers him incomparable running ability for a quarterback, while Griffin's speed is more functional.
What makes Griffin a more dynamic version of Vick is his superior passing ability. Vick, like Griffin, has great arm strength, but he has never been an accurate passer and must rely on his legs to make plays.
Griffin's skills as a quarterback mean he will be able to force defenses to respect his arm, thus spreading the field and opening up running lanes.
To think that Griffin will take off running at the drop of a hat is misguided. Just because he has great speed doesn't mean he has the mentality or ability to endure the type of punishment Vick's running exposes him to.
Vick may be a dynamic player, but his risky running style means he takes big hits, as evidenced by seven games he's missed in the last two years.
The Redskins offense is designed to move the pocket, and Griffin, away from pressure, keeping him from taking brutal hits the way Vick has in recent years. Vick has tried to become a more pocket-oriented passer, but his passing ability, particularly his accuracy and decision-making, do not suit that approach.
Make no mistake, Griffin will run; but he won't take off at the first sign of pressure and will likely angle towards the sidelines to protect himself.
Protecting himself doesn't change the fact that he can cover ground in a hurry and pick up 10 or 15 yards per carry when the defense is on their heels. It is the ability to keep defenses guessing that will allow Griffin to surpass Vick as a dynamic playmaker.
The disparity between Vick's passing ability now and Griffin's coming out of college is incredible based on numbers alone.
For his career, Vick has completed just 56 percent of his passes, with his career-high 62.6 percent coming two seasons ago. In college, Vick completed 56.1 percent of his passes for the Hokies, throwing just 21 touchdowns against 11 interceptions.
Respectable as they may be, Vick's numbers, college and professional, pale in comparison to Griffin's numbers at Baylor.
Griffin's completed 67.1 percent of his passes at Baylor, throwing 78 touchdowns to 17 interceptions. Despite being more of a pocket passer, Griffin's rushing stats rival Vick's.
In his four-year college career, Griffin averaged 4.3 yards per carry and scored 33 rushing touchdowns while developing his pocket presence. Vick averaged 5.7 yards per carry with 16 touchdowns, but failed to produce in the passing game.
Vick, being an average quarterback, has to run to be effective. Griffin, having the tools of a great quarterback, can choose to run as the situation dictates.
It may be difficult to envision Griffin being more dynamic than Vick, but his success running and throwing the ball will create more problems for defenses than excelling as a runner and functioning as a passer.
The comparison is still absurd, but using Vick as a measuring stick for Griffin's potential is very revealing of Griffin's ceiling. Redskins fans would be happy if Griffin could be the exciting playmaker that Vick is, but the prospect of getting a more complete player is even more captivating.
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