Robert Griffin III: Is Washington Redskins QB the Favorite for Rookie of Year?

Tom NataliCorrespondent IAugust 22, 2012

CHICAGO, IL - AUGUST 18:  Robert Griffin III #10 of the Washington Redskins rolls out to look for a receiver against the Chicago Bears during a preseason game at Soldier Field on August 18, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Kirk Cousins will be a better quarterback in the NFL than Robert Griffin III. I like his poise, his athleticism and ability to read the defense.

He has been showing up his first-round competitor all of camp and the Redskins could be looking at a sticky situation in the near future.

I’m kidding.

To all Redskins fans: calm down. All it took was one quarter with third stringers versus third stringers to start discussing Kirk Cousins’ future and Robert Griffin’s vanilla preseason appearances.

As soon as Commissioner Roger Goodell announced Griffin’s name to the Washington Redskins, local fans all freaked out. This is understandable; however, that doesn’t make it the best approach.

Andrew Luck was considered the better prospect, and I agree with that. His talents are comparable to John Elway's. That said, Robert Griffin is the one you see on commercials. He’s the one that is getting compared to 2011 Rookie of the Year Cam Newton and Griffin is the one with the greater expectations.

Think about that. Andrew Luck has been scouted as a once in a generation type player, but it’s RGIII who’s getting the hype.

A lot has to do with the fact that the Redskins are a more marketable team than the post-Peyton Manning Indianapolis Colts. Robert Griffin is the media’s dream come true, whereas Andrew Luck is an uncharismatic goober. I really can’t think of a better way to describe him.

So with all of that considered, it is unfair for anyone to anoint Griffin as the 2012 Rookie of the Year? He’s going to have an extremely difficult schedule with a young roster. Oh, and let’s not even get started on the offensive line.

At risk of repeating myself, are the football gods punishing us for having one of the best offensive lines of all time during the Super Bowl victories? Since then, our offensive line has never been good or healthy. I repeat, never.

Can I also say that I think the Rookie of the Year award is overvalued? Statistically, Cam Newton deserved this award, despite his regression in the second half of the season. What is forgotten is that his Carolina Panthers still finished 6-10.

What about Andy Dalton? He led his Cincinnati Bengals team to a surprising 9-7 record; I would prefer to have Robert Griffin and the Redskins have a season similar to the Bengals' 2011 campaign rather than Griffin lighting up the fantasy scoreboards like Cam Newton did last year.

That’s not a indictment on Cam Newton. I think he’s going to be a great quarterback, but I’m more interested in wins than in statistical development.

Please stop comparing Griffin to Newton. They are different quarterbacks; yes, they are both athletic and former Heisman winners, but Griffin isn’t going to be bowling over safeties to get into the red zone. He’s also not going to be throwing to future Hall of Famer Steve Smith.

So before we crown Robert Griffin III as the Rookie of the Year, let him play it out. Let him have a great game, but also let him have a bad one too.

While I have a tremendous amount of faith in RG3, I understand that this team is not ready to win yet. In Mike Shanahan’s third year, his team has not learned how to win. I’m okay with it; of course I’ll be frustrated, but we owe it to ourselves to have realistic expectations for both RGIII and the team as a whole.

I’m being superstitious with this one, probably more than I have ever been with any other member of the Redskins. I’m not buying his jersey, I won’t pick him in my fantasy leagues, and I’m not expecting him to win (yet).

Excessive pessimism? Maybe a little. Overly cautious? Justifiable. Anxious? Beyond repair.