In 2011, several NFL fan bases called for their teams to "Suck for Luck." They wanted their teams to lose the rest of their games so that they could draft Andrew Luck out of Stanford with No. 1 overall pick. The most pronounced fan base was that of the Miami Dolphins. However, the Indianapolis Colts ended up with the young quarterback.
However, with some hindsight one can ask:
Was the No. 2 option in the draft equally good or better?
Perhaps NFL bottom-feeders should have been "Whiffin' for Griffin" instead.
Saturday evening, the Colts and Redskins faced off in the preseason, each showing off their new rookie quarterbacks. Both quarterbacks played through the first half and one series of the second half. When the part of the game that matters was over, the Redskins led 14-7.
Robert Griffin III was more accurate, completing 65 percent of his passes but on fewer attempts. Luck—who threw the ball 23 times—completed 61 percent of his passes and was sacked twice. Each quarterback threw one touchdown pass.
Overall, the quarterback ratings were almost identical—93.8 for Griffin and 94.7 for Luck. In some respects, Luck was more impressive in the pocket and showed more poise. However, Griffin may benefit more from the talent he has surrounding him.
Room For Improvement
Robert Griffin III overthrew his wide receivers on deep balls a few times. This is a common mistake by rookie quarterbacks. As he develops communication and experience with his veteran receivers, he should be able to improve on this. We know that he has the arm strength to throw deep balls.
If Andrew Luck continues to receive pressure from defenses the way he did on Saturday, he will need to become more mobile or get rid of the ball more quickly. Former Colts quarterback Peyton Manning escaped sacks for most of his career by having great pocket awareness and getting rid of the ball. Luck is not as fast as Griffin, but if he can develop his pocket awareness he can avoid sacks.
Who Will Win OROY?
It is probably a safe bet that the Offensive Rookie of the Year Award will be going to one of these two players at the end of the year. Andrew Luck is currently considered the strong favorite, just as he was considered the best player in the draft.
However, just as we saw in the preseason matchup, one must take into account teammates and schedule. Individual statistics impact OROY votes, as does team success. The Redskins appear to be a stronger team so far, with more offensive weapons. Moreover, the Colts will be facing some of the toughest pass defenses in the NFL this year—including the New York Jets, Buffalo Bills, Green Bay Packers and Houston Texans (twice).
We saw on Saturday that the Colts' offensive line is having trouble. Luck and backup Chandler Harnish were each sacked twice despite moving well in the pocket. The Redskins' offensive line did not give up a sack all game.
Whether it is deserved or not, the quality of the Redskins' offense as a whole may help Griffin in the race for the OROY Award.
Looking Forward to Week 1
The Redskins begin their season at New Orleans against the Saints. This is a perfect opportunity for Robert Griffin III to make an impression early. New Orleans plays fast-paced, high-scoring games. Their defense is likely to be weak this season.
With the extra advantage of playing the game in a dome, Griffin has the opportunity to have a great individual performance, whether or not the Redskins win. Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton began his 2011 rookie campaign on a similar note.
It would be a stretch to expect Griffin to produce a 400-yard game in Week 1. However, Redskins fans should feel optimistic about their chances of seeing an explosive offense and quarterback in Week 1.