Robert Griffin III: Why Redskins QB will Outshine Andrew Luck in Rookie Season
The legacies of Robert Griffin III and Andrew Luck will be forever intertwined as the No. 1 and No. 2 picks of the 2012 NFL Draft, but it will be Robert Griffin III that has the best rookie season between the two.
Both quarterbacks enjoyed success in the preseason and will be starters from day one. Here's a look at the reasons RGIII will outshine Luck in their first season and what we can expect to see from him in his rookie season.
It's hard enough for a rookie quarterback to come into the league and find success as a starter right off the bat, it's even more difficult when your coach has little to no experience in the NFL.
Luckily for Griffin III, he gets to work with Mike Shanahan in Washington while Luck will work with first year head coach Chuck Pagano, who has no experience as a head coach in the NFL.
For RGIII there is a precedent of a rookie quarterback succeeding under Shanahan's watch. In 2006, a rookie Jay Cutler started five games for Shanahan's Broncos and was able to run the offense with efficiency. Cutler threw for nine touchdowns and five interceptions with a quarterback rating of 88.5, still the highest passer rating that Cutler has posted in his career.
Cutler, much like Griffin, is comfortable on roll out plays and throwing on the run. Shanahan was great at utilizing that with Cutler and he'll certainly be rolling Griffin out a lot as a rookie to simplify his reads and give him the opportunity to run.
The sample size may be small, but Shanahan has shown that he is capable of getting high quality play out of his rookie quarterback.
If we learned anything from Cam Newton last season, the combination of athleticism and arm strength can go a long way in finding success as a rookie.
Whether or not Newton can continue his success on the ground remains to be seen, but there's no doubt that his elite athleticism was a huge reason for his success as a rookie.
Adjusting to the complexities of intricate NFL offenses is one of the reasons that rookie quarterbacks often struggle, but with Griffin's athleticism, he won't necessarily need to make the best reads at all times to be successful.
Much like Cam Newton last season, Griffin will be able to find success when the play breaks down. Newton contributed in a big way to the run game with 706 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns which forced defenses to stack the box and cleared the way for deep passes as the game progressed.
Griffin's elite athleticism sets him apart from Luck in that he will be able to set up his own passes without fully relying on his running backs to set up the pass.
Washington Will Air it Out
Andrew Luck may be the better pure passer out of the two, but RGIII should put up better passing stats simply because he will throw the ball more.
The Colts, as bad as they were last season, didn't air the ball out nearly as much as the Redskins did and that is including the fact that they were often way out of games. This season they should be in more games and should be even more balanced as a result.
Who will have the better rookie season?
However, the Redskins ranked fifth in the league in pass attempts with 591 and that was with the likes of Rex Grossman and John Beck throwing the ball around. Griffin III should be an improvement from those two and it stands to reason that he will get to throw the ball even more.
Add in the fact that the Redskins are likely to be coming from behind much like the Panthers were last season and RGIII will have plenty of opportunities to outshine Luck in his rookie season.
Let the comparisons begin.
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