Washington Redskins: 4 Good Reasons RG III Is the Real Deal
A couple of unforced errors from teammates prevented the Washington Redskins from starting 2-0 this past Sunday in St. Louis, but the rookie quarterback showed again why many believe he should have been taken No. 1 overall.
In most fantasy leagues, RG III has accumulated top-three point totals two weeks into the young season. And while quarterbacks aren't judged based on fantasy production, the numbers simply speak for themselves.
Critics eagerly await the letdown performance that will shift arguments in favor of Andrew Luck and away from the 2011 Heisman Trophy winner. But to this point, Griffin III has showed no indication that day will come.
His unique combination of prototypical quarterback mechanics and electric speed is something I would argue hasn't yet been seen in the NFL—Michael Vick presents the closest comparison. However, through two games in 2012, RG III has made Vick look like the real rookie.
As all other first-year quarterbacks do, Robert Griffin III will endure tough times and experience failure. Despite posting another solid QB rating last week, Washington's signal caller threw his first interception in an NFL uniform against the Rams.
St. Louis' coverage proved challenging at times for the rookie in Week 2, but his in-game adjustments and poise in the pocket should be promising signs for fans of the Burgundy and Gold.
It is nearly impossible to make season projections or career predictions after just two weeks of football, but anyone who has watched Robert Griffin III will likely tell you we don't need much more proof.
Here are five reasons RG III is the real deal here in D.C.
Athleticism & Speed
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We'll start with the obvious.
RGIII's pure athleticism gave him the option to pursue nearly any sport he wished out of high school. Less than five years since graduation, it appears the former track star made the right choice.
The two-sport athlete at Baylor University started 11 of 12 games as a true freshman and broke the NCAA Midwest Regional 400-meter hurdles record on the school's track and field team.
But his decision to focus on football paid off in 2011 when RG III totaled nearly 5,000 yards of offense and scored 47 touchdowns during a Heisman Trophy-winning season.
Now, the 22-year-old quarterback has taken his talents to the NFL, and the highest level of competition figures to test every aspect of RGIII's athleticism each and every week.
Thus far, the rookie has passed with flying colors.
It was mostly the passing game that got the job done in Week 1 against New Orleans, however, RG III brought his running shoes to St. Louis this past Sunday.
Washington's quarterback rushed for 82 yards and two touchdowns against the Rams, making attempted tacklers look foolish along the way.
He hasn't broken the big one just yet, but RGIII's play action fake ranks with the best in the league, and his ability to cause confusion amongst defensive coverages should present the opportunity in the near future.
He has running back speed and devastating moves in the open field. He could probably line up at wide receiver in Week 3 based on his pure athleticism alone.
But either way, the 6'2" former track standout still plays quarterback. And fortunately for him, he's pretty damn good at it.
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Perhaps the most surprising aspect of RGIII's game is his polished quarterback mechanics.
For a 22-year-old fresh out of college, RG III would likely have been a top-three draft pick regardless of his running ability.
And that's what makes him so special.
Coming out of Virginia Tech in 2001, Michael Vick was drafted first overall based largely on his unique ability to beat defenders in the open field. A powerful arm and blinding speed was enough for scouts to declare Vick the top prospect in college football.
But it didn't take long for defenses to adjust to the new style of play that the Atlanta Falcons instituted with Vick under center.
Quarterback spies were largely effective in containing the explosive young star, and flawed mechanics prevented him from reaching his full potential until his breakout season with Philadelphia in 2010.
But even then, Vick has yet to post the stats or win the number of games many expected from the first overall selection of the 2001 draft.
Examples as recent as Week 1 of the 2012 season will show you that the Eagles' quarterback simply isn't the prototypical pocket passer that fuels success in the modern NFL. The turnover-prone Vick has thrown six interceptions through two games—numbers that simply won't continually produce wins in an ever developing pass-first league.
But Robert Griffin III is not Michael Vick.
He's better, and his 111.6 quarterback rating through the first two weeks will prove it.
You see, RG III is an elite passer who happens to possess track-star speed. His footwork is nearly flawless, and his delivery mimics some of the great quarterbacks to play the game.
His play-action fake is good enough to fool everyone (camera men included), and his poise in the pocket is second-to-none as far as rookies are concerned.
Sure, it's still too early to declare Robert Griffin III the next Steve Young, but he is well on his way.
Poise & Composure
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Another trait on a long list of promising characteristics for Robert Griffin III is his maturity. For a 22-year-old political science major, the Redskins quarterback possesses the poise of a veteran.
RGIII's calming composure was on full display when Washington broke the Saints' eight-game home winning streak in Week 1. Entering a hostile environment in the Superdome, the rookie quarterback outperformed a Hall of Fame signal caller in Drew Brees en route to victory.
But Griffin's impressive debut has not been the only indication of maturity beyond his years.
His ability to do deal with adversity in his first two professional games has been remarkable for someone his age.
RG III lost his top receiver after just one quarter of NFL action in Week 1 at New Orleans. But even without Pierre Garcon on the field, the rookie persevered to post one of the week's most impressive stat lines and, most importantly, a win.
The rookie's recovery after throwing his first interception last week in St. Louis also speaks great volume to his mental toughness. A costly turnover didn't distract Griffin from the Washington game plan, and didn't detract from his confidence.
Many argue that a quarterback's most valuable asset rests between the ears. Quick and precise decision-making often separates the elite passers from the rest.
So far, RG III appears to have a good head on his shoulders, and while it simply isn't logical to suggest that Andrew Luck does not, most will agree the Redskins quarterback has played more like the No. 1 draft pick through their first two games.
Accuracy, Arm Strength and Release
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The comparisons to Michael Vick and every other mobile quarterback to play in the NFL need to stop.
The suggestions that RG III should make better use of his legs must go.
Because Robert Griffin III is a passer, and he happens to be quite good at it.
Washington's signal caller possesses nearly every attribute that NFL scouts look for when evaluating quarterbacks. His pin-point accuracy, powerful arm and quick release warrant a top-three draft pick any way you look at it.
The world class speed merely adds to the equation, and the sum of all parts makes Griffin one of the league's most lethal offensive players—yes, even in his first year.
I would make the argument that comparisons to Aaron Rodgers hold more stock than the stereotypical Vick analogy. Given his athleticism and mechanics, RGIII's ability to throw accurately on the run could make him virtually unstoppable with continued progress.
No, I'm not suggesting that RG III matches evenly to the 2011 NFL MVP at this point in his career. Such statements should be reserved for those special fans we like to call "homers".
But I do believe that Griffin's time will come, and I think an MVP may be in his future given Washington's upward trend and improving personnel.
Such a prediction should stir excitement in a loyal Redskins fan base that hasn't seen a league's Most Valuable Player award since Joe Theismann in 1983.
The former Notre Dame quarterback, who famously changed the pronunciation of his name to rhyme with a collegiate award he never won, did bring a Superbowl home to Washington.
And while Robert Griffin III was fortunate enough to win the Hesiman, the current Redskins quarterback would only be so lucky to match Theismann's greatest accomplishment.
Here's to championships. Hell, maybe even (RG) three.