Redskins faithful have waited for over two decades to have a quarterback perform among the best in the league. Four games into the 2012 season, it appears the Redskins have found their man.
I know it's early—ridiculously early. I don't care.
I truly believe that if Rex Grossman was still the Redskins quarterback, this team wouldn't have won a game yet this season, at least not with this defense.
There is no way he couldn't have kept pace with Drew Brees and win a shootout in the Superdome. He couldn't have out-dueled Sam Bradford in St. Louis after he threw for over 300 yards. He couldn't have scored 38 points against the Bengals. I know for a fact that he couldn't have led the game-winning drive against Tampa Bay, let alone sans headset.
Just the fact that he has led the Redskins to a 2-2 record with this defense should get him into the Redskins Ring of Honor at FedExField during their next home game against Atlanta.
He hasn't just been the best rookie this season, but at this pace, he may just have the best rookie season in the history of the NFL. After last season, a lot of football analysts believed that Cam Newton may have had the greatest rookie season in NFL history.
Let's break it down between Griffin and Newton.
Newton completed 59.5 percent of his passes for 1,386 yards through the first four games of his rookie season. Griffin is at 69.4 percent with 1,070 yards.
Both had four touchdowns, but Newton had four turnovers (all on interceptions). Griffin has two turnovers (one interception, one fumble).
Now if you're thinking that Newton had a better season, he did at this point—passing the ball, that is.
Look at the running stats.
Newton had 133 yards with four touchdowns while averaging 4.03 yards per carry. Griffin has 252 yards with four touchdowns and is averaging 6.5 yards per carry.
Now it's pretty even when you throw all those together. The biggest difference, though, is how big Griffin has come up at the end of games. It doesn't take video-game type statistics to have the best rookie season ever, but the numbers he is putting up sure won't hurt.
Newton was 1-3 through his first four, losing shootouts to Arizona, Green Bay and Chicago. In the first game against Arizona, the Panthers had a chance from the Cardinals' 6-yard line, but failed to get in to tie the game. They had a desperation attempt to try and even it up against Green Bay, but didn't recover the onside kick. Against the Jaguars (their only win), the defense only gave up 10 points. Then against Chicago, the score wasn't as close as it indicates, with a garbage touchdown making it respectable.
Griffin has been the reason the Redskins won their two games thus far, and put them in a position to tie in their two losses, but bone-headed errors by other players/coaches spoiled what could have been a fantastic finish.
The Redskins were awful last year—everyone that follows this team knows it. To at least have a chance at the end is a breath of fresh air 'Skins fans haven't felt in some time.
Even an 8-8 finish with this roster would be amazing. It would definitely be worthy of rookie of the year.
If Griffin can knock the Redskins over the .500 hump that's been so elusive, then it would be the best rookie year ever. Outside of Pierre Garcon, there's not an above-average receiver on this team. Santana Moss has already seen his best days, and Leonard Hankerson's best days are yet to come.
Don't get me started on Josh Morgan.
The offensive line is, well, offensive. Alfred Morris has been a pleasant surprise and has taken a lot of pressure off of Griffin so he doesn't have to create every play. Also, without Brian Orakpo on this defense, they are third-worst in the NFL at stopping the pass.
The Redskins need him to have the greatest rookie season ever, because if he doesn't, the Rams would probably be picking in the top-three of the 2013 NFL Draft. We don't want to see that become a reality or it would feel like RG3's rookie season was a bit of a waste.
Thankfully, that hasn't been the ca
se and the Redskins may be a playoff contender sooner rather than later if he keeps this season up. As I've said before, the Redskins can win this division. The scenarios I listed may not be falling in place the way we'd like, but it can still be done.
Is it too much to wish for if I say the Redskins can go 14-2 with RG3 winning the NFL MVP and Super Bowl MVP awards? Probably. But that doesn't have to happen for Griffin to be considered the top rookie of all-time, because without injury, we all know he's going to run away with the Rookie of the Year award in 2012.
The reason it's happening is because head coach Mike Shanahan and offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan are drawing up perfect game plans for Griffin to follow. It all started on his first drive when Washington called screen pass after screen pass.
When that got stale, they changed to a more drop-back and fire approach. When that wasn't hitting the spot, it was a strong rushing attack. It led to a scoring drive. Wait, I meant scoring drives.
Sorry, I wasn't used to using that as a plural when Grossman was around.
For as stubborn as Mike Shanahan comes off to NFL fans and pundits alike, he sure has been willing to revolve an entire game around someone that has never played a snap in the league. He'll continue to ride the hot hand and right now, Griffin's palms have blue flames shooting out.
There's a lot of season left, so it could just be smoke and mirrors, but I don't believe it. This kid is the real deal and the best rookie of all time. It's almost as if Subway, Gatorade, Adidas and seemingly hundreds of other sponsors already knew before anyone else.
If you haven't bought a Redskins jersey since John Riggins was leading the charge in the '80s, then now may be the time.
And I'm not talking about Rex Grossman's jersey.
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