It's been the question since day one. Could Robert Griffin III stack up with the other NFC East quarterbacks, whom were all thought to be elite, if not now, at some point in their careers?
This week, we finally get to see the first measuring stick for RG3's progress in one of the toughest divisions in football. And it's against the QB that is considered to be at the top of the heap, Eli Manning.
Both men came into the league with incredible mystique and hype surrounding them, but that's where the similarities end.
Eli Manning was born and bred to be a quarterback, and was expected to be an NFL star since before he was a gleam in Ol' Archie Manning's eye. He got his choice of college scholarships from all across the country, and thanks to Daddy, got his choice of NFL teams too.
He never wanted to play for the San Diego Chargers and after enough whining, he got his way.
Sure, Robert Griffin III got offers from Nebraska and Tennessee, but other than that, there wasn't much. He wasn't even guaranteed to be a quarterback, which is why he went to Baylor, so he could be given the chance.
He earned his way to the top of the college football world with a dazzling season in 2011 to win the Heisman Trophy. When the Redskins traded up to the Rams for the second pick in the 2012 draft, Griffin was excited.
He never said there was another team he'd rather play for.
It would have been easy, too. Who could blame someone for not wanting to come to an organization that has been grossly mismanaged and hadn't won a divisional title since he was just nine years old.
Now at 22, he is the face of the organization. Teams are having trouble just trying to contain him, let alone stop him. The Redskins offense hasn't been this good in more than 20 years, and Griffin is the sole reason.
Remember, he's just a rookie.
When Manning entered the league, he was trained under the tutelage of future Hall of Famer Kurt Warner. Both have similar styles, so he was the perfect quarterback to teach young Eli. Griffin hasn't had that advantage in his career. He has to learn from Rex Grossman.
In Griffin's first season, he has already taken a team that was 5-11 last year and has them off to a solid 3-3 start, with a chance to jump into first place with a win this Sunday against Manning and the Giants. Eli started his career 0-6, then beat the Cowboys in the final week of the season. Griffin already has exactly 300 more passing yards than Manning did in his rookie year (1,343 to 1,043), and Eli got to start seven games compared to Griffin's six. Eli had six touchdowns and nine interceptions in his first season. Griffin has five touchdowns and just two picks.
So already, Griffin has had a better rookie year than Eli, and we're just getting started. That doesn't even include the running statistics.
But when you look at the two, both quarterbacks had fans out of their seats. For RG3, it's because of the exciting plays and the fantastic offense. For Eli, it was because they were leaving in the third quarter.
But just for fun, let's look at those too: Griffin has 379 yards and six touchdowns compared to Eli's 35 yards and zero touchdowns. That should solidify the comparisons right there.
I'm not saying that Griffin is a better quarterback than Eli right now, that would be absurd.
Manning hasn't had a losing season since his rookie year (worst finish was 8-8 on two occasions). And that's what we expect out of Griffin as well. Hopefully he can pepper in three Super Bowl wins compared to Eli's two.
Romo and Vick seem to be fading fast, so right now, Manning is the mile marker you'd like to see him get to, hopefully with more gas still in the tank. Even if the Redskins win this Sunday to take first place, this season is long from over. There's still nine more games after this week, and five of them are against division opponents. This is a great way to see where the Redskins playoff run stands, though.
And although Robert Griffin III may not be the elite quarterback that Eli Manning is, he's on his way.
Korey Beckett is a featured columnist for the Washington Redskins and a Fantasy Football contributor. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/koreybeckettbr