Much like Michael Vick and Cam Newton, Robert Griffin III will face the question of durability throughout his entire NFL career.
All dual-threat quarterbacks do.
However, Griffin’s physical and mental superiority puts him leagues ahead of his two competitors and ensures his future success in the NFL without any durability concerns.
To begin with, Griffin is easily the fastest quarterback in the NFL right now.
At his combine this past offseason, Griffin, who broke the NCAA Midwest Regional record in the 400-meter hurdles, posted a 4.41 40-yard dash time. The fastest of any quarterback in his class.
At the 2011 NFL combine, Cam Newton clocked in at 4.59 seconds, the same time eventual first overall pick Andrew Luck would later score.
In his prime, Michael Vick was the by far the fastest quarterback in the league, but at 32 years old he has surely lost a step.
As defenses begin to get bigger and stronger, the quarterback position is quickly changing. Speed and scrambling adeptness are almost a necessity nowadays to a prolonged career in the NFL. Griffin’s ability to avoid the heavy pressure and scramble for the first down is invaluable to both the Washington Redskins and his health.
RG3 is also an excellent passer.
Through seven games this season, Griffin has the highest completion percentage among all quarterbacks at 70.4 percent.
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Granted, the Washington Redskins do run more of a horizontal offense. Griffin’s passes travel an average of 7.9 yards beyond the line of scrimmage, which is below the league norm of 8.2.
The quarterback out of Baylor is unbelievably efficient in the west coast offense, and head coach Mike Shanahan understands how to cater to his strengths.
As defenses have to account for his obvious abilities in the air game, gaping holes in the line open up for Griffin to take off untouched for the first down.
According to the New York Times’ Chase Stuart, Griffin is tied for second with Vick—behind only Andrew Luck, actually—in carries for first downs with nine.
The closest quarterback to matching his 468 rushing yards this season is Cam Newton with 273 yards on the ground.
Unlike his versatile counterparts, Vick and Newton, Griffin has as much confidence in his arm as he does in his legs.
So far this season, both Vick and Newton have been abysmal in the passing game. Vick has caused over 75 percent of the Eagles’ turnovers this season, and Newton has more interceptions (six) than touchdowns (five).
Robert Griffin III is by far the most gifted pure passer of any true dual-threat quarterback we have ever seen.
As Griffin grows in the league, his passing will only get better, and as he gets better he won’t have to rely on the run nearly as much, making him much more durable.
Not only are Griffin’s physical talents extraordinary, but he is one of the smartest quarterbacks you will see on the gridiron.
According to ESPN Stats & Info:
RG3 leads NFL in completion pct (72.7), yards/attempt (11.7) & Total QBR (98.8) when facing 5+ pass rushers this season.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) October 24, 2012
While Cam and Vick have clearly shown their struggles reading defenses, it appears as though Griffin understands how to read the blitz and react accordingly just seven games into his career.
Griffin’s keen instincts and pre-snap reads help him exploit defenses, knowing when to trust his arm and when he needs to tuck the ball and run.
Robert Griffin III has already shown in his short stint in the NFL a maturity that is well beyond his years. Griffin’s decision-making combined with his big-play ability make him a menace for opposing defenses.
In my opinion, RG3 is smart enough to recognize his value to the team and will learn from his concussion to no longer put his body at risk like that again.
Thanks to his magnificent arm, blazing speed and innate feel for the game, Robert Griffin III will not face the durability woes that plague the average dual-threat quarterback and will succeed in the NFL for many years to come.