RGIII for MVP: 3 Reasons Why
When the Indianapolis Colts decided between the draft's two top prospects this past offseason, I don't think they envisioned either of them contending for the league's Most Valuable Player award.
But seven weeks into the season, here we are.
Washington's Robert Griffin III has already shown the football world why he is a legitimate candidate for the 2012 NFL MVP.
Anyone who has watched the Redskins play this year can tell you that his talent transcends expectations.
And he has the stats to back it up.
The presence of RGIII in Washington's backfield has added a dynamic rarely seen before at the professional level.
His league-leading completion percentage and six rushing touchdowns show us why many viewed Griffin III as the first overall selection in this year's draft.
He has the raw talent, and has mastered the mechanics.
He's got the track-star speed and carries all the intangibles desired in a quarterback.
RGIII has taken the football world by storm as he continues to make headlines and revolutionize the QB position.
But is he deserving of an MVP award in his first season?
Here are three great reasons I think he is:
Coming out of Baylor as the 2011 Heisman Trophy winner, we knew Robert Griffin III was good. But had we known he was going to be this impressive, I think the folks in Indianapolis may have reconsidered their first overall selection.
The numbers speak for themselves.
Through the first seven weeks of the NFL season, RGIII has posted statistics unlike anything we have ever seen before at the professional level.
His league-leading completion percentage (70.4) is unprecedented for a rookie quarterback. And what makes that number even more telling is the fact that he isn't completing such a high percentage on short, check-down throws.
In fact, RGIII actually leads the league in average yards per attempt (8.5) as well.
But these remarkable passing statistics alone don't qualify Robert Griffin III for such a prestigious honor.
Rookie of the Year? Perhaps.
MVP? Not quite.
What makes RGIII deserving of the award just seven weeks into his NFL career is his revolutionary impact on the quarterback position.
It started with Michael Vick in 2001, but now Robert Griffin III is taking the hybrid quarterback to an entirely new level.
Nearly midway through the season, the Washington Redskins quarterback is the NFL's 12th-leading rusher.
He leads the league in yards per rush (7.3), and has totaled more yards on the ground (468) than elite running backs like LeSean McCoy and Matt Forte.
Only Arian Foster has more rushing touchdowns than RGIII at this point in the year, and the Texans' superstar has over 100 more attempts to help the cause.
How's that for impressive?
Any Given Sunday
The sample size is small. But even through seven weeks, it is safe to say that Robert Griffin III has been the best player each and every time he has stepped onto the field.
Much like Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady and every other elite quarterback before him, RGIII has the ability to take over a an entire game by himself.
Through the air, or with his legs, Washington's quarterback is so supremely talented that he gives the Redskins a legitimate chance to win every single weekend.
When's the last time that could be said about Washington's signal caller?
His dynamic presence behind center has left opposing defenses in shambles.
His late-game scrambles have made the most athletic of defenders look downright silly.
We saw it against Minnesota when he took it 76 yards to the house to seal the Redskins' first home victory in more than a year.
And we saw it again this past Sunday when Griffin III connected with Santana Moss for a potential game-winning touchdown in the final minutes.
The man can do it all, and he is proving that just seven games into his young career.
Who would you rather have on your team?
Perhaps the most impressive aspect of Robert Griffin III's sensational rookie season is Washington's collective and noticeable improvement as a team.
The days of Rex Grossman and John Beck now seem distant, and Redskins fans should be thankful that those weeks of offensive futility are over.
Since RGIII has taken over the reigns in D.C., Washington has seen drastic increases in virtually every offensive statistic.
After finishing 16th in total offense one season ago, the 'Skins now rank third in the same category through seven weeks.
Their average point total has jumped more than 10 points per game with Robert Griffin III under center, and what was once the 25th ranked rushing attack in 2011 now stands as the league's best.
Of course the success can be attributed to multiple factors including the surprising emergence of Alfred Morris and Mike Shanahan's successful zone run-blocking scheme.
But the biggest difference has undoubtedly been seen in the quarterback play.
It was painful to watch Grossman and Beck combine for 24 interceptions last year. Washington's (-14) turnover ratio made it nearly impossible for success.
Now, it is an entirely different story.
Almost halfway through the year, RGIII has thrown just three picks. The Redskins' (+7) turnover margin has them tied for fifth in the league, and their offensive production has reflected that.
Key injuries to Griffin III's key weapons must also be considered when evaluating his rookie performance thus far.
After losing his No. 1 option in the opening quarter of the season, Washington's quarterback suffered another devastating blow this past weekend in Fred Davis.
Even without the services of his two top targets, don't expect any significant drop off in Griffin's production.
Because as we have already seen before, RGIII doesn't have time for excuses.
He is here to win.