Breaking Down Why RGIII Deserves to Be Rookie of the Year
I didn’t really have a plan when it came to writing my first Robert Griffin-actually-being-a-Redskin article, I just let it flow.
I just thought about how much this team means to me. Being a Redskin fan is more than just throwing on a burgundy and gold jersey on Sunday.
I looked forward to writing about the former Heisman Trophy winner on a regular basis, and as I sat down in front of my desk, I came up with the perfect scenario.
I thought of RGIII running down the field and executing a play with relative ease in crunch time. I imagined thousands of fans screaming their heads off with “RGIII! RGIII! RGIII!” chants. I imagined us winning.
Obviously, my heart is involved, I can name every single player on the roster and where they went to college (challenge me). I analyze every personnel move and attempt to predict every play during the course of a game.
Although our lowly 3-6 record is not a reflection of it, Griffin has made this team dangerous. Maybe not now, but it’s hard to imagine a talent him not succeeding one day.
He’s been spectacular in limited work, and it’s going to be interesting to see how Griffin makes the adjustments now that opposing defenses have enough film on him.
It’s funny how the NFL changes on almost a weekly basis. In the first month of the season, Griffin and the Redskins were the talk of the league as Andrew Luck noticeably struggled.
Soon fans, analysts and various members of the media began to question the Colts' decision to draft Luck over Griffin.
Weeks later, Luck is now carrying the torch as the Rookie of the Year (arguably) and RGIII and his Redskins are in a major funk.
Despite all of that, I’m going to tell you why Griffin still deserves that honor.
His Defense Is Terrible
It was Jim Haslett’s defense that made the costly errors. It was A.J. Green making the secondary look silly. It was the defense that surrendered a 21-6 lead in St. Louis, and it was Victor Cruz’s long touchdown reception against Madieu Williams and Josh Wilson that ruined that game.
Griffin can’t play safety, too, even though it wouldn’t surprise me if he could do a better job.
The injuries to Brian Orakpo, Brandon Meriweather and Adam Carriker have proved to be devastating to the defense, leaving the offense to pick up the pieces.
While I’m confident in Griffin and Kyle Shanahan’s scheme, we can’t afford to be in a shootout on a week-to-week basis.
If defensive plays had been made in those three games, you are looking at an entirely different season.
His Receivers Are Inferior
Imagine Griffin’s production if he had talented pass-catchers. He’s only had one receiver go for more than 100 receiving yards in a game and that was Pierre Garcon in one half of football.
Since the Garcon injury, Leonard Hankerson, Josh Morgan and Aldrick Robinson have not picked up the slack. I’m not including Santana Moss in that category, given his role on the team.
Tight end Fred Davis’ injury couldn’t have happened at a worse time, coming right as he and Griffin were starting to develop chemistry. You know it has been a struggle in the passing game when tight end Logan Paulsen is the team’s surprise of the season. That’s not to demean Paulsen, either, but we know that he’s not going to become the next Jimmy Graham.
Griffin and his offense desperately need Garcon to return. Going forward, the Redskins also need to re-evaluate the talent on their receiving corps.
It was expected that this was going to be a downfield offense, but Hankerson and Morgan are unable to create separation. Again, this is not RGIII’s fault.
His Offensive Line Is Below Average
I like Trent Williams and Chris Chester, that’s it. Kory Lichtensteiger has been a good story considering his recovery from a gruesome knee injury, but Will Montgomery and Tyler Polumbus are liabilities.
For the first time in awhile, I’ve noticed continuity among this group. The problem is that they aren’t very good.
Polumbus has repeatedly lost battles against athletic pass-rushers, and Montgomery is responsible for the pocket closing on a consistent basis.
The front office needs to upgrade the offensive line to protect its most coveted player.
He's Revolutionizing the Position
Similar to Cam Newton last year, Griffin has forced teams to defend formations. The pistol (that’s Griffin in the shotgun with the running back behind him) is not only being used regularly by Washington, but it’s becoming prevalent league-wide.
With the success of Griffin this season, people are starting to believe that Chip Kelly’s offense at Oregon might actually work at the professional level.
The Skins had a very vanilla offensive approach in the preseason. But they came out swinging in the regular season with a unique attack and defensive coordinators had no idea what to do.
With an athlete of Griffin’s caliber, he has the potential to break the mold of what has been the stereotypical quarterback. That would be a 6’4, 230-pound pocket passer who can manage the offense in a cerebral way.
He's Been Elected Captain
Do you know how hard it is for a rookie to earn the respect of the veterans? Nine games into the season, Griffin has already been elected captain by his peers.
He’s done this in a professional manner and led by example. Griffin’s intangibles are something that you can’t coach.