RGIII vs. Andrew Luck: Which QB Is More Likely to Experience a Sophomore Slump?

Chris Roling@@Chris_RolingFeatured ColumnistDecember 3, 2012

LANDOVER, MD - DECEMBER 03:  Quarterback  Robert Griffin III #10 of the Washington Redskins throws the ball in the first quarter while taking on the New York Giants at FedExField on December 3, 2012 in Landover, Maryland.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images

Both the Indianapolis Colts' Andrew Luck and the Washington Redskins' Robert Griffin III have been exceptional this season after being selected No. 1 and No. 2 respectively in the 2012 NFL draft, but both are in serious danger of suffering from the sophomore slump in the 2013 NFL season. 

The question is, who will be more likely to fall victim to the highly-publicized slump?

The slump is without a doubt liable to happen to any second-year player, but even more so for quarterbacks. 

It happens for a variety of reasons, but most prominently is the fact the rest of the NFL finally has an entire season's worth of film to break down the sophomore's game and adequately prepare for the head-to-head matchup. 

Luck and RGIII are no exception to the rule. Both have taken the league by storm and turned formerly mediocre teams competitive. In Luck's case, he has Indianapolis on the way to the playoffs with eight wins and a hold on a Wild Card slot. For Griffin, the Redskins are in every game and have notched five wins. 

Statistically, there has been no slowing down either rookie signal-caller. Luck has amassed 3,596 yards through the air with 17 touchdowns and 16 interceptions. He's earned a 76 quarterback rating while completing 55 percent of his passes. He's also added five touchdowns rushing the ball. 

Conversely, Griffin has thrown for 2,660 yards, 17 touchdowns and four interceptions. He has a stellar 104.6 quarterback rating while completing 67 percent of his passes. Griffin has also rushed for 714 yards and four touchdowns. 

Both Luck and RGIII are not only outstanding passers, but athletic enough to extend plays with their feet to find the open man or hurt defenses by taking it up the field themselves. The advantage here goes to Griffin, who is lightning quick and can take off for the big play at a moment's notice. 

What sets Luck and Griffin apart is the former's innate ability to beat defenses with his arm in a variety of ways. Luck is simply a better passer than Griffin. 

While Griffin runs an option offense that allows him to make easy reads, he also has wide-open passing lanes most of the time thanks to defenses having to seriously account for his ability to take off with the football rather than throw. 

Luck has not been as fortunate. He has to stand tall in the pocket and make the correct reads on every single play. He's also dealing with receivers outside of Reggie Wayne who have serious issues creating separation. 

For these reasons alone, Griffin is more susceptible to the sophomore slump next year. 

Think about it. Luck has won eight games, best all time for a No. 1 overall pick. He's won a jaw-dropping five times out of those eight thanks to a fourth-quarter comeback. Luck directs a complicated professional offense that is focused on the deep attack. 

The same cannot be said for Griffin. 

In the past NFL defenses have shown a propensity for eventually being able to break down an option offense and completely shut it down. 

It's a weak comparison when looking at Griffin and last year's No. 1 overall pick Cam Newton side by side in terms of play style, but it makes a lot of sense to examine the offenses they run. 

Newton had a historic campaign last season much like Griffin is this year. Except this season Newton has been a dud while suffering from the slump, in large part because defenses had enough film on him to figure out his tendencies and shut him down. 

Defenses have eliminated the rushing aspect of Newton's game almost entirely, forcing him to win games with his arm. He has yet to do so consistently. 

Griffin could suffer a similar fate. He's an effective passer, but he'll have to elevate his game in a major way this offseason to avoid slumping. 

One thing is certain—both Luck and RGIII are forever intertwined and will have wildly successful careers regardless of which one, or perhaps both, go slumping next year. Luck is more slump-proof as of now, but Griffin is smart enough to avoid it as well. 

Either way, watching these two progress, slump or not, is something that will spoil fans for years to come. 


Verdict: RGIII is more likely to slump, if either do at all.