Just How Fast Is Robert Griffin III?

Shae CroninCorrespondent IDecember 13, 2012

LANDOVER, MD - DECEMBER 09:  Robert Griffin III #10 of the Washington Redskins waits between plays during a game against the Baltimore Ravens at FedExField on December 9, 2012 in Landover, Maryland.  (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

By way of an impressive and shocking four-game win streak, the Washington Redskins have rebounded from a 3-6 start and reports of a head coach quitting on his team, to a 7-6 record and a legitimate shot at the playoffs.

Although the defense deserves credit for the way it has held up over the past four games, it's no secret who the man behind the curtain is in Washington. Rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III has fit in just fine with offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan and the Redskins are tossing out an offensive gameplan each and every week that is leaving defenses guessing and off-balance.

The newly implemented zone-read scheme in Washington is made possible by Griffin and his unique combination of speed, decisiveness, and instinct. With a cannon for an arm and arguably the most accurate quarterback of the ones considered "mobile," no other quarterback could operate this scheme quite like Griffin.

And that's before we even mention the threat posed by way of his speed and elusiveness. Which begs the question, just how fast is RG3?

During his college career at Baylor, Griffin demonstrated his speed on both the football field and the track. En route to gaining national attention and eventually winning the Heisman Trophy in 2011, Griffin was a fixture on highlight reels and top 10 play segments thanks in large part to his wheels. 

This past February in Indianapolis at the NFL Combine, Griffin broke records and became the second-fastest quarterback to ever participate in the event's forty yard dash with a time of 4.41. 

As if running roughly 18.5 miles per hour to complete the dash isn't fast enough, Griffin would actually go on to outdo himself during a game against the Minnesota Vikings during Week 6 of his rookie season. 

On 3rd-and-6 from his own 24-yard line, Griffin takes the snap out of the shotgun, drops back, and immediately recognizes the coverage and gaping hole towards the left of the field. Like a shot from a gun, Griffin takes off and burns the Vikings' defense for 76 yards and a touchdown. 

The play technically starts at the 2:56 mark with Griffin dropping back, but he doesn't actually take off until 2:54. 10 seconds later—even with change of direction in his break to the outside—Griffin is celebrating with fans after taking the ball in for a score. 

At 8.5 yards per second, Griffin is traveling roughly 19 miles per hour on his way to a game-sealing touchdown. And one can imagine that time to be even lower had he not changed directions and rather broke down the seam in a straight line without contact. Let's also not forget full pads, a helmet, and the fact that Griffin glanced back at the defender.

To give you an idea, Griffin could nearly outrun a Black Mamba snake hot on his tail. He would torch a squirrel in any kind of foot race, elephants are beatable, and mice wouldn't stand a chance. 

At 19 miles an hour, Griffin would be speeding in more than a handful of suburban neighborhoods around the District. 

While running styles aren't necessarily indicative of a runner's success, one can't help but notice RG3's long strides. Likely stemming from his track days and participation in the 110- and 400-meter hurdles. When compared to fellow NFL speedsters, Griffin's style makes his actual speed deceiving.

For example, take Chicago Bears burner Devin Hester. Coming out of Miami in 2006, Hester was a return man with blazing speed and a threat to torch you at any time. At the NFL Combine, he too ran a 4.41 40-yard dash.

But when you compare tape of Griffin and Hester racing down the field, both guys are different kinds of fast. Griffin covers more space with less steps, almost appearing to gallop. Hester, on the other hand, has fast feet and he chops wood through the entire run. 

The most significant difference between the two is that Hester looks fast when he drops into gear. Griffin doesn't. RGIII will take off with a stride that appears normal, only to blow the doors off the opposition and leave defenders eating turf.

Griffin has been nothing shy of brilliant through his first 13 professional outings. His football intelligence is beyond his years, his leadership is putting an entire city on his shoulders, and his speed and athleticism are truly freakish combinations.

If the opposing quarterback can place a ball on a dime 60 yards down field, or take off faster than his running back Alfred Morris' 1991 Mazda 626, defenses are left damned if they do and damned if they don't.

As if we aren't plenty entertained with everything else Griffin has going for him through a very young NFL career, the swindling speed from RG3 is truly fun to watch.