Why Robert Griffin III Is Still Washington Redskins' Best Bet at QB

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Why Robert Griffin III Is Still Washington Redskins' Best Bet at QB
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Nearly two years after the Washington Redskins surrendered three first-round picks and a second-round pick to the St. Louis Rams in an effort to secure the selection of Robert Griffin III, as reported by Jay Glazer of FoxSports, some Washington fans have already decided that Griffin has run his course with the team, is injury-prone and is not suited to the demands of being an NFL quarterback. 

In his rookie season, Griffin was extremely efficient—throwing for 3,200 yards with 20 touchdown and just five interceptions, as well as posting a third-best quarterback rating of 102.4. Additionally, he rushed for a quarterback-leading 815 yards and seven touchdowns en route to his team's first division title since 1999. 

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However, after unfavorable media attention and a mediocre 2013 season—stemming from the torn ACL he suffered in the 2012 Wild Card Game against the Seattle Seahawks—Griffin is already being labeled a bust by certain groups of fans.

The same fickle fans were quick to praise backup quarterback Kirk Cousins following his first two performances in Griffin's stead, in which he threw for 578 yards and four touchdowns—both in narrow defeats. 

The cries for Griffin's crucifixion died down following Cousins' start in the season finale. Against the 6-9 New York Giants, the former Michigan State standout completed just 38.8 percent of his passes for 169 yards and two interceptions. 

It's not unusual to begin to hear the faint cries for a new quarterback in Washington after such a short time, primarily because of the never-ending quarterback carousel the franchise has suffered since its purchase by owner Dan Snyder in 1999. 

Since then, the Redskins have had 15 different starting quarterbacks—sixth-most in the NFL for that span of time.

Name Means of Acquisition Number of Games Started
Brad Johnson  Via trade   27
Jeff George  Via free agency  7
Tony Banks  Via free agency  14
Shane Matthews  Via free agency  7
Danny Wuerffel  Via free agency  4
Patrick Ramsey  First round of the 2002 NFL draft  13
Tim Hasselbeck  Via free agency  5
Mark Brunell  Via trade  33
Jason Campbell  First round of the 2005 NFL draft  52
Todd Collins  Via free agency 3
Donovan McNabb  Via trade  13
Rex Grossman  Via free agency 16
John Beck  Via trade 3
Robert Griffin III  First round of the 2012 NFL draft 28
Kirk Cousins  Fourth round of the 2012 NFL draft 4

Only three of the listed quarterbacks were first-round picks, and Griffin stands as the only Top-10 selection. With the poor track record, for the most part, of Redskins quarterbacks over the last 15 years not acquired in the draft's first round, Washington has no choice but to stick with Griffin, as it lacks a first-round pick in the 2014 draft.

The best thing Griffin has going for him is the arrival of Jay Gruden as head coach, who seems to be all-in on Griffin.

Before turning Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton into a Pro Bowler who led his team to three consecutive playoff appearances, Gruden coached in the Arena Football League.

In the AFL, Gruden coached the Orlando Predators to two ArenaBowl titles with a converted wide receiver playing quarterback, via Dave Sheinin of The Washington Post.

In 2010, Gruden coached his backup quarterback, Chris Greisen, and the Florida Tuskers to the ArenaBowl.

Greisen had this to say about Gruden, via Sheinin of The Washington Post:

“He’s had so many different types of quarterbacks. He figures out what a guy does best and how to mold the offense around him.”

What Gruden hasn't had is a quarterback like RGIII. The rapport that the two share, however, seems to be strong out of the gates.

Griffin said of his first interaction with his new head coach, via Mike Jones of The Washington Post:

“Excited, man. Can’t wait to get to work. Key takeaways: excited to get this thing going, get better together, have fun, win."

The beginning of the 2014 NFL season will mark a year-and-a-half since Griffin's ACL repair. Additionally, the third-year quarterback will likely have new weapons to work with and a revitalized offensive line. 

There's no reason that Griffin can't return to the level of success he experienced in 2012, this time with a brand new offense.

 

Unless otherwise mentioned, all stats were gathered via Pro-Football-Reference.com. 

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