Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Fight me: RG3’s rookie season is overrated

RG3 is trying to make an NFL comeback, but will anyone bite?
Illustration: Getty Images

Robert Griffin III had a fantastic rookie season under the helm of the two Shanahans, Mike and Kyle. If it weren’t for the injuries he suffered early in his career, Washington would probably have had the team’s quarterback in 2010. I just want to get it out of the way before I actually start pissing off the masses.

but all this talk Likely to return to the NFLwe need to take a closer look at 2012’s breakouts, warts and all.

Griffin’s 2012 season, with Baylor’s product rushing for 815 and another seven points for 3,200 yards and 20 touchdowns, is often called one of the best rookie seasons ever. I can’t help but think that’s not true. Griffin’s rookie season is often looked back on with rose-tinted glasses as huge potential fans watch him fade away as injuries mount late in his career. A closer look at his rookie season reveals that Griffin, while talented, may not be at the heights many thought he would be if he stayed healthy. Conversely, Griffin may still be a solid starter, but has some glaring flaws.

Let me explain.

When people talk about Griffin’s rookie season, it usually revolves around his ability to shoot from close range and inflict damage to his legs. The latter is absolutely correct. There’s no denying that Griffin’s mobility is electric and game-changing, but when forced to pitch in the pocket, Griffin isn’t quite as great as our nostalgic minds imagined. Much of his success has come from game action, and thanks to the popularity of reading options in the early 2010s, it worked very well. I’m not saying it doesn’t work now, but the team’s game moves aren’t nearly as frequent as they were in 2012.

For example, the Buffalo Bills enacted 196 game passes in 2021, the most of any team in the NFL. 29.92% of their passes come from game action. 2012, Washington Run 42% of the time is playing action games. Forty-two percent! That’s 7 percent higher than the next closest teams (Seattle and Minnesota), and their ratio (35 percent) is also the highest since the game began tracking game action in 2005. In addition, Carolina has tied its previous highs in picking the game — in 2012, they took action on 33 percent of their passes.

Seattle has Russell Wilson. Carolina has Cam. Minnesota has … Christian Pound, but Adrian Peterson’s presence in the backcourt makes the game more effective. Basically, in the early 2010s, if you had a mobile quarterback or a generational centerback, you were playing at a ridiculously high rate.

I also don’t blame Washington for running all the game action. They are very effective when they do so.They are at the top of the league Defense modifier above average (DVOA) was 66.7% in the 2012 competition. No other team is above 60%. However, Washington’s DVOA on regular passes was just 5 percent, one of the lowest in the NFL that year.

Now, you might be thinking, “Who cares? As long as RG3 is in Mike Shanahan’s heavy game system, he’s going to be great.” True, but with his team trailing by a point or two late in the game, if How will he perform without game moves? How does he perform when the defense knows the pass is coming?

Here are RG3’s numbers when they trailed or tied in the fourth quarter of the 2012 season:

56 out of 92 (60.9%)

552 yards

6.0 yards per attempt

2 TDs

0 integers

22 punches

165 yards rush

1 punch TD

Good ball control but otherwise pretty mediocre. that 6.0 Yards per Attempt That’s especially scary considering only Trevor Lawrence’s yards per attempt (5.9) in 2021 starters trails RG3’s fourth in 2012 throughout 2021.In fact, the next closest quarterback in this situation is Ryan Tannehill (6.5), who Average more than half a yard per attempt Better than what Griffin did.

Additionally, in 2012, Griffin threw 13 passes for 30-plus yards.All but three of them are not playing the game, and one of the three is double pass, so really, Griffin made just two normal stepback giant throws in his “legendary” rookie season. This is not a good percentage. Ultimately, it’s up to the team to figure out how to defend Washington’s game moves. With Griffin at the helm, their offense is growing, and it’s only a matter of time before opposing defenses know when to bite and when not to. Griffin certainly has moments outside of the game passing where his potential and arm talent are on full display, but those moments haven’t happened consistently enough to convince me that he’s going to be an elite quarterback.

Is there potential? Absolutely. No one denied his talent. Even if his passing ability isn’t that great, his mobility will keep him relevant in the NFL for a long time, and it’s only his rookie season. He still has time to develop into a more well-rounded passer. That being said, most of his explosiveness in the air relies too much on game action. I know injuries played a big part in his downfall, but I also don’t think Griffin’s career really took a turn in 2014, a year after offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan left Washington , this is no coincidence.

Griffin deserves the 2012 Rookie of the Year. His rookie season was excellent, but overrated. Both claims may be true. I just don’t think that if Griffin stays healthy, he’ll be the perennial MVP candidate that some people think he is. Quarrel with me.


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