FanPost

Eliminating Two Nonsense Notions About Robert Griffin III


1. The idea that he was "a one year wonder." That takes the rather silly position that Griffin III only became a very good college player when Baylor posted a superior record, and before then Griffin III's individual performance didn't matter. Funny: that didn't apply to John Elway and his 20-23 record at Stanford, or to Jay Cutler and his even worse record at Vanderbilt. The best way to refuse the lie that Griffin III was a one year wonder: he was a near-consensus preseason Heisman candidate. A partial list of the preseason Heisman hype that Griffin III got:

http://heismanpundit.com/2011/02/22/the-2011-heismanpundit-com-heisman-trophy-watch-list/ .
http://msn.foxsports.com/collegefootball/gallery/Charles-Davis-selects-his-ten-players-to-watch-in-Heisman-Trophy-race-082411#photo-title=Robert+Griffin+III%252C+junior%252C+QB%252C+Baylor&photo=30102650 .
http://insider.espn.go.com/college-football/blog?name=mcgee_ncf_ryan&id=6935464&action=login&appRedirect=http%3a%2f%2finsider.espn.go.com%2fcollege-football%2fblog%3fname%3dmcgee_ncf_ryan%26id%3d6935464 .
http://www.stiffarmtrophy.com/2011/09/03/pre-season-heisman-poll-will-heisman-go-west-2011/ .
http://kegsneggsblog.com/2011/12/08/from-start-to-finish-a-rundown-of-heisman-odds/ .
http://bleacherreport.com/articles/603021-college-football-2011-10-darkhorse-heisman-candidates .

Since this canard emanates primarily from Andrew Luck boosters, consider that Griffin III had more TD passes, fewer INTs, only 2 fewer completions and only a slightly lower QB rating (142 versus 143.5) than Luck did in his first year as a starter. Comparing their 2nd years as a starter: Luck had WAY more passing TDs with 32, but Griffin III's 22 isn't too shabby. Luck's QB rating was much higher - because of the 10 passing TD advantage - and had a better completion percentage at 70.7 (but again, Griffin III's 67 was not to be trifled with) but still had more completions and yards than did Luck. So, if Griffin's first and second year numbers were competitive with "the best QB prospect since Peyton Manning/John Elway/ever" then how is Griffin III "a one year wonder"?

You might protest: but wins do count. I agree! So why was Luck already being talked about as the best player in the draft in early 2010 based on taking Stanford to an 8-5 record the previous year, his first as a starter? What was Baylor's record in 2010? 7-6. So, the folks who were willing to draft Luck #1 overall after an 8-5 record call Griffin III a one year wonder when he went 7-6 the previous year? So ... what is that ... an 8 win threshold that determines whether a season is substantial or not? 8 wins and you're in, but 7 wins and "tough luck"? Even if that 7 wins is your program's best season in almost 20 years? (By contrast, Stanford went to the Rose Bowl in 1997 and had a 9 win season in 1999. With Tyrone Willingham - the same one fired by Notre Dame and Washington - as coach. And no one who did anything in the NFL at QB, WR or RB.) Again, not knocking Luck in any way, just using him as the reference point to show how all this "one year wonder" stuff is ridiculous. You want to talk about a one year wonder? Carson Palmer, who had more career INTs than TDs before going absolutely bonkers in the last 9 games of his 5th year senior season! Palmer went #1 overall, and no one called him a one year wonder! Joey Harrington? More of the same. Until his senior year he was barely completing 50% of his passes! Instead of calling him a one year wonder, they called him the next Joe Montana! Aaron Rodgers wasn't called a one year wonder either, despite his literally only being a starter for a little over a season and a half. It is either a double standard or a smear job, but either way it is infuriating.

2. The "can he adapt from spread offense" thing. Now I agree that running a pro-style offense in college gives you a small advantage. But beyond that: please. Are we going to ignore that QBs who ran pro-style offenses in college fail in the NFL all the time? Consider the Pac-10, Pac-8, Pac-12 or whatever they call themselves now: they've been running mostly pro-style offenses for decades. How many starting QBs does the Pac-12 have in the NFL right now? How many good starting QBs does the Pac-12 have in the NFL right now? How many good starting QBs does the Pac-12 have in the NFL right now who didn't play for USC under Pete Carroll? My point exactly. Oh yes, and you can extend that point to include QBs from FSU, Miami, Florida and BYU, who ran pro-style offenses for decades. How many good NFL QBs did they produce? And why isn't the NFL filled with guys from the WAC and Mountain West either?

By contrast, let's take a look at the "struggles" of these spread QBs with a little snapshot: the NFL playoffs last season. Of the 12 QBs that got their teams to the playoffs last year, 5 played spread offenses in college: Drew Brees, Ben Roethlisberger, Alex Smith, Tim Tebow and Andy Dalton. But it was a long, hard road to make the transition, right? Yeah, sure. Dalton was a rookie from a mid-major who took the Bengals to their first playoff spot in years and did it without Chad "Ocho Cinco" Johnson and T.J. Houshmanzadeh, the Pro Bowl WRs that Carson Palmer had all those years! Ben Roethlisberger? Another mid-major spread guy who took the Steelers to the AFC title game as a rookie. Drew Brees? Had a credible season - nearly 3300 yards, 60% completions, 8-8 record on a team with no weapons in the passing game - by his second year. That's not all. Chad Pennington - another mid major talent - got the Jets to the playoffs rather early in his career, and would still be a Pro Bowl caliber performer were he healthy. Vince Young, David Garrard, Byron Leftwich and Tebow: say what you will, but they got their teams to more playoff games than Matt Leinart ever did, and all but Garrard did so early in their careers. And then there is Cam Newton, who didn't make the playoffs last year but through no fault of his own: his team scored 25 points a game (up from the 12 points that Jimmy Clausen produced despite playing for former NFL offensive coordinator Charlie Weis ... and oh yeah add Brady Quinn, another Weis product, to the list of pro style draft busts too) but gave up 26.

Now if we were talking about one of those "air raid" spread guys you would have a point because none of those guys have done anything in the NFL, but Griffin III didn't run that system at Baylor. The other spread QBs who had difficulty adapting to the NFL did so for the same reason that the pro-style QBs did: they didn't have the talent (i.e. Colt McCoy) or work ethic (i.e. Vince Young and Byron Leftwich), or were in bad situations (like Tim Couch in Cleveland). View their failures as being no different from the likes of Ryan Leaf, Cade McNown, and the other guys named already.

The Redskins are getting a QB who had a great college career and is a great prospect, no ifs, ands, buts or caveats about it.

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