INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 05: Members of the New York Giants pose with the Vince Lombardi Trophy after the Giants defeated the Patriots by a score of 21-17 in Super Bowl XLVI at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 5, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
I’m still new here, but I’ve picked up a few things so far. The most important of which is that the best conversations happen in the comments. In that vein, I’d like to thank Belly Kilmer for calling me out on my impatience to win. I believe the question was: "You’re prepared to be very patient with our rookie QB his first few seasons, right?"
Right, because patience is the principle virtue of those who have no choice but to wait. Allow me to rephrase: Quarterbacks take time to develop. Redskins fans can’t expect the addition of a rookie quarterback, no matter how good of a prospect he is, to make a huge difference in the win-loss column. We are not going to the Super Bowl. (Note: This is a win-win prediction for me.)
Analyst-that-I-like Dan Graziano made the point that only four teams reached the playoffs with rookie quarterbacks in the past four years: the 2008 , 2008 , 2009 , and 2011 . You’ll notice that none of those clubs asked their quarterbacks to carry them into the postseason.
The Falcons made it with the league’s second-best rushing offense; the Ravens had the second-best defense and fourth-best rushing offense; and the Jets led the league in defense and rushing offense. In addition to a seventh-ranked defense, the Bengals pairedwith stud wideout (and fellow rookie) .
All this is to say that I’d consider an eight-win season a true victory for the Redskins. Not that I don’t think much better is possible, but that setting realistic expectations is crucial for evaluating and acclimating a new quarterback. If I expect our new quarterback to win us the World Series, then it’s my fault, not his, when that doesn’t happen.
Don’t get me wrong—fans have every reason to be hopeful, to dream big, and to look forward to the future. All available information tells us that Luck and Griffin have enormous potential.
Unfortunately for first-year pros, these half-educated-half-Miss-Cleo projections are the only measures we have to judge them against. Here’s what I mean: You don’t consider a guy on the street a failure for never winning a Super Bowl, no matter how athletic he is. But Ryan Leaf is another story. Then again, anyone busted twice in the same week for identical offenses (burglary and drug possession) isn’t exactly an overachiever.
Back to Griffin and Luck: If these two are regarded as potentially the best ever, they’re virtually guaranteed not to live up to that standard the first season. Yes, I expect our quarterback to be pretty darn good, to show improvement, and to consistently make the team better. I need to see flashes of brilliance, but no one becomes the best ever overnight. The team and fans have to understand that to give our guy a real chance to succeed in the future.
No matter who ends up sporting the B&G, he deserves a fair shake.