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He Said, She Said: The Youth Movement (Part I)

May 6, 2012; Ashburn, VA, USA; Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III (10) prepares to put on his helmet during rookie minicamp at Redskins Park. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-US PRESSWIRE
May 6, 2012; Ashburn, VA, USA; Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III (10) prepares to put on his helmet during rookie minicamp at Redskins Park. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-US PRESSWIRE

"Well, that's debatable."

Watch national media coverage of the Redskins and you'll have that thought every 30 seconds. And that's why I'm pleased to welcome you to the inaugural installment of He Said, She Said--a back-and-forth discussion of "That's debatable" topics in DC sports.

So, without further adieu, I give you Ken and I yammering about DC rookies, part I:

Who will make the biggest impact as a rookie, Braden Holtby, Bryce Harper, or Robert Griffin III? Note the intentionally open-ended phrasing.

Ken: There's no question in my mind that the biggest impact will be made by RG3. It is my sincere hope that this impact will take place primarily on the field, but we have already seen the impact of his arrival on the collective psyche of an entire fan base. Griffin's arrival has signaled a turning of the page from the train wreck at the quarterback position that we have all been fixated on for a very long time.

In Washington, DC, there is little that trumps the situation surrounding our starting quarterback. In RG3, we have a player with immense talent and upside, as well as a man who seems very comfortable in his skin. This all matters.

Bryce Harper and Braden Holtby have proven they can play at the pro level. They have already been tested and have succeeded to varying results, but none of that experience can compete with every fan's imagination when it comes to RG3.

Keely: I agree that the biggest symbolic impact has to go to RG3. The fans have been waiting for the franchise to draft talent instead of trying to lure it in free agency. RG3 isn't just a good QB prospect; he's the anti-Deion Sanders, the anti-Albert Haynesworth, and the anti-Donovan McNabb.

That said, Bryce Harper is going to give RG3 a run for his money here. The Nationals have never been more relevant than they are now, thanks in large part to Harper, a.k.a. the second coming of Charlie Hustle. Harper has attracted national attention to a new baseball team without the benefit of a rich history or massive fan base. Are more people excited about RG3? Yes, because there are more Skins fans than Nats fans. But, more people will become Nationals fans because of Bryce Harper than will become Redskins fans because of RG3.

Harper will also impact the game’s culture because he's such a throwback. RG3 is so unique, it will be difficult for others to follow him. Bryce has all the snarling swagger, in-your-face attitude, out-of-the-park talent to shake up baseball for years to come. Which leads me to...

What could RG3 learn from Bryce Harper and Braden Holtby about handling the DC-sports spotlight? And what could they learn from him?

Ken: First of all, Bryce Harper has to be the most exciting .232 player ever. And let's not sell Holtby short--he was electric between the pipes. But, RG3 is aided by the magic of the NFL. It brings its own base level of hysteria that a player like Griffin multiplies.

RG3 needs to feed off of Harper's untethered effort and Holtby's uncharacteristic resolve. Reckless abandon will get him killed, but if Griffin keeps plays alive with his mobility, then cashes in with huge throws, the spotlight is going to shine incredibly brightly. If anything, Bryce and Braden will be taking notes from RG3.

Will Braden Holtby be eligible for rookie of the year next season?

Keely: Spoken like a man who wasn’t watching Harper’s first major league homer out to center field. And I agree, Holtby was at times a one-man show while sharing the ice with stars like Ovechkin, Thomas, and even Lundqvist, though I fear that the team’s uncertainty at head coach and lack of direction could bog Holtby down.

I'm not clear on the ROY eligibility rules for the NHL, but the other candidates better hope he doesn't qualify. Update: To be eligible for the Calder Memorial Trophy, candidates cannot have played more than 25 major-league games in any single preceding season or more than six major-league games in any two preceding seasons. Holtby, like Wayne Gretzky before him, is not eligible. Bummer.

Ken: But I was watching! I was being serious—he IS the most exciting .232 player ever!

To be continued... The Youth Movement, Part II will be coming to a post near you later this week. In the meantime, feel free to offer your two cents in the comments (she says like you needed an invitation).