What to Expect From Robert Griffin III

By Lance Rinker

The Washington Redskins are just over one week away from their season opener at the New Orleans Saints and everyone is wondering what they can expect from Robert Griffin III. While RG3 and how he will do in his first career regular season game is definitely worth paying attention to, it might be unfair to gauge RG3’s professional ability based on a game this challenging — in an environment this loud — out of the gates. But the second overall draft pick can immediately set a tone for the season with a strong showing.

If this preseason is any indication though, RG3 appears to be as ready as he’ll ever be to begin his career and if there’s one thing that will help him more than anything it’s his ability to move around in and out of the pocket. Griffin has played in three pre-season games so far and that’s all he will be playing in, as Head Coach Mike Shanahan has decided that Griffin will not play at all in the fourth and final pre-season game. The idea is to help Griffin prepare (mentally) as much as possible for the Saints and also avoid any kind of injury, no matter how small, so he can get his career started on a healthy note.

Here are Griffin’s final numbers from this pre-season compared to the other four rookie quarterbacks starting in week one:

Player Team Comp Att Pct Yds Avg TD Int Lng Sck QBR
Russell Wilson   SEA 35 52   67.3    464   8.9    5   1    40 3   119.4
Robert Griffin III   WAS 20 31  64.5  193 6.2  2 0  20 3  103.3
Andrew Luck  IND 40 64  62.5  514 8.0  3 2    63T 3 90.2
Ryan Tannehill  MIA 41 78  52.6  414 5.3  1 1  25 4 66.9
Brandon Weeden  CLE 24 49  49.0  297 6.1  0  1  34 4 59.7


That 103.3 passer rating Griffin put up during his three games is actually fifth best in the league and puts him ahead of guys like Joe Flacco (101.6), the Manning brothers (Peyton is at 81.7 and Eli is at 77.2), and even number one overall pick Andrew Luck (90.2). Among rookie quarterbacks getting the nod in week one, Griffin is second in passer rating and completion percentage – trailing only (the surprising) Russell Wilson.

Taking all of that into account you can tell that Griffin is one of the premiere rookie quarterbacks in the NFL right now. I know that preseason performances don’t always equate to regular season success, but it’s always a good thing if you can get off to a solid start in the preseason to help boost your confidence going into the regular season.

While it would have been nice to have seen Griffin air it out a bit more and try out some of the more complex passing plays it just wasn’t in the cards for him; the Shanahan fellas wanted to keep things as straight forward as possible during the pre-season and have said they will open up the playbook once the regular season begins.

With that being said, Griffin made some really smart plays and showed that he’s a pocket first quarterback. He didn’t look overmatched at any particular time on the field and he’s already proven he’s capable of making the smart play, but his touch on the long pass attempts could still use a little work – which I know will come with experience.

Because I was curious, I decided to look up rookie season records to keep an eye on throughout the season:

**Note: The NFL did not adopt a 14-game schedule until 1961. The NFL did not adopt a 16-game schedule until 1978. 

Highest Rookie Passer Rating (min. 150 att.): 76.5, Jason Campbell, 2007.

  • Redskins: 76.5, Jason Campbell, 2007.
  • NFL: 98.1, Ben Roethlisberger (PIT) 2004.

Most Passes Completed by Rookie: 172, Norm Snead, 1961.

  • Redskins: 172, Norm Snead, 1961.
  • NFL: 354, Sam Bradford (STL) 2010.

Highest Completion Pct. by Rookie: 53.1, Jason Campbell, 2007.

  • Redskins: 53.1, Jason Campbell, 2007.
  • NFL: 66.44, Ben Roethlisberger (PIT) 2004.

Most Yards Gained by Rookie:2,337, Norm Snead, 1961.

  • Redskins: 2,337, Norm Snead, 1961.
  • NFL: 4,051, Cam Newton (CAR) 2011.

Highest Average Gain by Rookie: 7.32, Eddie LeBaron, 1952.

  • Redskins: 7.22, Al Dorow, 1954.
  • NFL: 9.411, Greg Cook (CIN) 1969.

Most Touchdown Passes by Rookie: 14, Eddie LeBaron, 1952.

  • Redskins:14, Eddie LeBaron, 1952.
  • NFL: 26, Peyton Manning, (IND) 1998.

Lowest Pct. Of Passes Intercepted by Rookie: 3.5, Patrick Ramsey, 2002.

  • Redskins:3.5, Patrick Ramsey, 2002.
  • NFL: 1.98, Charlie Batch (DET) 1998.

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