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Robert Griffin III and the NFL Rookie of the Year Watch

January 2nd, 2013 at 11:57 AM
By Josh McCain

'robert-griffin-III-washington-redskins' photo (c) 2012, NFL News Desk Admin - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/ If you follow enough Redskins' fans on Twitter you probably already have seen the amount of tweets debating the NFL Rookie of the Year mostly between Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III, with the occasional Russell Wilson sprinkling.

Before I get into any kind of debate here I'd like to say as nice as individual awards are in the end they mean very little without any team success to show for it. After all, without Googling it, who can tell me the NFL Rookie of the Year for 1996, or even 2006, or 2010? It's an award that means a lot to the player who it is awarded to and has some nice bragging rights to go along with it but much like being the number one overall draft pick it doesn't mean much the day after.

With that said I'd love for Washington Redskins Quarterback Robert Griffin III to win it but if he doesn't win the award I won't lose any sleep over it. However, no matter who wins the award there will probably be more debate over it on Twitter then there was over the Presidential election.

In spite of all the debate I think most can agree that the ROY award is a three horse race between RG3, Luck, and Wilson. Sorry Alfred Morris you'd probably get some heavy consideration if your quarterback wasn't RG3. For my comparison I'm going to go mostly on stats, I'll compare some intangibles but I'll focus mostly on things that aren't opinionated.

First up we have RG3, this season he started and played in 15 games, threw the ball 393 and completed 258 of those passes for a completion percentage of 65.6. He had 3,200 yards, averaging 8.1 yards per completion with 20 touchdowns, and only 5 interceptions for a QB rating of 102.4. Griffin also rushed 120 times for 815 yards and 7 touchdowns averaging 6.8 yards a carry.

Next up we have Luck, this season he started and played in 16 games, threw the ball 627 and completed 339 of those passes for a completion percentage of 54.1. He had 4,374 yards, averaging 7 yards per completion with 23 touchdowns, and 18 interceptions for a QB rating of 76.5. Luck also rushed 62 times for 255 yards and 5 touchdowns averaging 4.1 yards a carry.

Lastly but no least we have Richmond, Virginia's own Russell Wilson. This season Wilson started and played in 15 games, threw the ball 374 and completed 237 of those passes for a completion percentage of 63.4. He had 2,868 yards, averaging 7.7 yards per completion with 25 touchdowns, and only 10 interceptions for a QB rating of 98. Wilson also rushed 84 times for 431 yards and 3 touchdowns averaging 5.1 yards a carry.

When I look at the stats of course the first thing that jumps out at me is passing yards, Andrew Luck has nearly double of what Wilson has and a little over a 1,000 yards more then Griffin, but at the same time he threw the ball almost twice as much as the other two quarterbacks. So when you have such a wide gap in attempts you need to look at averages. When you do both RG3 and Wilson have more yards per completion (meaning more bang for their buck) and also both have better completion percentages then Luck. Then of course the next thing you'd look at is touchdowns, Wilson leads the pack with 25, Luck with 23, and RG3 with 20. If you add all their rushing touchdowns into the mix (which all could have easily been passes) this stat becomes a wash with Luck and Wilson both having collective 28 TD years and RG3 with 27. Then I look at interceptions, turnovers kill teams in the NFL and kill quarterbacks, for example if you look at Rex Grossman's career stats they don't look that bad until you get to his interception total. This is the case with Andrew Luck, this season he threw 18 picks and a lot them were just bad throws by him when compared to RG3 who threw just 5 and two of them bounced out of his own receivers' hands.

Lastly I think one has to look at and heavily consider when judging quarterbacks is their total Quarterback Raiting  It factors in all the key quarterbacking stats and comes up with an average number. This is wear RG3 and Wilson really pull away from Luck. With all of Luck's monster yardage stats he has made almost as many mistakes to go along with them. On the flip side of that both RG3 and Wilson have made very few mistakes which is why RG3 sits with a raiting of 102.4 (rookie record) and Wilson has a 98, where Lucks is 76.5. To put Luck's raiting in perspective his is lower then the following quarterbacks, Blaine Gabbert (JAK), Josh Freeman (TB), Ryan Fitzpatrick (BUF), Cam Newton (CAR), Carson Palmer (OAK), Christian Ponder (MIN), and Mike Vick (PHL), and he was only .4 points better then fellow rookie Ryan Tannehill.

I think this is definitely a close race and I think the writers voting will break it down to intangibles and when you do that I don't see how you don't give it to RG3. He keeps getting called a "running" quarterback and sure he can fly, but  the last two weeks he hasn't run that much (or any more then most quarterbacks) and he's still led his team to victory and when he's in the pocket he doesn't do foolish things with the ball, unlike Luck he rarely tries to force the ball into coverage and he his accuracy is so much better then Luck's that when he does it is only catchable to his receiver. Again, RG3 wins this debate hands down.

The last argument I keep hearing for both Wilson and Luck is how they've turned their franchises around. This one makes me laugh the most. First off the Colts were a Super Bowl favorite last year until news broke that Peyton Manning was going to miss the season. So one of three things happened for the Colts, either Curtis Painter is one of the all-time terrible quarterbacks to play in the NFL (which isn't out of the realm of possibilities), two Jim Caldwell was a terrible coach and what we all suspected was true, that Peyton was really coaching the offense (again had a great chance of being true), or the Colts simply tanked the season so they would have a chance at nabbing another franchise quarterback to replace the out going Manning. Knowing what I know about the Irsay family this one could also be very true. Luck didn't turn the Colts around, the Colts simply got another very good quarterback to run their team (which isn't too different then two years ago when they won their division).

Then you have Wilson and the Seahawks. Yes this team missed the play-offs last season but two seasons ago won their division and bounced the defending Super Bowl champs from the play-offs in the first round. Both last season and two seasons ago the Seahawks were a budding young team on the rise. Also, what could be said about Seattle is that a lot of their big wins have come because of their turn over happy defense.

Then of course we come to RG3, the Redskins haven't been to the play-offs in five season and haven't won the division since 1999, in one season he helped turn the Redskins from a hapless joke into a team that's won 7 straight games (five of those seven against division rivals) and has been doing it with his arm and legs, not to mention making wise decisions with the football. If any teams' fortunes have been drastically changed I'd say it was the Redskins.

Being a fan of the Skins might make me a little biased in this conversation but I think the stats speak for themselves but in the end it will come down to the writers who vote for this to determine the ROY. In the end though it doesn't matter too much to me because I'm worried more about what the team does then any individual award. So if RG3 doesn't win ROY but goes further in the play-offs then Luck and Wilson I'll take that easily.

Tags: Andrew Luck, Football, NFL, Robert Griffin III, Washington, Washington Redskins

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