Sunday, January 6, 2013

Is RGIII the Next Michael Vick?

Photo Courtesy of USA Today

Even though the Redskins are now out of the playoffs thanks to the Seattle Seahawks, Robert Griffin III still had one of the most captivating rookie seasons in NFL history. "RGIII" started his journey when he was drafted second overall by the Washington Redskins and immediately named the starting quarterback by head coach Mike Shanahan. Griffin burst on to the scene making big plays in the passing and running game; baffling opposing defenses. Some reporters went as far as to question whether or not the Colts made the right decision to draft Andrew Luck first overall instead of Griffin. Though the Skins struggled as a whole and dropped to 3-6 on the year, they came together behind RGIII and went on a seven game winning streak which led to a division championship. Unfortunately, the magic did not continue as the Redskins fell to the Seattle Seahawks by a score of 24-14 in Sunday night's Wild Card game in Washington. The loss was a big disappointment, but it also continued to raise more concerns about Robert Griffin's ability to stay healthy in the NFL.

Big play making ability, both on the air and through the ground, but a big injury risk. Remind you of anybody? Michael Vick certainly comes to mind for me. Though I doubt RGIII will end up serving any time in prison during his career, I can certainly see Griffin's similarities to Vick on the field itself. First off, they both tend to cough up the ball a lot. Many people may not have noticed it, but RGIII lost the ball plenty of times while trying to scramble for yards, but he only ended up losing 2 of his 9 fumbles. However, the number of fumbles lost will almost certainly go up next season if he coughs it up 9 times again. Fortunately, RGIII doesn't make nearly as many poor decisions as Vick, so the interception numbers will remain low.

However, the biggest similarity between these two quarterbacks is the injury concern. Both players have the ability to be exceptional play makers when on the field and healthy, but you never know what big games they may end up missing. In his rookie season, RGIII suffered a concussion which cost him the end of one game and a nasty leg injury which sidelined him for a full game against the Browns. If we take Vick's career as any indication, Griffin may only become more fragile as his career progresses as a result of their style of play. Luckily, the Redskins currently have a solid backup in fellow rookie Kirk Cousins. Teams in need of a quarterback will certainly be knocking on the Redskins' door about Cousins, but they really shouldn't entertain any offers. Having a solid backup to RGIII for when he's hurt may be the key ingredient to their future success.

I'm not saying RGIII won't be the Redskins franchise quarterback or that they should trade him, but he certainly carries a large amount of risk because of the style of play that makes him so explosive. He can still be one of the NFL's best quarterbacks, but only when he can be on the field. In my opinion, the Colts certainly made the right decision in taking Luck with that first pick.

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