Category Archives: Robert Griffin III

Remembering When All Was Right With RGIII

Here with a guest post for accurately predicting Redskins-Seahawks is Mr. Irrelevant reader jake. It’s good.

griffining

In this time of depression and hopelessness with the Washington Football Team I thought I’d use my guest post to go back to a time when, for one night at least, everything was perfect.

At midnight on 9 September 2012 I was sitting in the Green Bean coffee cafe at Manas Air Base in Kyrgyzstan on my way home from what had been an unenjoyable seven-month deployment to Afghanistan. With access to wireless internet for the first time in months I’d been camped out in the Green Bean soaking up the goings on in the world and was planning on refreshing ESPN.com to keep up with the Washington season-opener against the Saints and, more importantly, Robert Griffin III’s NFL debut.

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Redskins-Colts Predictions

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Cheers to JP for predicting the Redskins would lose a close one in San Francisco. Now he gets to guest post!

Here are our crackerjack staff’s scientific predictions for this week’s game. Make yours down in the comments. Whoever comes closest becomes a published author on this here weblog.

Matt Terl: Colts, 28-27

COLT VS. COLTS!!!!!!!

Chris Mottram: Colts, 28-24

Benching RGIII is the right “football move,” giving them the best chance to win, but it won’t matter.

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Fancy Stats Show That RGIII May Be Good Again

Here’s a guest post from Eric Fingerhut, published with love for the Washington Post, Neil Greenberg and statistical analysis.

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“Stats show that Redskins’ Robert Griffin III will never be as good as his rookie season,” screamed the headline on the Washington Post’s Fancy Stats blog Monday afternoon. The third sentence of the blog post was less emphatic but still pretty definitive: “We likely have seen the best RGIII will ever be.”

There are a number of reasons I could think of why RGIII may end up never flashing the form we saw in 2012: lingering effects of his knee injury, a failure to adjust to being a pocket passer, defenses simply figuring him out. But stats that show that RGIII will never be the same, even two, three or five years from now? I’d be interested in seeing those. But the author of the post, Neil Greenberg, actually shows no such thing.

Using a statistic called “adjusted yards per attempt” — basically dividing a QB’s passing yards by his attempts while also taking into account touchdowns and interceptions — he first shows that, other than Griffin, just three rookie quarterbacks since 1970 have achieved an AYPA of 20 percent above league average. Only one of those quarterbacks had a season as good as that again, which would give Griffin a 33-percent chance of returning to form, slightly better than never. (That one QB who did get back to that level? Dan Marino, who did it five more times.) Of course, as anyone who knows anything about statistics should know, drawing inferences from a sample size of three is pretty unreliable.

So Greenberg then links to a list of all QBs who ever had a season 20 percent above the league’s AYPA average. Conveniently, there are exactly 100 on the list, 47 of which had at least one more such season during their career (including such illustrious names as Chris Chandler, Elvis Grbac, Erik Kramer and Wade Wilson). Meanwhile, somewhat confusingly, the post also contains a graph which states that 49 percent of QBs who hit the 20 percent over AYPA average never repeat that achievement.

In other words, a post with a headline stating that RGIII will “never” be as good as 2012, and whose text claims that we’ve “likely” seen the best of RGIII, actually shows that RGIII has about a 50-percent chance of being as good as he was in his rookie season. Sure, 50 percent isn’t a guarantee, but it’s a very long way from never. And if someone tells me that something is “likely,” I usually think there’s a much better chance than 50 percent of it happening.

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RGIII Is Still Here, You Guys

Griffining Pose

It’s easy to forget, after the devastating knee injury and nightmarish sophomore season, just how valuable Robert Griffin III remains and how brilliant he can be. Here with a reminder, from his annual trade value column, is Grantland’s Bill Barnwell:

15. Robert Griffin III, QB, Washington

This is the player with the biggest gap between his ceiling and floor, right? The floor is Griffin suffering another knee injury that would make his issues (both in terms of physical fitness and ability to avoid hits) critical and evaporate his value. The ceiling? I mean, you can make a case that Griffin was the best quarterback in the league on a per-play basis as a rookie. He was fifth in completion percentage, first in yards per attempt and interception percentage, fifth in QBR … and that was with Josh Morgan and Logan Paulsen as two of his starting pass-catchers. He replaces those two in 2014 with DeSean Jackson and Jordan Reed. The wild card: new offensive coordinator Sean McVay, infuriatingly just 28 years old. Anything is possible from here.

I added a little emphasis on that bit about his rookie season, because I think people forget, if they even knew to begin with. In a league featuring Manning and Brady and Brees and Rodgers, rookie RGIII may have been the best of the bunch. As an added bonus, the Redskins won the division!

That seems like ancient history. It was a year and a half ago.

RGIII’s Stats Aren’t Bad, At Least

If you were to ask someone, “Hey, how much worse is RGIII than Russell Wilson and Luck and Kaepernick this season?,” I bet he or she would say something like, “Shoot, those guys left him in the dust a long time ago.” But, if you take team records out of it, here’s what their 2013 seasons look like:

Wilson is clearly out in front, but RGIII, Luck and Kaep are more or less the same — in that middle-third of quarterbacks with 80-plus ratings and the stats to go with it. Advanced stats may suggest differently, and I haven’t watched enough Indy or SF games to suggest otherwise, but it seems to me those three are in roughly the same boat, looking up at Wilson.

Of course, the biggest difference is that RGIII is on a very bad 3-10 team, while the other three helm teams with a combined record of 28-10. Seattle and San Francisco are also distinguished from Washington in that they have very good defenses. Indianapolis, for its part, does not feature the worst special teams unit ever.

All of which is to say, maybe it’s not as bad as we think it is for RGIII right now. He basically put up a sophomore season in line with his heralded peers, one in which he started every game and made it through injury-free. After last year’s trauma, that’s no small feat.

Also, just for fun, let’s compare RGIII’s 2013 to three other recent QB seasons, each of which is relevant in some way:

The Cam comparison is often made and is a hopeful one, given how he and the Panthers have rebounded in 2013. The Campbell one is just me stirring up old stuff, dispiriting though it may be. And, ah yes, Donovan McNabb. At least Griffin’s got him beat.

The 13 Best Tweets About Mike Shanahan Benching RGIII

Shanny benched RGIII earlier today, turning Twitter into a Redskins comedy factory. Our favorite tweets, in no particular order …

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RG3 Benched, Kirk Cousins To Start Against Atlanta

What began as a rumor looks to now be official: Skins coach Mike Shanahan will shut down RGIII for the remainder of the season and let Kirk Cousins play. The news is everywhere now, and the latest shows that Rex Grossman will be the backup Sunday in Atlanta, putting Griffin on the inactive list.


At 3-10 and with Griffin taking a beating over the last five games, the move makes football sense. But considering the mess that has become the Redskins organization since last Sunday morning, who knows the true motivation in benching RGIII.

Like always with this ongoing trainwreck, stay tuned for more; both Shanahan and RGIII are scheduled to talk later today.