Robert Griffin III of the Washington Redskins looks to pass against the Minnesota Vikings at FedExField on October 14, 2012. (Photo by Larry French/Getty Images)
First, there were concerns that Andrew Luck might be the better pro quarterback. Then Robert Griffin III struggled in minicamp. But once the season started, doubts were replaced by hope which soon turned to awe.
RGIII is legit and there are no signs of that changing anytime soon. His numbers -- 2,497 passing yards, 67 percent completion, 16 touchdowns, four interceptions, 104.6 passer ratings, 642 rushing yards and six rushing touchdowns -- now have people talking MVP. Not team MVP or rookie of the year, but the NFL's most valuable player.
Isn't that a tad much at this stage of the proceedings? Maybe. Then again, maybe not. The Redskins are 5-6. MVPs don't come from teams with losing records. But that's part of the plan -- Washington is playing with more confidence now than they have at any other point this season; any chance they have to make the playoffs necessitates winning at least four more times.
Not surprisingly, Griffin is appreciative of the recognition.
“To be mentioned with the words MVP next to you is definitely an honor,” Griffin said Wednesday via CSNWashington. “But it’s not something that you strive for.”
And it's not something that's in the forefront of RGIII's mind, either. Right now, he's focused on one thing: Monday-night's matchup with the division-leading Giants.
“You don’t play for awards, or at least I know I don’t play for awards,” Griffin said. “I play for the guys in that locker room.”
And while MVP might be a bit ambitious, RGIII should be the front runner for rookie of the year. Grantland.com's Bill Barnwell compares Griffin's numbers to Luck's; it's not even close.
"To an extent that I don't think people realize, Robert Griffin's numbers as a quarterback — of any vintage — are ridiculous," Barnwell wrote Wednesday. "Compared to Luck statistically, Griffin looks like an entirely different player."
For comparison, here are Luck's numbers: 57 percent completion rate (to RGIII's 67 percent), 7.1 yards per attempt (RGIII: 8.2), TD-to-INT ratio: 1:1 (RGIII: 4:1).
Taking the wider view, Barnwell writes: "Griffin's performance is basically unprecedented for a rookie quarterback. …(Via pro-football-reference.com) Griffin has the second-best era-adjusted completion percentage for a rookie quarterback with 200 attempts or more, narrowly trailing Ben Roethlisberger. He's fourth in yards per attempt, with only Roethlisberger, Marc Bulger, and Mark Rypien ahead of him (and the latter two were playing after a year or more of sitting on the bench)."
Whatever accolades await Griffin, the job at hand remains: winning football games. And if there's anybody fit to take the Redskins from 3-6 to the playoffs it's Griffin. Just ask his teammates.
“I’ve never been part of anything like this,” tight end Chris Cooley told the Washington Post's Jason Reid. “You just don’t see rookies come in and do what he’s doing, and I’m not even talking about the stuff on the field, which is incredible.
“I don’t think you could find one guy in here who doesn’t believe in him and believe in what he says. The way he came in here and was able to relate to guys who have been here for years, and to be so comfortable doing it, and to make guys feel like they should [follow him] . . . I’m just totally blown away.”
However, for all of Griffin's superhuman powers, he couldn't will President Obama to play him in a game of basketball. If that's the worst thing you can say about RGIII the then Redskins will be fine.