Ranking Redskins passer Robert Griffin III as the NFL’s 19th best quarterback is like saying Teddy Roosevelt was the 19th best U.S. president — it’s bull (not bully!).
The same ESPN poll of past and present NFL front office personnel ranked New England’s Tom Brady as the league’s best overall passer. Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers, New Orleans’ Drew Brees, Denver’s Peyton Manning and Indianapolis’ Andrew Luck completed the top five. It’s pretty hard to knock that list.
Yet an ESPN fantasy poll rated Brady 12th overall and Griffin seventh. Fans ranked Manning, Rodgers and Brees atop the list with Detroit’s Matthew Stafford and Carolina’s Cam Newton in the top five, respectively.
The polls pit personnel experts versus fan favorites, but ranking Griffin 19th among passers is absurd — even after his poor second season that ended with him being benched after 13 games.
The NFL is sleeping on RGIII.
Disperse all NFL quarterbacks and Griffin is probably taken eighth after Manning, Rodgers, Brees, Brady, Luck, Newton and Seattle’s Russell Wilson.
But the NFL talent evaluators must not have been watching Griffin over the offseason. He has discarded his knee brace, leading to ankle-breaking moves, and improved his arm strength with his ability to plant better.
Most of all, they must not remember the Griffin of 2012, whose smile was contagious throughout the locker room.
Last year’s 3-13 season under overlord Mike Shanahan has been forgotten by players. Incoming coach Jay Gruden is the antithesis of his draconian predecessor, and Griffin is feeling good. And when Griffin is feeling good, the team is feeling good.
And suddenly, the Redskins might be right back in the NFC East race.
The swagger has returned and Griffin’s second season has taught the quarterback that the NFL isn’t all roses. Griffin spent the offseason building his mental and physical assets. He’s going to be so much tougher this fall after last year’s harsh lesson.
Griffin seems more focused on the field than he did last season, when he was recovering from knee surgery and distracted by weekly power struggles with Shanahan. He now looks like the rookie who was untouchable.
Throw in a better offensive line, new receivers DeSean Jackson and Andre Roberts and returning pass-catchers Pierre Garcon and Jordan Reed, and the Redskins should threaten to score 30 points on a weekly basis.
Not all storylines now lead back to him, Griffin recently joked. The Redskins have more balance and a couple new personalities. For Washington to reverse last season’s meltdown, it starts with Griffin. Fortunately, he’s way better than the 19th best NFL passer.
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