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Mike Shanahan: Robert Griffin III’s level of play is unprecedented in NFL history

Robert Griffin III may be one of the most dynamic players in NFL history, but we won’t know for sure until he has played more than a season. RG3 has a rare combination of arm strength, accuracy and running ability. In fact, Washington Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan believes it is so rare that it’s unlike anything we have ever seen in the NFL.

“I don’t think anybody in the history of the league has played at his level,” Shanahan said Thursday according to Pro Football Talk. “At least over the last 40 years, when I take a look at the numbers and what he has done, I don’t think anybody has played at his level. As we’ve talked about before, he’s got a unique skill set — his ability to throw, drop back, play action, put a threat on a defense with his running ability — and he will just get better and better. He’s just scratching the surface. And the reason I say that is because he works at it.”

On Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys, Griffin has an opportunity to break NFL rookie records for highest passer rating, highest completion percentage and lowest interception percentage. The job he has done protecting the ball separates him from most rookies, but what about Cam Newton?

Last season, Newton threw for over 4,000 yards, 21 touchdowns and 17 interceptions. Griffin has thrown for 3,100 yards, 20 touchdowns and 5 interceptions. Griffin’s passer rating of 104.1 is nearly a full 20 points higher than the 84.5 Newton posted in his rookie season, which is obviously a testament to RG3 making less mistakes.

As for rushing, Newton rushed for 706 yards and scored 14 rushing touchdowns last season with an average of 5.6 yards per carry. RG3 has rushed for 752 yards and scored 6 touchdowns, with an average of 6.6 yards per carry. He has lost nine fumbles whereas Newton lost only three. Griffin missed a start, but the numbers are very, very similar.

Overall, I would be more excited about RG3 as an NFL quarterback than Newton. But I probably wouldn’t have said that had Newton not suffered through the same sophomore slump that Griffin could face next season. Is RG3 an incredible talent that Redskins fans should be excited about? Certainly, but I think Shanahan’s comments are a bit premature given that Newton had such a statistically similar season only a year ago.

Photo credit: Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE


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  • unkyjack

    He and Cam are the only “newbies” that were given the go ahead to “start”,….the others had to warm the bench.  The NFL is really disgusting.  A tax haven pit.

  • Gene

    RG3 has a lot of skills, but he has already suffered two injuries this year.  His backup, fellow rookie Kirk Cousins, in his first start, passed for 329 yards and a victory in his first NFL start.  This sounds like typical coach’s hyperbole for his player.  Let’s look at Griffin, Luck, Wilson and Tannehill in four years and pass out the accolades.