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Is RGIII Having The Best Rookie Season Ever For A QB?

8:14 AM, Oct 22, 2012   |    comments
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(USA TODAY) -- The season isn't even halfway over, but Robert Griffin III is already putting together quite a case for himself as the best rookie quarterback in NFL history. After Cam Newton's record-setting year in 2011, it seems almost premature to start looking to crown another highly drafted signal caller with that title just ten months later.

Seven games in, Griffin seems to be on his way. Look at Griffin's stats compared to Newton, who would go on to break the rookie record for passing yards and the record for most rushing touchdowns by a quarterback in one season, at this point last year.

Cam Newton's first seven NFL games:
152-252 passes for 2103 yards, 60.3% completions, 8 TDs, 9 INTs

57 carries for 266 yards, 4.6 ypc, 8 rushing TDs, 0 lost fumbles


Robert Griffin III's first seven NFL games:
133-189 passes for 1601 yards, 70.4 % completions, 7 TDs, 3 INTS

64 carries for 468 yards, 7.3 ypc, 6 TDs, 1 lost fumble

While Newton was putting up bigger yardage numbers as a passer, he also had five more turnovers at this point of the year than Griffin does and fewer rushing yards. Add to that Griffin's completion rate - currently the highest in the NFL - and it's hard to argue with the hype surrounding the second overall pick in the 2012 draft.

Even more remarkably, Griffin has been doing it without much of a supporting cast. His leading target, tight end Fred Davis, just went down for the season with a torn Achilles tendon. The Redskins' starting running back is a rookie sixth-round draft pick from Florida Atlantic and the team's best receiver, Pierre Garcon, has played in only three games this season. Compare that to Newton, whose Panthers improved from two to six wins in his first season, who had an All-Pro in Steve Smith and returning 1,000 yard rusher in DeAngelo Williams at his disposal.

With five games remaining against division rivals and two tough non-conference matchups against Pittsburgh and Baltimore still on the schedule, there is plenty of time remaining for Griffin to enhance or detract from his first-year legacy. Although his legend is certainly growing. After Sunday's loss to the Giants, opposing defenders Osi Umeniyora and Justin Tuck joked about how they wished they wouldn't have to face him again this season.

"Two times a year?! That's just, that ain't right! The football gods have to do something about this," Tuck said. "Dang, when's the last time the divisions got realigned?"

Griffin currently projects to finish the season with 3,659 passing yards and 1,069 yards on the ground. If he can keep those numbers up and get the 3-4 Redskins back into the winning column, he might not just put up the best season for a rookie quarterback ever, he might just win NFL MVP.


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