Quick Links

Is Luck really playing better than RG3?

rg3-luck-split-screen.png

Is Luck really playing better than RG3?

Who’s playing better, Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III?

We’re going to be making this comparison for the next decade or so and it’s never too early to be started.

In the New York Times Fifth Down blog, Chase Stuart makes the case that despite the fact that Griffin has better conventional numbers, especially completion percentage (Griffin 70.4, Luck 53.6) and yards per attempt (Griffin 8.5, Luck 6.7), Luck may be having a better year.

Stuart’s case is built partially on the ESPN Total QBR, which is a somewhat mysterious and in some ways convoluted attempt to rank quarterbacks. It loses some credibility with me when it says that Luck, who has rushed 20 times for 115 yards (5.8 per carry) and 3 touchdowns, has had more impact running the ball than Griffin, who has 64 attempts for 468 yards (7.3 average) and six touchdowns. I don’t recall any game-changing 76-yard touchdown runs by Luck but maybe I haven’t been playing attention.

The article also says that some of Luck’s numbers are worse because he is in a different offense and throws deeper passes than does RG3. It is true that Luck has thrown significantly more deep passes than Griffin. According to Pro Football Focus, Luck has attempted 37 passes that traveled 20 yards or more in the air while Griffin has thrown just 13 such passes (note: the Colts have had their bye so Luck has played six games, Griffin 7). Obviously you are going to have a better completion percentage if you’re throwing shorter passes.

But the longer passes don’t fully account for the differences in accuracy and effectiveness. Let’s do the “what if” thing here and see what the numbers might look like if Griffin threw as many deep passes as Luck did.

Here are the actual stats of the two quarterbacks:

  

Griffin has completed five is his 13 deep passes (38.5 percent) for 176 yards (13.5 yards/attempt). Let’s say he had thrown 24 more deep passes so that he would have as many such attempts as Luck and that Griffin had completed them at the same rate and for the same average yards per attempt that he has this season.

Here is how their numbers would compare if Griffin had thrown as many deep passes as Luck:

  

So, theoretically Griffin’s completion percentage would still be considerably better than Luck’s if he threw deep as often as Luck and his edge in yards per attempt would grow by half a yard.

Of course, we don’t know for sure what might actually happen if Griffin went deep more often. But based on what he has done, there is no reason to believe that he wouldn’t still have “standard” numbers that are superior to those of Luck if he was in an offense more like the one that Luck is in.

This is not to say that Luck isn’t playing well now or that he’s not going to be at least a very, very good quarterback if not a great one. But among this year’s rookie quarterbacks, RG3 is in a class by himself.  

Quick Links

Updating Redskins' injury list after loss to Cardinals

Updating Redskins' injury list after loss to Cardinals

GLENDALE, AZ—The Redskins went into today’s game against the Cardinals somewhat banged up and they exit with a couple of additional injury concerns in the form of concussions.

Center Spencer Long left the game in the second quarter. Initially it was announced that he had been evaluated for a concussion but that he had been cleared. But after halftime the word came down that he had been retested and it was determined that he does have a concussion. Long has entered the concussion protocol.

Veteran John Sullivan, picked up earlier this season when Kory Lichtensteiger went on injured reserve, filled in a center the rest of the way. He is a capable fill-in but if Long is out he would be the only available center. The Redskins might have to sign a center if it looks like Long will be out of action against the Eagles.

In the fourth quarter safety Will Blackmon left the game. According to Redskins coach Jay Gruden he was being evaluated for a concussion and a stinger. His exact status is unknown. Gruden will give more information during a conference call with reporters on Monday.

[MORE: JOSH NORMAN ON HIS CRUCIAL FOURTH-QUARTER PENALTY]

Quick Links

Josh Norman on his crucial fourth-quarter penalty vs. Larry Fitzgerald

Josh Norman on his crucial fourth-quarter penalty vs. Larry Fitzgerald

GLENDALE, AZ—The Redskins had a couple of chances to stop what would eventually turn into the Cardinals’ game-clinching drive in the fourth quarter. The first one came when they went for it on fourth and one at their own 34. It was a gutsy call by Arizona coach Bruce Arians and David Johnson make him look smart by popping off a 14-yard run.

The Cards earned that one. But it looked as though they got something of a gift a few plays later when Josh Norman was flagged holding receiver Larry Fitzgerald. It was a borderline call, granting Arizona a gift third and five conversion. Two plays later Carson Palmer went in for the kill, throwing a 42-yard touchdown pass to J.J. Nelson.

On the field, Norman seemed to be none too pleased with the penalty flag. He said after the game that he thinks that Fitzgerald may have stolen a flag.

“He [Fitzgerald] was within five yards. Larry is a wily vet,” said Norman. “I'd been doing it all game, kind of . . . He breaks out and I go for the ball and the flag got thrown. We'd like to see that not happen in that situation because there was some good position, some good leverage. And a flag came out.

“It is what it is. You can't blame a call on that, blame a call on this. It's whatever, man.”

Norman is right. The Redskins blew plenty of chances to take control of the game and the blame can be spread around on both sides of the ball. But the flag will loom large as the Redskins try to shake off this loss and get ready for the Eagles next week.

[MORE: ANGRY JAY GRUDEN SAYS REDSKINS 'NOT EVEN CLOSE' TO THINKING ABOUT PLAYOFFS]