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Is Luck really playing better than RG3?

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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.  

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Browns WR Josh Gordon decides he needs to enter rehab

Browns WR Josh Gordon decides he needs to enter rehab

An explosive talent with a long-record of off-field issues, Browns receiver Josh Gordon announced Thursday that he will head for rehab.

Gordon missed the entire 2015 season due to a violation of the NFL's substance abuse policy, but when he has played, he has produced. In 14 starts during the 2013 season Gordon caught 87 balls for more than 1,600 yards and nine touchdowns. 

MORE REDSKINS: JACKSON SHOULD BE READY FOR BROWNS

A teammate of Robert Griffin III's at Baylor, some in Cleveland hoped that reuniting the QB and WR would bring back their college fireworks. That plan faded first when Griffin got injured Week 1, and while Gordon is still suspended, some hope remained that the two could connect later in the season. For now, it seems that plan will not work. 

Without the decision to enter a rehab facility, Gordon would have missed the Redskins game this Sunday due to suspension.

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Gruden presser wrapup: Redskins' Jackson should be ready for Browns

Gruden presser wrapup: Redskins' Jackson should be ready for Browns

Here are the highlights of Jay Gruden’s Thursday news conference:

—Don’t look for John Sullivan to start at center on Sunday. “I think the first go around will be as a backup—which is very important as we found out last week.” Between this and the word around Redskins Park that Trent Williams is going to play left tackle it looks like Arie Kouandjio will make his first NFL start at left guard against the Browns.

—Gruden said on Monday that Bashaud Breeland (ankle) and Shawn Lauvao (ankle) are “week to week” with their injuries. When asked if he could assign a number to how much time each is expected to miss, Gruden said he couldn’t. “It just depends on how quickly they recover.”

—Gruden has been impressed with Trent Murphy ever since he came to the team as a second-round pick in 2014. Now others are becoming impressed with him as he leads the team in sacks with 3. The coach cited Murphy’s work ethic in the weight room and on the field as reasons for his emergence.  

—Jamison Crowder is tied for the team lead with 16 receptions and he has caught two touchdown passes. Gruden said that he hasn’t necessarily improved from last year. “He’s just getting more opportunities—ball in his hand. He’s playing a lot more.”  

—DeSean Jackson (knee/ankle) was limited in practice on Thursday after being out on Wednesday. “He’ll do more tomorrow,” said Gruden. “And I think he should be ready to go, I would guess.”

—It looks like Gruden is trying to motivate Matt Jones a little bit. He said that he liked Jones’ running style on the final drive. But before that, not so much. “I think in the first three quarters there are some runs he didn’t cap off like we want him to, really to be quite honest.”

—Will we see Duke Ihenacho on Sunday? “Could be,” he said. “We’re going to dress four safeties most likely and they’re all probably get an opportunity.” Ihenacho played 13 snaps against the Giants, his first action on defense this year.