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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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Jay Gruden presser recap: Enough is on Chris Thompson's plate already

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Jay Gruden presser recap: Enough is on Chris Thompson's plate already

Here is a recap of Jay Gruden’s press conference on Wednesday:

—The injuries are covered in a separate post here. Jordan Reed was the only non-participant. Gruden said his status is “wait and see.”

—Gruden doesn’t see them playing Chris Thompson more than they do now. He noted that in addition to being the third-down back he also returns kicks and comes in on second and long plays. “It’s important for us to keep him healthy,” said Gruden. “He’s not a guy that I personally want to give him 30 carries a game.”

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—In a year, Matt Ioannidis has gone from being on the practice squad to being a key member of the defensive line. Gruden was impressed with his play against the Rams. “Against the Rams, he played very well,” he said. “He had pressured the quarterback four or five times, he hawked down Tavon Austin on a jet sweep, which was a big play on the first play of the game. If he gets out of there, it could’ve been a 70-yard touchdown.” Gruden said that work in the weight room with help from fellow DL Ziggy Hood helped in Ioannidis’ transformation.

—Gruden said that the Rams game might have been the best of Jordan Reed's career despite gaining just 48 receiving yards on six catches. “Yeah, Jordan was awesome,” he said. “I thought he had the best all-around game he’s had in a while. I think, not just route-running, but blocking. He was outstanding in blocking. Had a key block on the touchdown Chris Thompson had on the second series of the game, was physical and did a great job.”

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—The Su’a Cravens situation was dismissed rather quickly. The Redskins will not be adding another safety to the roster. “No, we have Fish [Smithson] already as our fifth guy on the practice squad and he’s doing a good job, so we’re OK at safety spot,” said Gruden. “As far as Su’a’ is concerned, we just have to put it behind us, move forward and let him take care of his personal life and let us take care of this season.”

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerCSN and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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Redskins injury report: Jordan Reed out of practice, six are limited

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Redskins injury report: Jordan Reed out of practice, six are limited

There were a lot of wounded Redskins on the practice field on Wednesday as the team started preparations for their game against the Raiders on Sunday.

One injured player was not on the field. Jordan Reed was out with a chest injury. Obviously, there is concern but Jay Gruden said that it is too early to rule him out of the game.

A half dozen players were limited: RB Rob Kelley (rib), S Montae Nicholson (shoulder), CB Josh Norman (shoulder), OT Morgan Moses (ankle), S Deshazor Everett (knee), and LB Mason Foster (shoulder).

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While none of the injuries seems particularly serious, they still could affect each player’s status for the game.

Foster suffered a separated shoulder during the game, popped it back in, and continued without missing a snap. He said that said that he was letting the athletic trainers handle it. “I’m going in, getting my treatment, doing what they tell me to do,” he said.

Kelley suffered a rib cartilage injury in the second quarter on Sunday. He said that the pain was very high that day but that it has subsided since.

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Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerCSN and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.