Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, July 9, 21 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.
Griffin No. 31?
There has been plenty of talk about an SI.com article in which Robert Griffin III was ranked at No. 31 on the list of starting NFL QB’s. And that, of course was one of the reasons the article was written, to generate talk. There has to be a conversation starter in there and saying that Griffin is better than only Matt Cassel of the Bills certainly accomplishes that.
Although I respect Andy Benoit, who did the rankings in the post, I just can’t buy the notion that Marcus Mariota and Jameis Winston, who haven’t taken an NFL snap, will have better seasons than Griffin will. I think that if you told 32 NFL coaches that they had their choice of starting Griffin or starting Geno Smith or Josh McCown I think the vast majority would take Griffin. I’m not sure that Blake Bortles will have a better 2015 season than Griffin will. For that matter, I’m not sure that Sam Bradford, who has piled up much more time on the injured list than Griffin, should be above him in the rankings. Heck, let’s put him in front of Jay Culter, who Benoit says is fine except for “mistakes and leadership” problems. Oh. I tend to think those are pretty big issues for a quarterback.
So where should Griffin rank? Let’s give Griffin all of the benefit of the doubt against all of the quarterbacks above. That means putting eight quarterbacks occupying in slots 25-32 in some order. So that means that Griffin is the 24th-best quarterback in the league.
My deep analysis of that is that 24th out of 32 is still not very good. It’s just outside of the bottom fourth in the league. It’s third in the division and 14th in the NFC. The Redskins will play 16 games and they will have the better quarterback on the field in four of them.
It should be said that it’s possible that Griffin will improve this season. July predictions about his regular season performance have been wrong all three years that he has been in the league. Nobody thought he would be as good as he was in 2012 and few thought he would regress to where he is now prior to the 2013 and 2014 seasons. So maybe he will substantially exceed expectations.
But if he plays down expectations the Redskins are not necessarily doomed to a repeat of 2014. Scot McCloughan invested a lot of money and several draft picks, including their second rounder, on the defensive side of the ball. He took the top pick and upgraded the offensive line with Brandon Scherff. That should help the running game, which wasn’t a whole lot more effective than the passing attack last year (19th in yardage, 15th in average per attempt). Even if Griffin does struggle the Redskins could still be respectable.
That’s respectable as in seven wins or so, not as in playoff contenders. The will have to get better play out of the quarterback position, whether it’s Griffin or someone else, if they are going to improve to the point that fans want them to. But for 2015 they will have to do what they can to help out the 24th-best quarterback in the league and take it from there.
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—It’s been 193 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be 66 days until they play the Dolphins at FedEx Field.
—Days until: Redskins training camp starts 21; Preseason opener @ Browns 35; final cuts 58
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