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RGIII is Not a Running Quarterback, per Robert Griffin

Source: The Puzzling Plummet of RGIII

Griffin instructed the coaches to let him speak uninterrupted and rolled through a list of grievances, stressing that substantive changes had to occur immediately. Scrap the pass protection scheme and start over, Griffin demanded. There were 19 plays — primarily those from the 50-series and quarterback draws — that were unacceptable. Griffin, who supported his presentation with video clips of each play, expected them to be deleted from the playbook. Bottom line, Griffin said, he was a drop-back quarterback — not a running quarterback.

This event is reported to have happened after the 2012 season, which ended when Robert Griffin was knocked out of the team’s playoff game with a torn ACL, so it’s unclear if that is how Griffin still feels. If Griffin still believes he’s not a running QB then that seems like bad news for his comeback effort. I suppose we don’t really have enough data to know for sure that it’s Griffin’s running ability that makes him effective, but if you look at his rushing stats and then look at his offense’s ability to score, it’s tough to not see a connection. During Griffin’s rookie year the team was top 10 in points/drive. In the screenshot below points/drive rank is shown in the column “ppdRANK.”

CaptureTo give an idea of how far Griffin has fallen since his electric rookie year, when he rolled up 800 rushing yards in 15 games, the last time we saw Griffin on an NFL field it was during a season in which his sack yardage exceeded his rushing yards.

I would love to see Griffin make a comeback, although I think there are reasons to be pretty skeptical. First, he’s never played a full NFL season. His games played, in order, are 15, 13, 9, 0. He seems not to be able to play football without getting hurt or benched. Then if you look at the event described in the excerpt above, you could also suspect that Griffin’s own thoughts as to what will make him a good QB are at odds with what his coaches think will make him a good QB. As of this writing he’s burned bridges with coaches that made Jake Plummer and Andy Dalton serviceable NFL starters.

I own Colin Kaepernick on a dynasty team, so far be it from me to say that any QB is beyond hope. But I’m mostly interested in what happens with Griffin as it relates to the other players in Cleveland. I like Duke Johnson a lot, although he would be worth a lot more if he could play in an offense that can sustain drives and put points on the scoreboard. Johnson might get you cheap reception points, but just imagine if he contributed some touchdowns as well. The same is true of Corey Coleman. While receivers have found success even in bad situations, if you pencil in 120 targets for Coleman, you’d much rather see those come from a good QB than a bad one. My stance is basically that I would love it if RGIII comes back and is good again. If he can’t play well then it would be damaging to these other fantasy assets to keep Griffin out there, so I’d rather see the team move on to Josh McCown or Cody Kessler. You would think that the team would have similar thoughts as well. If Griffin can’t return to his 2012 productivity then the team has nothing to lose by moving on to Kessler.

For further reading see Justin Winn’s article where he calls Griffin a buy, along with Kevin Cole’s article where he says that Cody Kessler is underrated.

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