Improbably, Redskins rookie first-rounder Robert Griffin III continues to play like a grizzled veteran, unaffected by the white-hot klieg lights of franchise-quarterback expectations. The latest example came Sunday in New York against the Giants in RG3's first ever NFC East game.
Washington lost on an Eli Manning-to-Victor Cruz 77-yard touchdown late in the game, but Griffin again proved that he was worth everything the 'Skins gave up to get him in the April draft. He finished 20-of-28 with 258 yards passing, 2 TDs and 1 INT, that included a big fourth-quarter fourth-down conversion that a few plays later led to a 30-yard touchdown pass to Santana Moss. Then there were the 89 rushing yards on nine carries.
Griffin has been so good so early that he has politicians extolling his awesomeness. That could be empty PR posturing during an election season. But you know RG3's legit when opponents can't say enough good things about him.
Giants defensive end Osi Umenyiora, who referred to Griffin as "Bob" earlier this season has now taken to calling him "sir."
"That guy is flat-out unbelievable," Umenyiora said (via the Washington Post's Mark Maske) after the Giants 27-23 win. "That's the best QB we've played this year."
That's high praise when you look at New York's first six opponents: Dallas, Tampa Bay, Carolina, Philadelphia, Cleveland and San Francisco. Tony Romo, Cam Newton and Michael Vick are all, based on hefty contracts or draft status (or both), "franchise QBs." That said, if we're starting a team, we're taking RG3 over all of them.
Giants defensive end Justin Tuck said Griffin "...takes away from your enthusiasm for the game a little bit (as a defensive player)." And teammate Chris Canty added: “He's faster in person than he is on tape. He's very, very fast. He's a very talented young man. He's going to have a lot of success in this league.”
Finally, Giants coach Tom Coughlin offered this: "(He) looks like the fastest guy on tape and he's certainly the fastest guy on the field. When he pulls the ball down, when you break down contain and he goes outside, you are just praying someone is going to run him out of bounds."
When the coach for the defending Super Bowl champs is reduced to praying you know you might be onto something. Whether it happens this year for a young Redskins team is another issue, but the first time in a long time Washington's quarterback situation appears to be settled.
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