When the Redskins gave up a bushel of high draft picks to take Robert Griffin III, there was no question that he had potential. During his career at Baylor, he completed 67 percent of his passes, averaging 8.7 yards per attempt (including an absurd 10.7 yards per attempt his last season there). In 2011 he threw 37 touchdown passes to just six interceptions.
But it was fair to say that the Big 12 defenses that Griffin faced during the season were not the toughest in the land. And Art Briles’ Baylor offense was much simpler than an NFL scheme; Griffin usually worked out of the shotgun, they frequently ran plays with no huddle, and, according to wide receiver Kendall Wright, they didn’t even have a playbook.
So even though expectations for the eventual success of Griffin were sky high, there was an expectation that there would be a learning curve. His performance in training camp seemed to bear that out as he showed flashes of brilliance while making some rookie mistakes.
However, Griffin was more than ready when the games started to count. In the season opener in New Orleans he had arguably the best debut of any rookie quarterback ever as he passed for 320 yards and posted a 139.9 passer rating.
You know about the signature moments like his 88-yard touchdown pass to Pierre Garçon in the opener that produced the iconic “Griffining” pose, the 76-yard touchdown run against the Vikings, the scrambling fourth-down conversion against the Giants, and throwing four touchdown passes in back to back games four days apart to get the Redskins rolling on a seven-game winning streak to finish the season. And we’re well familiar with the 102.4 passer rating for the season, the best ever posted by a rookie.
His play on the field won him accolades and a permanent spot in the highlight reels in ESPN and NFL Network. Griffin’s leadership won him respect in the locker room and a midseason elevation to team captain.
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