Friday, October 26, 2012
Hold On A Minute, Superman!
Okay, I might just throw up in my mouth a little bit, but I think I am going to call on Rick Reilly for backup on a point I've been making about RG3 so far this year.
It's not that he's over-rated. He's awesome. Electric. Current and future star for many years.
But this is a honeymoon. So enjoy it while it lasts.
He'll eventually float back down to "normal good/great" which should be enough to cheer about if you are a long suffering Redskins fan still fresh of the Rex McBeckman disasters of the last 2 seasons.
RG3 is terrorizing confused and scared defenses, and it's a beautiful thing to watch. Yet it is surely going to fade as teams make adjustments. It won't end abruptly, and maybe not even this year.
But my other point about RG3 being "maxed out right now statistically" is also something I will stick to. The ol' phrase "And he's only going to get better..." is often applied in sports when rookies/phenoms take leagues by storm.
However, sometimes, it's not true. Sometimes players regress. Or stagnate. I don't think Griffin will regress or stagnate, but he'll be forced to evolve. And his stats can't go much ABOVE where they are now. I mean, QB's just don't pass for 75% completions in this league, even with the rules being as ridiculously stacked in favor of QB's as they are now.
Griffin's at 70% (#1 in the league!) right NOW, 7 games into his career. How much higher can he go? Not much, in my opinion. This is not to knock him, but more of a concession to the statistical laws of the football universe.
He's running the ball at an incredible clip: on pace for 1,000 yards, which would put him on the same slim shelf as the ONE season where Michael Vick did that for Atlanta. Combine that pace with his expected 3,600 yards passing... and RG3 is on pace to produce nearly 5,000 yards of total offense.
Phenomenal for a rookie!
But that's about the MAX for a QB in terms of yards produced, and last year 4 guys did that by just throwing the football.
Anyway, here's Rick Reilly and ESPN's guru of "Total QBR" - a made up metric, that I have claimed in the past was pure Bristol Bullshit, and now look at me, I'm citing it! What a fraud I am!
/hangs head in shame
"It's like they're not watching Andrew Luck," says a man who analyzes quarterbacks for a living, Jeff Bennett, the curator of the most comprehensive QB stat ever invented, ESPN's QBR (total quarterback rating). "One is being called a savior. But the other is just as successful and no one seems to notice."
If you want a stat that considers everything a QB does, and when he does it, and what was at stake when he did it, then Bennett's QBR stat is for you. Going into Week 8, it had the Mannings at 1 and 2 (Peyton, then Eli), with Tom Brady third. Sound about right? In the QBR rankings, Luck is sixth and Griffin eighth.
But it tells you more than that. For instance, it tells you:
Luck runs more successfully than Griffin. He's had 10 scrambles for first downs. Griffin has had nine.
Luck is asked to do more than Griffin and is doing it. His average pass completion travels 8.6 yards in the air, highest in the NFL. Griffin's is 5.8, one of the lowest.
Luck is more valuable to his team than Griffin. Sixty-nine percent of the Colts' passing yards are gained while the ball is in the air, the rest after the catch. Only 49 percent of the Skins' passing yards come through the air. In other words, Griffin still has his training wheels on. Luck has his license.
What is it, Mike, all of RG3's Subway ads?
Wait! I'm clairvoyant! I know exactly what you're going to say next!
Reilly, you single-celled organism. Griffin leads the NFL in completion percentage! He's third in the league in passer rating! Luck is second to last!
Oh, you mean NFL passer rating, the most useless stat in football? The 41-year-old fossil that was invented, literally, on a slide rule? The one that doesn't even consider running or fumbles or time of game or score? Yeah, I know that stat. That stat is the whole problem.
RG3 kills in that stat because he's nibbled his way to a league-leading 70.4 percent completion rating. Given the way the Redskins have babied him, Katy Perry in heels could throw for 60 percent. More than 20 percent of RG3's passes this season haven't even traveled across the line of scrimmage. Only 6 percent of Luck's haven't. If you do a cannonball and I do a triple backflip with a McTwist and we both get straight 9s, whose dive was better?