Greatness is not given.
Greatness is taken.
Taken in the summer.
When no one is looking.
Well on Sunday, everybody was looking as Robert Griffin III stole the spotlight from the NFL’s first regular season Sunday.
In his pro debut, Griffin hit 19 of 26 passes for 320 yards and two touchdowns as the Redskins defeated the Saints 40-32 in the biggest upset of the day. He also rushed for 42 yards.
The Redskins put up 40 points for the first time since 2005, a testament to Griffin’s outstanding debut.
Perhaps Griffin’s most impressive stat of all was the only zero he put up: zero interceptions. Of the five rookie quarterbacks to start opening day, an NFL record, Griffin was the only one to not throw an interception. In total, the other four rookie QB’s threw 11 interceptions with his counterpart, Andrew Luck, accounting for three of those.
But what really left Redskins fans and coaches drooling was what Griffin showed on the field that couldn’t be measured by a stat box.
His composure looked more like that of a seven-year veteran than a rookie as Drew Brees and the Saints mounted a furious rally in the second half.
Griffin’s arm strength looked the part as well, hitting all sorts of throws, from short slants to longer crossing routes and even to deep throws.
RGIII also showed his blazing speed while making plays with his feet.
In some ways, Griffin is a richer-man’s Michael Vick. He’s more durable and more accurate. Griffin also has a stronger arm than Vick.
Yes, it was only one game and it’s only week one but those qualities don’t just disappear.
The Heisman winner, Griffin, might be this years “Cam Newton,” the 2010 Heisman winner.
Griffin, following in Newton’s footsteps, might be ushering a new era of the quarterback. For the most part, the NFL has been a pocket-passer’s haven. The likes of Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Drew Brees, have sat in the pocket for years and picked apart defenses.
But last year, Newton’s breakthrough performance further backed the fact that a dual-threat quarterback can thrive in this league. For years, Michael Vick’s athletic abilities seemed like an anomaly, but look less so now.
This year, Griffin and Seattle rookie QB Russell Wilson join the likes of Vick and Newton, as quarterbacks who can throw and run.
Behind the track record of success of these quarterbacks and the fact that more colleges are grooming their quarterbacks to run the spread offense, the age of the dual-threat quarterback seems to be taking charge.
From a fan’s perspective, bring it on.