It’s the time of the year for rankings and we’ve seen how one analyst ranks Robert Griffin III among the 32 NFL starting quarterbacks (spoiler: it couldn’t be much worse). But because Griffin has been so good and so bad during his brief NFL career, he is among the most influential players in the NFL, according to the same website that ranked him poorly among the starting QB’s.
The list is the MMQB 100, compiled by Peter King and his staff. The introduction to the list doesn’t give a firm definition of “influential” but it does say that they are emphasizing influence on the field over off-field concerns. Therefore Tom Brady is No. 1 while commissioner Rodger Goodell is No. 2. The list is a mix of players, coaches, front office types, league executives, and others around the game.
Griffin checks in at No. 28 on the list, just ahead of NFL vice president Eric Grubman and just behind Saints QB Drew Brees. In explaining the ranking, Andy Benoit (yes, the same writer that did the QB ranking, says that it wouldn’t be a stretch to consider the Redskins offense to be “loaded”. He notes the upgrade on the offensive line with Brandon Scherff, quality at running back in Alfred Morris and intriguing rookie Matt Jones, and top-shelf pass catchers in DeSean Jackson, Pierre Garçon, and, if healthy, Jordan Reed. How productive they are will likely come down to the effectiveness of the guy pulling the trigger.
“The only real question is at quarterback,” writes Beniot. “Robert Griffin III is so badly lagging in his mechanics and understanding of defenses that the question isn’t how well Griffin will fare, but rather whether or not he’ll retain his starting job at all. If Griffin doesn’t keep the job this season, his once-promising career could be headed down the Tarvaris Jackson track, making coaches and GMs rethink the proposition of drafting a run-oriented quarterback.”
First, although it’s slightly off topic, let me address the Jackson comparison. Jackson never had a season remotely resembling Griffin’s 2012 season. In fact, Jackson’s career numbers in completion percentage, interception percentage, passer rating, and average net yards per attempt are worse than Griffin’s were last year, a performance that has everyone wondering about his future. So comparing Jackson to Griffin is not very credible.
Back to the topic at hand, Griffin could be highly influential in the team’s success but it’s possible that the less influential he is the better off the team will be. It seems that the team used a lot of resources this offseason to making the team less reliant on the quarterback to win games. With considerable free agent dollars going to attempt to upgrade the defense and the efforts to improve the running game, it seems that the Redskins would like to be able to win games when the quarterback play is uneven.
No doubt, if the defense gets better, the running game improves, and Griffin reverts to something close to 2012 form, the Redskins could have a good season. That’s why he is No. 28 on the list. But no matter where you rank Griffin, I don’t think that he should rank ahead of another member of the Redskins organization who is not on the list at all.
That would be new general manager Scot McCloughan, the man responsible for the personnel moves and a draft that possibly added some solid pieces for the future. The defense clearly will have his stamp on it, with three of the four secondary starters coming in under his watch as well at two thirds on the defensive line. If the Redskins do turn it around, McCloughan will be the man most responsible.