The doldrums of the NFL calendar require creative efforts from writers and analysts that cover the league. Without practice or games, few stories emerge in the summer weeks before NFL teams report to training camp, and to fill the time many outlets turn to rankings. None are more popular than quarterback rankings, and those lists have been largely unkind to Redskins QB Robert Griffin III this summer.
Much noise was made a few weeks back when MMQB writer Andy Benoit ranked RG3 as the second worst quarterback in the NFL. 31 out of 32, just about bottom of the barrel. Benoit gave his reasons - largely that injury has robbed Griffin of much of his athleticism required to play his style of football - but a new list came out Tuesday from ESPN. The good news: RG3 got moved up in the rankings.
The bad news: Griffin still ranks in the bottom tier, behind two rookies yet to play a snap in the NFL, and significantly behind every other NFC East passer.
Mike Sando, author of the ESPN QB ranks, gives each player a more fair and thorough ranking than the Benoit piece, which was just the MMQB author's opinion. Sando's ranks poll 35 NFL insiders - including coaches, scouts and talent evaluators - to place quarterbacks into tiers. Guys like Aaron Rodgers and Andrew Luck land in the Top Tier, then players like Matt Ryan, Tony Romo, Eli Manning and Russell Wilson place in Tier 2. Six quarterbacks made Tier 1, and another eight made Tier 2.
Tier 3 saw the most QBs, with 10 total landing there, but Griffin was not among them. RG3, the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2012, fell to the fourth and final tier. Criteria for Tier 4 was listed as: "typically reserved for unproven starters or those who might not be expected to last in the lineup all season."
In the rankings, Griffin took the No. 28 spot. And Sando provided anonymous quotes from voters to explain, none of which are pretty:
- "He is done. The reason why is, the injury slowed his legs, and his ego will not allow him to hit rock bottom and actually grind his way back up the right way."
- "To get better in this league, you have to have a degree of humility. Griffin sees himself like Peyton, in that light. When he looks in the mirror, he is seeing things that everybody else is not seeing. That is why I was surprised when they gave him the fifth-year [option] and said it was an easy decision."
One of the voters, however, sounded a different tone. Griffin's star was so bright that 2012 season it seems some NFL personnel execs - like many fans - think RG3 can eventually get back to that level.
"With Griffin, I'm taking into account the new offense, the new personality at head coach, coming off an injury. He showed his rookie year that he could be a 1. He is a young guy. I'm going to give him the benefit because of that."
Behind Griffin came Josh McCown at No. 29, Brian Hoyer at 30, Matt Cassel at 31 and Geno Smith at 32. Baltimore's Joe Flacco ranked No. 10, and new Eagles QB Sam Bradford came in tied at No. 23, the last QB spot in the third tier.