Robert Griffin III: System quarterback

In this Sept. 16, 2012, file photo, Washington Redskins quarterbacks Robert Griffin III (10) and Kirk Cousins (12) warm up before the start of an NFL football game against the St. Louis Rams in St. Louis. (Tom Gannam | AP, File)

The words "system quarterback" are often used as a derogatory, dismissive term, so maybe I'll get some hate mail for this from Baylor fans.

Why can't we call Robert Griffin III a system quarterback?

If a Texas Tech signal caller puts up 5,000 yards of offense, he's instantly branded a system quarterback and deemed unworthy of a high NFL draft pick.

Yet for all the hype surrounding Griffin the last few years, his numbers are merely comparable to those who also play in his system.

RG3's numbers were remarkable two years ago when he gave Baylor its first Heisman. He threw for 4,293 yards, ran for 699 and accounted for 47 touchdowns for coach Art Briles.

Take a look at his successor with the Bears and you start to wonder how special those numbers were.

Nick Florence has thrown for 4,121 yards and run for 531, accounting for 39 touchdowns with a bowl game still left to play this year. Florence's 387.7 yards per game of total offense is the best in the nation (he even leads Heisman winner Johnny Manziel, who's second at 383.3).

It's not farfetched to predict that the new Baylor QB will put up more yardage on the season than the venerable RG3. Florence needs 340 yards against UCLA in the Holiday Bowl to surpass the 2011 Heisman winner.

Funny how I didn't hear any Florence for Heisman chatter this year.

People have raved about Griffin's first year as a professional quarterback, becoming a sensation in the nation's capital for the Redskins. He's averaging 280.8 yards of offense in 13 games. Not bad.

But again, I look at another quarterback in that system and see the same, if not better numbers.

Kirk Cousins, a rookie out of Michigan State, got his first career start in place of the injured Griffin on Sunday. He put up 351 yards of offense to lead the Redskins to a 17-point win.

This season, Griffin has passed for fewer yards per game than fellow rookies Brandon Weeden and Andrew Luck, with Ryan Tannehill not far behind.

Sure Griffin looks great when scrambling, using his hurdler's frame to run past defenders like they're high schoolers, but if you look at the numbers, it's hard to see what makes this guy stand out.

Instead, give me Luck, another Texas guy, who has a 2-14 team from last year at 9-5.

He's not a system quarterback; he's a franchise quarterback.


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