Column: Adding QB Griffin signals new era for Redskins

By Eric Saltzman

The Eagle, American U. via UWIRE

On Sept. 9, a new era in Washington Redskins football will begin: The RG III era.

If you are a Redskins fan, or just a football fan for that matter, you have a lot to look forward to. At last, the second pick in the 2012 draft will play his first real game as a starting quarterback in the National Football League.

Robert Griffin III won the Heisman Trophy a year ago and put up crazy passing and rushing numbers during his decorated collegiate career at Baylor. He has both a great arm to make all the NFL throws and great speed to make him a rare dual-threat quarterback at the NFL level.

Some could expect Griffin to replicate the numbers Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton posted last season. Like Newton, Griffin has a good arm and good mobility.

But perhaps one of the more overlooked elements in determining Griffin’s short-term success is what’s around him.

It is often said that a quarterback’s best friend is a defense and a running game. The Redskins have both.

Linebackers Brian Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan lead a defense that jumped from 31st in yards allowed in 2010 to 13th in 2011. Griffin will also benefit from the Redskins rushing attack, which should feature talented second-year back Roy Helu.

In 2009, Mark Sanchez entered a similar situation in his rookie season with the New York Jets, and Sanchez led the Jets to the AFC Championship Game.

This does not mean that RG III is going to lead the Redskins to a game from the Super Bowl, but history sometimes repeats itself.

In the end, the success or failure of Griffin will come down to Griffin himself.

Despite all of his physical tools and collegiate accolades, Griffin will now be playing at the highest level. As all football fans know, there have been plenty of highly successful collegiate athletes with tons of physical tools who have crumbled in the NFL.

Being a quarterback is a very unique position. No position in any sport is more valuable, and quarterbacks have the ability to make everyone around them much better.

Never was this more prevalent than last year, when Peyton Manning’s neck injury transformed the Colts from a playoff contender to the worst team in the league sporting a 2-14 record, their worst outing since before Indianapolis selected Manning first overall in the 1998 draft.

The amount of pressure Griffin has on him is unlike any other player: he has the responsibility of leading the revival of one of the NFL’s most iconic teams. He must do this while being scrutinized by media and fans that have been waiting to see the Redskins return to dominance for decades.

Throughout his collegiate career, Griffin has shown a remarkable amount of resiliency both on and off the field. The Redskins are putting the pieces in place; now it’s up to Griffin to put them all together and make Washington a championship team. If there is anyone who can fix the Redskins, it is Robert Griffin III.

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