This year, Redskins rookies represented comparatively well around the league. Heading into Week 17, QB Robert Griffin III, RB Alfred Morris, and QB Kirk Cousins had accounted for 10-of-16 Rookie of the Week Awards.
However, that was before Morris ran over Dallas to the tune of 200 yards and three touchdowns in the season finale, earning the team’s 11th Rookie of the Week Award. After a quick recalculation, the Redskins batted .688 (11-for-17) in Rookie of the Week awards this season.
In fact, following Week 10 it was simply a question of which Redskins rookie will win this week?
Nonetheless, here are the five NFL Rookie of the Year finalists and the number of times they won Rookie of the Week this season: QB Robert Griffin III (7), QB Andrew Luck (3), RB Alfred Morris (3), QB Russell Wilson (1) and RB Doug Martin (1).
Now, let’s skip the pleasantries and before we go crowning Griffin III or Morris as Rookie of the Year get down to the nitty-gritty and explain why a Redskins player should win this year’s award.
Pedigree: Both Griffin III and Luck competed last year for the Heisman Trophy (finished first and second in voting respectively), were taken first/second overall in the 2012 NFL Draft, and both are back on the same stage pushing each other for NFL Rookie of the Year. The pedigree is there.
Doug Martin had a phenomenal career at Boise State University and Tampa Bay drafted him in the 1st Round Pick (31st Overall).
There was no denying Russell Wilson’s talent and scouts knew that. The knock on Wilson was his size, but that didn’t stop him from falling past the third round; Seattle selected Wilson in the 3rd Round (75th overall).
Alfred Morris was a 6th-round gem. What Morris did this year is unprecedented for any rookie running back, not just a 6th round pick.
Pieces in Place: Luck was targeting a future Hall of Fame receiver in WR Reggie Wayne and the Colts were only one year removed from a 10-6 season, an AFC South Division Title, and a playoff berth. He was surrounded by talent.
Before Wilson arrived in Seattle, the Seahawks had a Top 10 defense in place (9th overall in 2011) and a Top 10 running game with RB Marshawn Lynch (7th overall in 2011); not to mention that the team was fresh off of the free agent signing of QB Matt Flynn so expectations for Wilson to contribute immediately were low.
Griffin III was thrust into the spotlight of the Nation’s capital from Day 1. And sorry Redskins fans, but the sad truth is that until this year the team had not experienced more than an 8-win season since 2007 (9-7). To add to that, Griffin III’s supposed No. 1 receiver WR Pierre Garçon was in and out of the lineup all year battling a toe injury. Credit the Redskins receivers for stepping up and getting the job done, but Griffin III for the most part was without a go-to receiver.
Edge: Robert Griffin III
Overall Body of Work: Despite the weekly honors, the Rookie of the Year award is ultimately decided on the overall body of work and each of the nominees produced impressive rookie campaigns. Here are the stats:
Robert Griffin III: 258-of-393 (65.6 percent) for 3,200 yards, 20 TDs and 5 INTs (102.4); 120 attempts for 815 yards and 7 TDs (27 total TDs). Records: Most rushing yards by a rookie quarterback in NFL history (815), First player in NFL history with at least four 60+ yard touchdown passes and a 60+ yard rushing touchdown in a season, 158.3 passer rating vs. Philadelphia (11/18/12) became the highest mark (min.15 attempts) by a rookie quarterback, Highest passer rating ever by a rookie QB (102.4).
Andrew Luck: 339-of-627 (54.1 percent) for 4,374 yards, 23 TDs and 18 INTs (76.5 rating); 62 attempts for 255 yards, 5 TDs (28 total TDs). Records: First rookie in NFL history with 4,000+ passing yards and ten victories, Most passing yards by a rookie quarterback in NFL history (4,374), Most 300-yard passing games a rookie (6).
Russell Wilson: 252-of-393 (64.1 percent) for 3,118, 26 TDs and 10 INTs (100.0 rating); 94 attempts for 489 yards, 4 TDs (30 total TDs). Records: 26 touchdown passing touchdowns tied the NFL single season record by a rookie set in 1998 by Peyton Manning, First rookie QB in the Super Bowl era to lead his team to an undefeated home record (8-0).
Alfred Morris: 335 attempts for 1,613 (4.8 avg.) and 13 TDs. Records: His 1,613 rushing yards are the third-most all-time by a rookie (E. Dickerson, 1,808 and G. Rogers, 1,674, Finished the 2012 season second in the league in rushing (A. Peterson, 2,097) and second in rushing touchdowns with 13 (A. Foster, 15)
Doug Martin: 319 attempts for 1,454 (4.6 avg.) and 11 TDs. Records: First NFL player with at least three rushing TDs of over 45 yards in a game, his 251-yard rushing performance was good for 10th best in NFL history
Again, none of these rookies’ seasons should be diminished by any means because all of them turned in seasons that compare to the all-time greats at their respective positions. But based on the week-by-week fan vote and the consistency in their overall body of work, let’s narrow it down to Griffin III, Morris, and Luck to trump the other two candidates.
Yes, Luck had more passing yards then Griffin III, but he had almost double the attempts. And let’s not forget that in recent years the NFL has morphed into a passing league so those numbers can be skewed.
Moving on. Griffin III had a better TD/INT ratio than Luck, a better overall passer rating, a higher completion percentage, and added a duel-threat running option to his arsenal. The Redskins running game, particularly Morris, complimented Griffin III nicely, so it can be said that the rookie quarterback produced more when he was asked to do less.
Morris on the other hand not only exceeded expectations but played his way into the conversation of all-time great seasons by a running back. Entering the season, one of the biggest questions facing the Redskins was the team’s “make-shift” offensive line, thus making Morris’s contribution all that more impressive. He set multiple franchise records on his way to one of the best rookie seasons in NFL history.
Edge: QB Robert Griffin III and RB Alfred Morris
Bottom line, these two rookies were the driving force behind a Redskins team that completed their first “worst-to-first” one-season turnaround in team history. So Redskins Nation, YOU decide who your NFL Rookie of the Year is. Is it QB Robert Griffin III or RB Alfred Morris?
Voting closes on Tuesday, January 29 at 9:00 PM EST and the award will be announced to a national audience on February 2, 9-11 p.m. EST on CBS.
Tags: Alfred Morris, NFL, NFL Rookie of the Year, RGIII, Robert Griffin III, rookie of the year, washington redskins
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