While the Panthers struggled to a 6-10 record last season, much of that blame could be laid at the feet of the defense because the offense was electrified by rookie quarterback Cam Newton. Now the 2011 Heisman trophy winner Robert Griffin III wants to replicate what the 2010 winner in Newton did at the NFL level.
Griffin is tasked with turning around the moribund Washington franchise. The quarterback out of Baylor is a different player than Newton. He's smaller in stature, but perhaps more highly regarded as a passer coming out of college. What Griffin lacks in size compared to Newton, he makes up in game-breaking speed and athleticism.
Here is AccuScore's forecast of how Griffin, as well as fellow rookie Andrew Luck, will fare this season in comparison to Newton's 2011 campaign:
AccuScore expects Griffin to be more of a passer than Newton in the pros based on Newton's rookie numbers and Griffin's 2012 projection. Griffin is predicted to throw 43 more passes, but with similar yardage, touchdown and interception numbers. The significant difference comes in rushing where Newton was exceptional. Newton scored 14 times on the ground with 706 yards. Griffin is projected to be solid, but with "just" 416 yards and four touchdowns.
Although Griffin's numbers don't look quite as good as Newton's rookie season, that is no slight to the Baylor product. Griffin does compare favorably to the only person drafted ahead of him, Indianapolis' Andrew Luck. He projects for more passing and rushing yards compared to Luck, but slightly less accurate and with two fewer touchdowns through the air.
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Ultimately, the best way to measure Griffin is his massive impact on the Redskins overall. His talent has the potential to change a franchise. While the Dallas Cowboys, Philadelphia Eagles and New York Giants are projected to be significantly better than the Redskins for the 2012 season, that is not guaranteed to be the case going forward.
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Washington's forecast: fourth in the NFC East this season with a slim chance at the postseason. Griffin, however, should make them competitive in most games, improving the Redskins by nearly two full games in 2012. Griffin may not put up a rookie season quite as good as Newton did a year ago, but it should be plenty solid and portend good things for the future.
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