In the spirit of Wednesday’s presidential debate, let’s take a look at a couple of young quarterbacks with promising futures.
On one hand we have the incumbent, second year starter, Cam Newton, of the Carolina Panthers. On the other side of the argument is rookie sensation, Robert Griffin III, of the Washington Redskins.
Both are young African-American players that were highly touted and publicized coming out of college. Both won the Heisman Trophy after their senior seasons, had exceptional professional debuts, and both are expected to lead their respective teams for the next decade.
Assuming for a moment that you are the general manager of an NFL franchise, and by some fortuitous stroke of luck you had the chance to land one of these two players to build your team around; who’s it going to be?
Unless you’ve had a chance to see them both play a lot, don’t answer until we’ve had a chance to go over some more facts.
Cam Newton is the bigger of the two; at 6’5’’ tall and 245 pounds, he has prototypical size for the position. Griffin is not small, but can be considered smallish for an NFL quarterback. His 6’2”, 217 pound frame does allow for phenomenal speed (4.38 40 time *), and oftentimes he is the fastest player on the field.
Newton has the advantage of having his rookie season under his belt, and it was a great rookie season by any standards; 4,051 yards and 21 TD’s passing, 716 yards and 14 scores rushing. He was awarded the Rookie of the Year Award for this effort, but his team struggled to a 6-10 record.
Griffin has only 4 games of experience, and we have only those games by which to compare them. To date, Cam and the Panthers are 1-3, while RG3 and the Redskins are 2-2.
Cam Newton has passed for 1,013 yards, while completing 63.6 percent of his throws. He has managed 4 TD’s against 5 INT’s, for a rating of 87.5. On the ground he has gained 167 yards for a 5.1 average with 3 scores. He has fumbled 4 times.
Robert Griffin III has amassed 1,070 yards through the air on 69.4 passing. He has thrown 4 touchdowns and 1 pick, with a rating of 103.2. He has rushed for 234 yards, with a 5.7 yard average and 4 touchdowns. He has fumbled 5 times.
We have the stats and the numbers and the measurements, and that leaves us with only their personalities left to examine before we make our decision.
Let’s leave the gossip and pre-draft sound bites off the table for the purpose of this exercise, and go by what we see on the field. What type of player are you looking for?
Cam is very vocal and boisterous, exuding confidence every time he makes a play with his Superman bit in the end-zone. RG3, on the other hand, is cut from a more humble cloth, quietly taking a knee and crossing himself after scoring. They both display good leadership qualities, but they are very different styles to say the least. If these guys were cars we might be talking about a Ferrari and a Maserati; both high dollar, high performance machines, that are rarely seen on the streets of suburbia; and when they are, they cause quite the stir. We can’t really make a bad choice given our two options, but we do want to make the right choice.
Only one of these men can win the starting job. And the winner is…
*NFL Combine 2012
About the Author
Written by Steve Massey
Steve Massey is the author of Grid Iron Audible, a column covering all things NFL, at Pro Sports Blogging. Like a great QB led team, he is sometimes down, but never out of the game. He is always networking, and would consider any and all efforts to procure his talents. Just ask him. He was educated at Fort Scott Community College (Kansas), and now lives in Northern Arkansas with his beautiful wife, Debbie. Follow Steve on Twitter @SteveMassey9