RGIII has become Washington Redskins' QB1

Posted Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2012  comments  Print Reprints
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IRVING -- Robert Griffin III has had a smashing NFL debut. Despite that, he has made only a few converts in Copperas Cove and in Waco. While his hometown and his college town worship the ground he runs on, RG3 has a hard sell in trying to turn Dallas Cowboys fans into Washington Redskins fans.

"For the most part, they will cheer for me, but they are still going to be fans of the Cowboys," Griffin said Tuesday on a conference call. "I have had my fair share of friends and people I know say that they are not Redskins fans."

Griffin has had an easier time winning games and influencing teammates.

Griffin's teammates voted him a captain last week, one of two on offense and the first rookie that coach Mike Shanahan can remember earning the "C" on his jersey.

"It just shows you how much those guys believe in me," Griffin said.

Griffin brings his Redskins into Cowboys Stadium on Thanksgiving Day with Washington looking for its fifth victory, as many as it had all of last season. It is Griffin's first trip to Texas since the Redskins traded two first-round picks and a second-rounder to swap places with the St. Louis Rams for the right to select the Heisman Trophy winner second overall.

The former Baylor star has been everything Washington had hoped, stopping a hopeless string of has-beens and never-beens at quarterback.

Griffin is the 27th starting quarterback for the franchise since Joe Theismann broke his leg during the 1985 season.

"I think everybody looks for that franchise quarterback, the guy you can have on your team for 10, 15 years," Shanahan said in a conference call. "That's what you're hoping for, and I think that's what everybody looks for. One of the reasons we made the trade was because we felt like he was one of those guys."

Griffin has hardly played like a rookie with a 67.1 completion percentage, 2,193 passing yards, 12 touchdowns, three interceptions and a 101.0 passer rating, while adding 613 rushing yards and six rushing touchdowns. His completion percentage is better than the rookie record of 66.44 set by Ben Roethlisberger in 2004, and his passer rating is better than Roethlisberger's mark of 98.1.

"You would tend to think you might be able to take advantage of a first-year quarterback," Cowboys defensive end Marcus Spears said. "But this guy has probably had a hundred thousand reps at doing what he's doing. So for him, it's just playing football now and trying to make the right decisions."

Two defenders in the Cowboys' locker room have seen Griffin up close and personal. They know exactly what Dallas is in for Thursday.

Rookie linebacker Kyle Wilber went 1-1 against Griffin while at Wake Forest.

Griffin passed for 125 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions and ran for 29 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries in a 41-13 loss to the Demon Deacons in 2008.

A year later, as a sophomore, Griffin passed for 136 yards and a touchdown while running for 41 yards on 13 carries in a 24-21 Baylor victory.

"He's still the same guy," Wilber said. "Great athlete. Fast. He can run the ball. He can pass the ball."

Rookie defensive end Ben Bass' Texas A&M Aggies were 2-0 against Griffin in Griffin's final two seasons, beating Baylor 55-28 last year -- though Griffin passed for a school-record 430 yards and three touchdowns -- and 42-30 in 2010.

"You have to hit him ...and hit him ...and hit him," Bass said. "He's a guy that if you don't get to him, if you're not physical with him, then he'll make plays, and he'll make plays running the ball and throwing the ball. He can do it all as a quarterback.

"You've got to get to him before he gets to you."

Rookie, rookie

The Cowboys play their fourth rookie quarterback Thursday when Robert Griffin III comes to town. This is how they have fared against rookie quarterbacks this season:

Date

Opponent

QB

Comp

Att

Yds

TD

INT

Rating

Result

Sept. 16

Seattle

Russell Wilson

15

20

151

1

0

130.8

L, 27-7

*Nov. 11

Phil.

Nick Foles

22

32

219

1

1

104.4

W, 38-23

Nov. 18

Cleveland

Brandon Weeden

20

35

210

2

0

143.8

W, 23-20 (OT)

*Foles did not start the game. He replaced Michael Vick, who left with a concussion.

Charean Williams

817-390-7760

Twitter: @NFLCharean

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