This morning we'll be talking about the debate that is soon to follow in the NFL... Who is the Rookie of the Year. Often in most sports by this late in the season, it is all but a foregone conclusion who will win the award, but this year, several players have a legitimate claim to the award.
Now if you watch ESPN at all you might disagree with me that this is an open race, because those folks up in bristol slobber on about RGIII every chance they get. That said, RGIII is very talented, and has the benefit of being a "running" QB. Running QB's always seem to get just a little more attention because they are prone to very flashy and "sexy" plays. RGII can turn a broken play into a TD like there is nothing to it. And RGIII has the Redskins on the cusp of the playoffs, needing only a win on sunday over the cowboys to lock up a Wild Card spot. BUT Griffin III missed a game and a half due to injury (I will give some credit to Cousins, because he lead the 'Skins to 2 wins in that time period) and in a close race that may come back to cost him. I would like to revisit the Cousins point briefly as well. If you want to judge the value of a player, look at how his team performs without him. For those of you who are Colts fans, you don't have to think far back to remember how hard it was to watch Painter at the helm of the blue and white. The Colts only major change was putting Painter in for Manning and the Colts went from a legitimate title contender to the first pick in the draft. Now this is not meant to take anything away from Kirt Cousins, but the Redskins did not miss a beat when he took over at QB. Most people thought going into the season that the Redskins were a playoff contender once they added RGIII because the pieces to contend were already there. So in my eyes, that hurts the case for Griffin III, because he had more talent around him than the next two guys I'm going to talk about.
Andrew Luck was the top pick in the previous draft, and going into the season it looked like the Colts might be getting another top pick this year to get him some help. The Colts... got rid of damn near everyone from their title contending days and picked through the scraps to put together a team for a year or two while they rebuilt. The problem is... that never happened... the rebuilding that is. This Colts team has done something very special. They rallied around the cause of their head coach who had been diagnosed with cancer. They rallied, and became a football team that never quits... just like their coach. They were #ChuckStrong. And who has been one of the leaders of the renaissance has been QB Andrew Luck. Luck has lead the Colts to 7 game winning drives in the 4th quarter or overtime. Andrew Luck has already broken the record for passing yards by a Rookie QB. He has won more football games as a number 1 draft pick than any QB selected there... ever. He is one of only a handful of #1 picks to make the playoffs in their first season. And he is the leader of that team. When an NFL QB throws a pick, rarely do you see him get anywhere near the person who intercepted him. Luck is the exception, he tries his hardest to be the one to make the tackle... He has that kind of heart. And Luck battles, he has been hit in the pocket far more than any of the other rookie QBs (40 sacks) but he gets back up and goes back to work every play. Now Luck does have his flaws... mainly interceptions. Luck has a tendancy to miss high on his receivers and opposing teams have been happy to take advantage... all 18 times (compared toe 21 TD's). Another drawback for Luck is that the Colts done win pretty. Most of the Colts wins have been come from behind, put it all together in the last few minutes wins. The comebacks are often hard to watch, and there are times it has been tempting to turn off the TV late, because a comeback just seems out of reach and the team is not playing well. That is not entirely a reflection on Luck, but as stated above... he's not removed from it with all those picks.
The other guy in my mind who is contention for offensive rookie of the year is Russel Wilson. I will say this from the get go... he's a long shot... a dark horse. But Wilson was drafted to be a back up. Told he was too small to make it in the NFL. Tell that to the 49ers. Wilson has the Seahawks in the playoffs and fighting for a division title. Wilson has thrown for 25 TD and only 10 INT. He has the benefit of having a very good running back in Lynch lining up behind him. But Wilson has taken an average Seattle team from a year ago and made them into a contender. And the Seahawks haven't been exactly scraping out wins. They have won their last to games by a combined 87-13 and one of them was against the niners who are playoff bound.
I'm not going to say who I'd vote for seeing the season isn't over yet (but I'm sure you can tell which direction I'm leaning). But have a great rest of your holiday season, and I'll see you in 2013
T.O. signing out