Wednesday, February 8, 2012
Could RG3 break Cam Newton's record?
By ESPN.com staff
Cam Newton made a splash in the NFL this season, breaking Peyton Manning's rookie passing yards record and making the Pro Bowl.
He won the Heisman in 2010, but a similar player followed in his footsteps in 2011: Baylor's Robert Griffin III.
Griffin was a different, less-apt runner than Newton, but was clearly a better passer.
Could he be a better passer immediately in the NFL ?
ESPN Insider KC Joyner says so.
If that sounds like a powerful statement, consider some of the evidence that led to that conclusion.
In his 2010 Heisman Trophy-winning campaign with the Auburn Tigers, Newton averaged 9.3 yards per attempt (YPA) in games against opponents from BCS conferences. He also tallied a 12.9 vertical YPA (vertical defined as passes thrown 11 or more yards downfield) and a 15.5 stretch vertical YPA (aerials thrown 20 or more yards).
All of those are superb totals, but contrast them with the 2011 totals posted by Griffin in games against opponents from BCS conferences: 10.7 overall YPA (tops in the FBS), 16.0 vertical YPA and 23.0 stretch vertical YPA. Each of Griffin's marks is appreciably better than Newton's. While Griffin may not have the shiftiness Newton possesses, he is a terrific scrambler in his own right with elite speed that defenses must respect.
One of the likely reasons for the statistical edge is that the Baylor Bears' offense had more pro-style tendencies than the run-heavy spread offense Newton played in at Auburn. That allowed Griffin to attack defenses in a wider variety of ways than Newton was able to and should help reduce his pro transition time.
You'll need ESPN Insider to see more of Joyner's reason for the assertion, as well as the teams that could set up RG3 best to break the record.
Check it out.