Cam Newton and Robert Griffin III are a developing trend that fans should grow accustomed to on NFL Sundays. The dual-threat quarterback may have been a hidden commodity once upon a time. But, with defenses becoming more acclimated to rerouting quarterbacks in the pocket with more complicated pass pressures, QBs need to adapt to a changing environment.
Standing still in the backfield is not going to work anymore. The quarterback needs to learn how to change the game on the move.
Newton and RGIII are examples of exactly why the popularity of the dual-threat QB is growing and why it is more important than ever to mold those skills athletically as well as technically.
The era of the passing quarterback is disappearing as Newton and RGIII are spearheading a revival of the dynamic QB.
Cam Newton came out of Auburn with a target on his back. A dual-threat quarterback that depends on his legs as much as Newton did under Gene Chizik automatically counted him out in scouts’ eyes against quicker, more athletic NFL defenses.
The transition from the college game to the pros is a hard one to make when a QB makes plays outside of the pocket without truly grooming his game from within. What analysts counted out was Newton’s ability to throw just as well as he utilized his athleticism on the move.
Extending plays as well as making them outside of that comfort zone makes him such a huge threat as a quarterback and his size plays a role in that as well.
Being compared to Blaine Gabbert feverishly in the 2011 NFL Draft implicated that he was of more risk than reward. Gabbert was touted as the more finished product, the more pro-style quarterback of the two. Subsequently, after the first half of their rookie seasons, Newton walked away as the NFL Rookie of the Year and Gabbert left Jacksonville fans scratching their heads.
Newton’s ability to run as well as be an executive passer trumped what scouts believed they saw in the Missouri QB during the combine. It just goes to show that being able to execute in every avenue of the game physically is always better than just taking snaps from under center and heaving downfield.
There is more to the position than that and RGIII is only building on that assessment.
Robert Griffin III exploded into the Heisman race just like Newton did back in the 2010 NCAA football season. No one boosted him into that position until he became so explosive on the ground and in the air that no one could ignore him any longer.
Griffin has out of the world speed on his side, which plays into the fact that he is able to elude defenders for so long on the field during a run. However, even with Newton’s success throughout the NFL simultaneously with Griffin’s success in the NCAA league, there were questions surrounding whether or not he could make that leap to the pros with his specific skillset.
The Washington Redskins signed him and Kirk Cousins which also provided pause as to if he would even be the starting quarterback though he had proven through an entire season that he was the better prospect of the two. The Redskins counted him in as the starter in Week 1 and walked away with a convincing victory over Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints.
Going up against such a seasoned quarterback like Brees in his rookie debut proved two things in RGIII’s favor.
- The transfer from the collegiate level to the pros was not an issue for Griffin.
- The dual-threat quarterback is beginning to publicly threaten the perception of the position, traditionally.
Cam Newton and RGIII are not by any means the first players to tackle the attention, positive and negative, that the dual-threat QB attracts. However, they are stepping to the forefront of the re-emergence of QBs with that skillset. Tim Tebow’s lack of depth in both the passing game and on the ground is what deterred a lot of people from believing in the elite nature that a QB could bring as a dual-threat.
Cam Newton and RGIII are here to fix that.