When your opponent says, “I’m pretty mad at the football gods for putting him in the NFC East. To face that guy twice a year is going to be a headache,” and you’re the guy he is talking about, it must feel pretty good. These were Justin Tuck’s thoughts on Robert Griffin III after the Giants beat the Redskins 27-23 on Sunday. Tuck clearly has a great deal of respect for the rookie, whom he said he would choose over Michael Vick and Cam Newton “hands down” if he were in charge of Washington’s offense.
Justin Tuck was not the only Giant to be impressed by RGIII’s performance. When asked about Griffin’s speed, Tom Coughlin responded, “He looks like the fastest guy on tape and he’s certainly the fastest guy on the field. When he pulls the ball down, when you break down contain and he goes outside, you are just praying someone is going to run him out of bounds.” Even Eli Manning had to give the first year QB props, saying, “Obviously, [RGIII] made some outstanding plays – running the ball and throwing it.”
In his pro-career, which is only seven games old, Robert Griffin III has proven that he is both an exceptional athlete and a stand-up guy. In a series of live interviews on ESPN on Tuesday, Griffin was humble and quick to give credit to his teammates. When asked by Kevin Negandhi to demonstrate an offensive play call, he politely declined. He did not want to betray his team or coaches. He also didn’t give any Giants players up when pressed about trash talking that may go on when he is tackled or sacked. RGIII knows how to play the game on and off the field.
He’s likeable and good, which is great for the NFL, DC area sports and fans of the game, but it’s not so good for the other teams in the NFC East. On Sunday, the Giants narrowly escaped with a win. They got the better of RGIII this time, but he is only going to get better. The Redskins will also likely improve as a team, assuming they aren’t going to Cleveland Cavalier this and their plan is to build a team for and around Griffin.
Tuck was right about the headache. It hurts to think about how good RGIII and the Redskins could become. If the Giants want to win they should probably do it now.
On the other hand, if the Redskins become a more formidable opponent, then the Giants will be forced to take them seriously. Games against Washington will no longer be dreaded games that they should win. Instead, those games will be ones that New York has to win. Considering the situation from this point of view, RGIII’s presence could be good for the Giants, if he forces them to always be on their toes.