Originally posted on This Given Sunday  |  Last updated 6/8/12

For the second time, Robert Griffin III has gone to some length to quash the notion that he is a running quarterback. Like Michael Vick.

Griffin did not mention Vick by name yesterday, but the comparison was clear to football fans.   

“I don’t want people to think I’m just an option quarterback," said Griffin in comments reported by the NFL Network and DC area sports media. "It’s not something you can prove, I don’t think. Perception is reality so it doesn’t matter how many yards you throw for, what you do in practice or what you do in the games. If you can run a little bit you’ll always be smacked with that stereotype." Stereotype?

On another occasion, RG3 said comparisons to Vick are flattering, but he (Griffin) is a throwing quarterback who runs rather than a running quarterback who throws.

Griffin draws comparisons to Vick more frequently than to Aaron Rodgers, Jay Cutler or fellow Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton. Is it a black thing, or a running quarterback thing? Is it bad to be a black running quarterback?

Newton was rarely compared to Vick even after rushing for 1,473 and 20 touchdowns for the Auburn Tigers in 2010. He passed for 2,854 yards and 30 touchdowns that year.

Griffin passed for 4,293 yards and 37 touchdowns and he rushed for 699 yards and 10 touchdowns in his fourth year with the Baylor Bears (2011). Griffin's passing yards at Baylor nearly eclipsed Newton's total offensive performance at Auburn.

RG3 is more a passer than a runner and don't you forget it.

There is nothing wrong with a quarterback who runs, if the player understands that the threat of running creates opportunities to pass. Defenses change their tendencies to answer the threat.

Vick never grasped that point while with the Atlanta Falcons. Atlanta fans loved him for his superb athleticism that created opportunity ... to run downfield. Cold-eyed analysts scored Vick for his poor quarterback play.

In six seasons with the Falcons, Vick never passed for more than 3,000 yards, completed more than 57 percent of his attempts nor threw more than 20 TD passes in any one year. His career passer rating with Atlanta is 75.7.

Vick was the face of the running quarterback over the last decade. His on field performance in Atlanta and off field troubles in Virginia tarnished him and the term "running quarterback."

Robert Griffin III does not want to be like Mike.

Comparisons to Vick may leave Griffin III queasy. It also overlooks RG3's stellar NCAA passer performance that was better than that of Andrew Luck or Newton.

Cam Neutron scored 21 passing touchdowns, 14 rushing touchdowns and 4,757 yards total offense for the Carolina Panthers who improved to a six-win season with him in 2011. RG3— and Michael Vick— would welcome that comparison. A legion of Washington Redskins fans, sports media and fantasy football owners hope Griffin III can do as well as Newton did as a NFL rookie.

 

//

This article first appeared on This Given Sunday and was syndicated with permission.

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