Originally written on Down and Distance  |  Last updated 10/24/14
The NFL will enjoy the ratings this Sunday when two of their most exciting young quarterbacks meet, with Cam Newton and RGIII battling it out. When people mention Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton and Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III, inevitably, the casual sports fan thinks about their similarities. Both were highly touted/high drafted college and prospects and Heisman trophy winners. Both are electrifying athletes who can break open a game with the arms or their legs. Each has huge expectations from their fans to carry their franchise back to relevancy. A dive into each quarterback’s performance this season reveals that the comparisons between the two are far more than skin deep. Taking a look at each quarterbacks’ 2012 stat lines reveals further similarities, as well as who is more likely to pass or run the ball. The Panthers have played 7 games and the Redskins have played 8 so far this year: Washington quarterback Robert Griffin III has outshined other offensive rookies this season. (AP Photo) Griffin (from ESPN stats) Snaps   293 Pass Attempts: 223 Completions: 149 (66.8%) Total Yards: 1,778 Yards Per Attempt: 7.97 Touchdowns: 8 Interceptions: 3 Fumbles: 2 Rush Attempt: 70 Total Yards: 476 Yards Per Attempt: 6.8 Touchdowns: 6 Fumbles: 6 Run/Pass Ratio: 23.9%/76.1% Quarterback Rating: 97.3 Carolina quarterback Cam Newton is experiencing a drop off from his 2011 rookie season performance. (AP Photo) Newton (from ESPN stats): Snaps   263 Pass Attempts: 212 Completions: 149 (57.1%) Total Yards: 1,701 Yards Per Attempt: 8.02 Touchdowns: 5 Interceptions: 8 Fumbles: 4 Rush Attempt: 51 Total Yards: 310 Yards Per Attempt: 6.1 Touchdowns: 3 Fumbles: 3 Run/Pass Ratio: 19.4%/80.6% Quarterback Rating: 75.2 A quick glance through the stats shows that Griffin is clearly having the better season, despite an injury riddle receiving corps that has dropped 18 passes, included nine in one game (against the Pittsburgh Steelers). Anyone who watched the Steelers game would agree that most, if not all, the drops were on the receivers; Griffin’s passes were nice tight spirals right on the money that simply were horrid plays by his receivers. Newton has not been having as much success as he did his rookie season, but the coaching staff in Carolina seems confused as how to properly employ a $48 million backfield plus his team has also dropped their share of passes (11). Newton has strugged more with turnovers, notching 15 in 7 games versus Griffin’s 11 in 8 games. Griffin caps off one of his most electrifying runs of the year with a touchdown. (AP Photo) Run/pass ratio, Newton runs about 1 in 5 snaps (consistent with his rookie season too), and Griffin runs about 1 in 4. In the passing game, Griffin has absolutely been killing it in the 10 to 20 yards down the middle of the field. Per Pro Football Focus (PFF), a site which grades every play and every player, Griffin has posted a blistering 113.4 quarterback rating with 28 completions for 590 yards. A third of all his yardage have come from completions in this area. As for Newton, most of his yardage has come from the line of scrimmage to 10-yard range (556 yards, 67.2 quarterback rating), but he has been very successful attacking the ball downfield beyond 20-yards and posting a 106.3 quarterback rating in that area. In the rushing game, Griffin has been most prone to run around the right edge, and on the edge (either side), he averages 7.0 yards a carry. He has also been successful on his three runs up the middle between the center and the left guard, averaging 9.0 yards a carry.  As for Newton, who is the only Carolina rushing threat to obtain a positive grade from PFF, also tends to run to the right edge, averaging 12.5 yards on six carries. He has also been successful running up the middle on the right side of the center, averaging 10.7 yards on three carries. So, as they face off each Sunday, which team will guide their team to victory? As bad as the Redskins have been versus the run, the Panthers have been worse, grading out on PFF as one of the worst in the league, with the Indianapolis Colts the only team sitting behind them. The Redskins offense as a whole has been better than the Panthers and with Griffin having the best rookie performance of the year, look for him to guide the Redskins to another victory and to a game within .500. (Yes, RGIII is having a much better year than Colts quarterback Andrew Luck, but that’s a discussion for another blog!) Follow us on Twitter @DownandDistance Down and Distance Columnist - Shane Richardson @Shaner021The post Cam Newton and RGIII: Two New Franchise Quarterbacks Face Off appeared first on DOWN & DISTANCE.
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