One was a prodigious college quarterback some experts thought should have gone first in the NFL draft. The other was a washed-up minor league second baseman forced to transfer when his original college team decided it was time to move on.
The rights to draft one second were acquired at the cost of a fortune in draft picks: three first-rounders and a second-rounder. The other wasn’t chosen until the third round, four picks after Jacksonville selected Bryan Anger, a punter (a selection that continues to burn many Jaguar fans with Anger).
One was coronated franchise quarterback on draft day. The other had to muddle through a three-way quarterback competition before earning the starting job midway through the preseason schedule.
One has now muddled through two seasons of injuries, showing flashes of brilliance mixed with evidence he still has a lot to learn about quarterbacking in the NFL. The other just won the Super Bowl and non-ironically declared that he plans to one day be the QB of all time.
Russell Wilson and RGIII entered the NFL at roughly the same time. And while media narrative initially centered on RGIII and actual number one overall pick Andrew Luck, by the time Wilson and Griffin met in the playoffs their rookie years, Russell had forced himself into the conversation about the best rookie QB in the NFL.
ESPN declared, “The numbers suggest Griffin and Wilson are interchangeable from a production standpoint.” I personally disputed that notion then — and continue to do so now — but I think it’s at least fair to say that Russell Wilson has had more success as an NFL quarterback to this point.
Which means RGIII has a lot of catch-up to do. He has to do his best to become at least as good as Russell Wilson. But how does he plan to pull that off?
Yesterday, he gave us a hint; specifically, he unveiled his new logo on Instagram:
Griffin’s been criticized by some for promoting his own personal brand at the expense of the team and instead of concentrating on his efforts to become a better quarterback.
But — in response to that first criticism — if your team was named the Redskins, wouldn’t you want to distance yourself from that toxic brand?
And as for the second point, I’m here to argue that the logo is an integral part of RGIII’s plan to make himself a better football player.
Consider that part of what makes both quarterbacks — Wilson and Griffin — successful is their speed and mobility, their ability to run around and make plays outside the pocket. It takes a lot of pressure off their own offensive lines (to maintain protection) and puts a lot of pressure on the other teams’ cornerbacks (to stick with receivers who can run around for longer in an effort to get open).
So if they both do roughly the same thing, why has Wilson had so much more success? Is it just that he’s stayed healthy? That he’s surrounded by a better team? Or is there something else in his secret savory sauce of success? If RGIII wants to equal or surpass Wilson’s achievements, he needs to figure out what makes the Seahawks quarterback so successful. Here’s one scout’s analysis of RW3:
When he keeps it — whether it’s a read-option play-action fake, a boot, or a moving pocket — Wilson is technically very proficient throwing outside the pocket. His experience in pro baseball as a second baseman has helped him to become very accurate throwing on the run.
Catch that? Wilson’s experience playing baseball helped prepare him to succeed as a mobile quarterback in the NFL.
And in case Robert the Third didn’t get the message, Wilson spent some time last week with his new baseball team, the Texas Rangers:
RGIII clearly realized he has no choice he has no choice but to practice his own footwork around second base if he ever wants to become a successful quarterback like Russell Wilson.
And yesterday, he took the first step of moving that recognition toward reality — by creating a logo shaped almost exactly like home plate:
[Scroll back up to compare; imagine looking straight down on one of these. Ta-da.]
Given my obvious love affair with the Seahawks, I am proud to note that this is my first article about the team since Valentine’s Day.