Spotlight on Robert Griffin III: 'Not the same guy as last year'

Robert Griffin III - Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

We spotlight Washington quarterback Robert Griffin III as we look ahead to Sunday's Giants-Redskins game.

We touched on the Robert Griffin III saga with the Washington Redskins a bit earlier this week. Now, let's take a deeper look at what is going on with RGIII, who electrified the nation's capital and much of the NFL as a rookie last season before suffering a devastating knee injury.

[Related: Everybody has an opinion about RGIII]

We know Griffin suffered a knee injury last season that required offseason surgery. We know he probably should have sat out at the beginning of the season to get closer to full health. We know everybody, including Antrel Rolle of the Giants, has an opinion about RGIII:

"Is he as elusive as he was the year before? No, he's not," Rolle said. "But at the same time, he still has a cannon for an arm. He still can make each and every throw.

"A lot of teams have been getting after him a whole lot better this year for whatever reason. I don't know if it's he can't escape the way he used to escape or his line isn't holding up.

"I just know he has been getting hit. He's been getting sacked a whole lot more than we're used to seeing."

I turned to an old friend, Rick Snider of PressboxDC.com, who has been covering the Redskins for three decades, for thoughts on Griffin.

"He's not the game guy as last year," Snider said. "One, he's not completely healthy. Two, they're not playing him the same way because he's not healthy."

Griffin's numbers back that up.

Passing

2012 Passing -- 258-of-393 (65.6 percent), 3,200 yards, 20 TDs, 5 INTs, passer rating 102,4, QBR 71.41
2013 Passing -- 238-of-398 (58.8 percent), 2,832 yards, 14 TDs, 11 INTs, passer rating 81.8, QBR 41.58

Rushing

2012 Rushing -- 120 carries, 815 yards (6.8 yards per carry), 8.0 rushes per game
2013 Rushing -- 70 carries, 372 yards (5.3 yards per carry), 6.8 rushes per game

Griffin is passing more, running less and doing neither as well as he did in his stellar rookie campaign.

A year ago Giants' players were clearly awed by Griffin's speed and athleticism. Now, not so much.

From Ralph Vacchiano of the Daily News:

This year there is no awe. They say RG3 remains "dangerous" but they say it as if they feel they have to, as a qualifier for the truth. And the truth is that as they prepare to face him on Sunday night, the Giants see all the hits, the injuries and the misery of his season have all very clearly taken a toll.

"But it's not like we're going to go out there and say, ‘Oh, we've got to go out there and stop Alfred Morris and not worry about RG3,' "said Justin Tuck. "He's still very dangerous and he's still going to demand all of our attention."

In a recent column for PressboxDC Snider wrote that "The crossroad has come early" for Griffin.

Snider said he's curious how RGIII handles the adversity of this season, saying "He's had a joyride most of his life."

Asked this week about some players saying he shouldn't be playing, Griffin said "I don't agree."

"I think you have to fight through adversity. This is the time where you can see a man's true character," he said.

Griffin's character, his knee and how many hits he can absorb without completely losing the gifts that made him special will have much to do with the shape of the NFC East during the next several years. The Giants get their first look at the current version of RGIII on Sunday.

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