The Dallas Cowboys will soon have a glaring wholesale jerseys hole at backup quarterback, so would free agent Robert Griffin III be a good option?
Don’t look now but the Dallas Cowboys are about to go from the best backup quarterback situation in the NFL, to the worst. With Tony Romo on the way out…eventually…the Cowboys will be left with Kellen Moore as their primary backup to Dak Prescott. That should worry us all.
Roughly one month into free agency, the free agent shelves have already been picked pretty bare. But a couple players still remain. Players that, for various reasons, have made their valuation especially difficult. Players like Robert Griffin III.
Former Pro Bowler, Heisman Trophy winner, and AP Offensive Rookie of the Year, Robert Griffin III, is quarterback without a home. The Baylor product is known well around these parts. Both for his play in Waco and his play for NFC East rival, Washington.
We all know the story of RGIII by now. After posting one of the best rookie seasons ever, he fell to injury late in the season and was never the same man since. The big-armed dual threat racked up 20 touchdowns in the air, 7 on the ground, and only 5 interceptions.
But that was 2012.
Since then, RGIII has moved on from Washington, last season playing for the Cleveland Browns. Playing only five games, Griffin threw two touchdowns and three interceptions. His 177 yards per game were the worst of his career and now the 27-year old signal caller finds himself on the market once again.
What the Dallas Cowboys Need
The Dallas Cowboys run a run-first timing-based offense. It features complementary routes by capable receivers. If the first read isn’t seeing a favorable matchup, then the passer needs to move on to the second read, and so on…
The Dallas Cowboys offense requires its passer to understand coverage and anticipate the defenses post-snap reaction. The ball is usually thrown before the receiver even makes his break. It’s a tough offense for receivers and passers alike.
What Robert Griffin III Offers
RGIII fits the Dallas Cowboys play-action big-play profile to a T. He sells the play-action as good as anyone and he has a rocket launcher for an arm to deliver the deep ball. The downside is he has very limited experience going through his progressions. And as Jean-Jacques Taylor pointed out at this time last season, he has even less experience operating in a timing-based offense like the Cowboys.
At Baylor and Washington, RGIII found success making just one read. If his target wasn’t open, he’d run. He can read coverage. He can deliver the ball accurately. But he’s very rarely been asked to anticipate a receiver’s cut.
Dak Prescott is successful because he understands the timing. Dak delivers the ball to a location before the receiver makes his cut and often before he’s even open. Fundamentally, this is an extremely different task than what RGIII’s been asked to do in his career.
Being a true duel-threat quarterback, RGIII would clearly have traits that would transition well for the Cowboys should Dak fall to injury. But as Griffin has showed us throughout his career, his slender 6’2” 218lbs build isn’t made to withstand the punishment of the NFL. And if RGIII can’t be a runner, he’s no longer an attractive option at quarterback because his passing game needs so much work.
The Dallas Cowboys need to find a backup quarterback to fill the shoes of Tony Romo. The depth chart looks bleak after Dak Prescott, and Kellen Moore isn’t the answer at No. 2. But with all of that said, Robert Griffin III is not the answer either. He would be required to essentially learn a completely new way of playing the quarterback position and that’s bad for both RGIII and the Dallas Cowboys.