RG3 protects the ball

RG3 protects the ball
December 7, 2012, 12:30 pm
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Skins-Ravens 411 presented by AAA: RG3 vs Joe Flacco

Through 12 games, Robert Griffin III has thrown just four interceptions.

“It doesn’t happen very often where a young quarterback or a rookie comes in and has few interceptions as he had,” said Mike Shanahan.

Shanahan knows of what he speaks.

If he keeps up his current pace and throws just one more interception this year, he will have the fewest interceptions of any rookie quarterback ever with at least 250 pass attempts. If Griffin should throw two more picks he will have six on the year, the same number as Dan Marino did as a rookie in 1983. That’s the current all-time low, tied with Charlie Batch.

Griffin has already thrown more passes this season, 325, than did Marino (296) or Batch (303). So far Griffin’s interception rate is 1.2 percent. Marino’s rate as a rookie was 2.0 percent as was Batch’s.

In the NFL in 2012, RG3 is tied with Brady for the fewest interceptions among all quarterbacks. (Brady has thrown more passes so his interception percentage is a microscopic 0.9.)

So, RG3, what’s the secret?

“I just don’t force things,” he said. “Trust the system that you’re within so that you can go out and work through the system.”

Shanahan said that part of it is Griffin’s ability to recover when things start to go downhill.

“A lot of times you have those bad days,” said Shanahan. “I’ve been with some great quarterbacks who have a four or five interception day.”

Griffin hasn’t thrown more than one interception in any game. In fact, October is the only month where he threw two picks.

There are some who will say that it might be better if a quarterback has a few more interceptions, that too few means that the QB is playing it too safe. Ravens coach John Harbaugh disagrees.

“His yards per completion are up. His completion percentage is up,” he said. “It’s not like he’s sacrificing anything to keep the interceptions down.”

Ed Reed knows a thing or two about quarterbacks throwing picks—he is the active career leader in interceptions with 55.

“He’s pretty precise when he’s getting rid of the ball,” said Reed. “He’s throwing to open guys and when he does throw to guys that are covered, you can see that he’s putting the ball that accurate.”

Whatever the reason, the Redskins are hoping that Griffin keeps it up. The Redskins’ quarterbacks threw 24 interceptions last year and the improvement is one of the big reasons for the team’s success this year.