It’s far enough into the season now that we can see things starting to take shape as far as who the front-running teams are for the playoffs and which players are standing out as the superstars of 2012. It’s also clear to see that many of this season’s superstars are rookies. So when it comes time to decide who the Offensive Rookie of the Year is, the Associated Press has a pretty tough decision to make. The clear front runners would have to be the #1 and #2 draft picks in Andrew Luck and RGIII. However, there is another player who has decided to throw his hat in the ring, running back Doug Martin. Even though we might think this is a no brainer, it would still behoove us to break down these 3 players and make sure we haven’t missed anything.
For the last two years the Offensive Rookie of the Year has been a number one draft pick and also a quarterback and chances are that trend won’t be coming to an end this year. However, sometimes we get a running back or wide receiver that swoops in with a breakout season and snatches that title for himself. The last running back to win was Adrian Peterson in 2007 and this year Doug Martin’s numbers are quite impressive compared to Adrian Peterson’s rookie numbers. Peterson ran for a total of 1,341 yards rushing in his rookie season. Martin is already at 862 yards just 9 games into the season which is on pace to totally eclipse Peterson’s number. Don’t get me wrong I am not trying to compare Doug Martin to Adrian Peterson. I just want to make it known that Martin is definitely putting up the numbers to be considered a serious candidate. So far this year he has broken Walter Payton’s all-time record for the most total yards in a 3 game span by a running back with 605 compared to Payton’s 593. Let’s also not forget the game he had against the Raiders when he put up 251 yards and 4 touchdowns and was averaging 10 yards a carry. Yet, the sexiest thing about Doug Martin is that he was a steal at the 31st pick of the draft. That means he barely made it into the first round and now the guy is about to take the Rookie of the Year trophy right out from under the noses of those 2 other guys. With 7 weeks left in the season it stands to reason that he can’t keep putting up these numbers week in and week out, but with Josh Freeman getting better and better that well-balanced offense has the perfect formula for Martin to flourish.
Before Doug Martin came into the picture the quest to Offensive Rookie of the Year was between Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin the third. Robert Griffin the third was the second pick of the 2012 draft and right now it seems clear that the Colts made the right decision with the first pick. RGIII does have one thing that Andrew Luck doesn’t have; quick feet. RGIII has 1,993 yards passing, which is great, but when compared to Luck’s 2,631 maybe it’s not that great. Now compare RGIII’s rushing yards at 529 to Luck’s rushing yards at 159. Clearly, we have two very different styles of quarterback play here. Most analysts say that you have the “new-school” quarterback play with RGIII as a running QB and Andrew Luck is the “old-school”, playing as a traditional pocket passer. So if you take the numbers out of it then you have a very intriguing battle. Which style will prevail?
Well, let’s look at it this way: the Colts are 6-3 and the Redskins are 3-6 and one of the key components to ranking the candidates for rookie of the year is determining how well their teams are doing and how much of an influence the player has on that team’s production. The Colts went from having a 2-14 record in 2011 to 6-3 halfway through the 2012 season and now in serious contention for a playoff spot. The Redskins had a 5-11 record last year and now, in last place in their division, they are on pace to have about the same record. Redskins have lost 3 in a row and the Colts have won 4 in a row. RGIII might be more exciting to watch, but the numbers don’t lie. Luck is only improving on a weekly basis, while RGIII’s playing has been somewhat inconsistent as of late.
At this point, I would have to say that RGIII needs to elevate his team to a level higher than what it is now if he still wants to be in the Rookie of the Year conversation. I will say that the Redskins play in a tougher conference in one of the most competitive divisions in the league, but I just don’t think that is enough of a factor at this point. Andrew Luck just looks better. He has got that something that Payton Manning and Tom Brady have where he can sit in the pocket and scan the whole field during every play and make the right throw at just the right time. RGIII has got a good arm and great accuracy for a “running” quarterback, but he’s not Andrew Luck. If I were to predict the future I would say that Andrew Luck and Doug Martin are going to be the front runners at the end of the season, with Andrew Luck taking the crown as Offensive Rookie of the Year and all 3 of them shoe-ins for the Pro Bowl.