Rumors regarding Chip Kelly and his new head coaching position with the San Francisco 49ers have been running wild over the past couple of days, and reports are that a high-profile quarterback may be joining him in the very near future. When he was with the Philadelphia Eagles, analysts always speculated that Kelly would need a mobile quarterback in order to maximize his offense, and now he may be adding another to go along with Colin Kaepernick.
While Colin Kaepernick is viewed as a mobile quarterback and is already under contract with the 49ers, many people believe that he is not a viable starter in the NFL. Poor accuracy, an inability to read defenses, and a first instinct to take off and start running are a few of the negatives often said about Kaepnerick, and these are issues that Kelly may not be able to correct.
While Robert Griffin III, also known as RG III, has always been talked about as a perfect fit for Chip Kelly, he was still in the Washington Redskin’s plans when Kelly was with the Philadelphia Eagles. Now that Kelly is with the San Francisco 49ers and Griffin is set to become a free agent, the possibility of them joining forces becomes a reality. Pat Kirwan of CBS Sports discussed the possibility of RG III signing with the 49ers in a recent interview.
— Pat Kirwan (@PatKirwanCBS) January 14, 2016
In the brief interview, Kirwan states that Griffin would be a better fit than Johnny Manziel to join the team. While Manziel is younger and has not had any of the serious injuries that Griffin has suffered from, he believes that RG III has much more upside.
The very next day, ESPN also speculated on the possibility of Griffin and Kelly teaming up on the 49ers. As the article notes, rumors were swirling last week that Chip Kelly was looking to acquire Kaepernick as his quarterback, regardless of the team that he signed on to coach. Since he agreed to coach the San Francisco 49ers, everything fell into place, and he no longer has to pull off a trade for Kaepernick.
One important thing to note is that the article believes that Griffin would be Kaepernick’s backup, and not actually be brought in to start games. While the plan to just award Kaepernick the job without any competition sounds appealing, he has shown that he is not a consistent enough quarterback to be viewed as a guaranteed starter anymore.
Since 2012, Kaepernick’s yards per attempt and QBR have dropped consistently every single year. From 2012 to 2014, his interceptions also dramatically increased, and he was benched in 2015 before he could surpass those numbers. He also had four fumbles in nine games in 2015, compared to five fumbles in 16 games in 2014. The bottom line is that he is becoming more and more turnover prone and his skills as a quarterback are declining.
While Griffin’s numbers have also declined since his rookie season, he was not exactly put in a position to succeed. According to the Washington Post, many NFL experts believe that RG III was actually put in a position to fail in Washington. As the article points out, Griffin lost his job because of an injury. While most coaches claim that their players will never lose their job due to an injury, it ended up happening to Griffin.
After returning to the starting lineup, Griffin was put on a short leash, and Redskins coach Jay Gruden appeared to prefer Kirk Cousins. While this ultimately ended up paying off for Gruden and the Redskins with an NFC East divisional title, Griffin may have earned an unfair reputation as a worse player than he really is.
After a few leg injuries, Griffin may not be the runner that he once was, but he could still have enough ability to run Chip Kelly’s offense for the San Francisco 49ers. Since Kaepernick is not a sure thing, it may be in Kelly’s best interest to bring Griffin in and let them compete for the starting job.
While the rumors will continue to come out regarding Griffin’s future until he actually signs with an NFL team, do not be surprised if that team is Chip Kelly’s San Francisco 49ers.
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