'Those limitations can't be hidden anymore'

Breaking Burgundy goes one-on-one with Sports Illustrated's Andy Benoit, the NFL analyst who ranked Robert Griffin III among the worst starting quarterbacks in the NFL. Forget about RGIII's league-wide status. Benoit's take on Griffin's specific struggles and the Redskins' depth chart is the real conversation.

Sports Illustrated NFL analyst and MMQB.com contributor Andy Benoit sparked a local and league-wide conversation by ranking Robert Griffin III nearly at the bottom among starting quarterbacks. Breaking Burgundy's Ben Standig spoke at length with Benoit about Griffin's specific issues, the QB depth chart and more about the 2015 Redskins. Part 1 is all about the passers.

Breaking Burgundy - Thanks as always for your time. We've talked many times over the years starting when we both worked in different spots and we've been working on getting this interview done for some time. Then you went ahead and ranked Robert Griffin III 31st among NFL starting quarterbacks, which in turn led to lots of chatter in this town (and me circling back with you). Are you aware of the local reaction? If so, were you surprised by it?

Andy Benoit - Honestly, I don't follow the feedback super closely. I think it has a tendency to distort the picture and you become reactionary to things that way. I did hear rumblings on the feedback. I thought Joe Theismann made a good point when he said a list like mine can't have great credibility if you include rookies on there who have never played. I understand that and kind of agree with him. But we're projecting each team's starting quarterback heading into the season.

I think Griffin is going to be the starter in D.C. If I were the one making the decision - I went over my Redskins notes extensively last night - I'd put Colt McCoy number one, Kirk Cousins two and Griffin three in that pecking order.

BB: Let's stay with your QB depth chart. Why do you have that order and what specifically about RGIII has him at the bottom?

AB: It's a matter of who has the least amount of weaknesses at that point. McCoy is not an NFL starting caliber QB either. With Cousins, you have the turnovers and I think he needs so much functional space to throw. He needs so many circumstances around him to be stable and steady I don't think you can rely on him to run the offense week in and week out.

With Griffin, it's even worse than that because he doesn't have any sense right now of basic quarterbacking fundamentals. That's from an intellectual standpoint as far as reading the defenses go, understanding his route concepts and at times understanding pass protection. It's certainly from a physical standpoint because his footwork doesn't sync up to a lot of the passes the play call is designed for. He doesn't move well within the pocket. He doesn't read sets. He's a running QB more than a throwing QB as we all know, but he doesn't run very well any more. He's got leaps and bounds to go just to being an average NFL quarterback.

BB: I know you're strictly an NFL analyst without devoting much focus on the college game. That said, I'm curious if you had a take on Griffin entering the league in 2012?

AB: I didn't know anything about him coming into the NFL. That's how much of an NFL guy I am. But I've seen every NFL snap he's taken or almost every one of them. As a rookie, I saw the foundation for why he was picked so high in the draft and why they traded up for him. He looked good on the move. He threw an incredible deep ball. He's one of the best deep ball passers in the NFL. The talent is there. He can put the ball on a rope as well. The physical talent is there.

When he was in (Mike) Shanahan's system, they were protecting him with zone, play-action runs, moving him in the pocket. They were doing the read-option, which teams hadn't done with such regularity before. He was a totally different player. He's regressed since then. He's had some injuries and I don't think he's the same type of runner he was before and defenses have responded. Now that he's being asked to - and I think he has to - play more of a traditional quarterback at times, I think we're seeing the limitations that the Shanahan's did such a great job of hiding. Those limitations can't be hidden anymore.

*UPDATE - To clarify, Benoit's comments are based on previous play from all three quarterbacks. He has yet to see the Redskins live in advance of the 2015 season. More on this in Part 2.

Part 2: Week 1 starter, Kirk Cousins, offensive "superstar" in the making

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