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Thom Loverro: Bar is set too high for Redskins' Griffin

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Sports,NFL,Redskins,Thom Loverro

Before the first preseason game last year, I jokingly wrote that the worst thing that could happen to the legend of John Beck was for him actually to take the field.

Turns out I was right.

Can the same case be made today for the Redskins' new quarterback -- Robert Griffin III?

Yes, because no quarterback -- or perhaps NFL rookie in recent memory -- has been as hyped as RGIII has been without taking one pro snap.

Before the draft, ESPN analyst and former NFL running back Merril Hoge said he rated RGIII higher than Andrew Luck, the top pick selected by the Indianapolis Colts.

"I would take Griffin in half a heartbeat," Hoge said. "People are going to be blown away by the kid."

ESPN analyst and former Philadelphia Eagles Super Bowl quarterback Ron Jaworski said, "He's going to be a superstar."

Superstar. Blown away.

He's doomed to fail -- depending on your definition of failure.

If you're looking for red flags about Griffin, look no further than the franchise that selected him. Over the last 20 years, the Redskins have been the NFC version of the Cincinnati Bengals when it comes to dysfunction.

All that was supposed to change with the arrival of general manager Bruce Allen and coach Mike Shanahan more than two years ago. Yet these are the men whose first personnel moves were to trade valuable draft picks for quarterback Donovan McNabb and tackle Jammal Brown. McNabb is gone, and Brown is Pilating his way out of a job.

Those are the decision makers who decided to trade three first-round draft choices and a second-round pick for the chance to draft RGIII -- putting the future success of the franchise on the line.

But what's success in this case? What is the level of success that RGIII has to have not to be considered a failure? Does he have to live up to the hype, and if not, why not? He's certainly profiting from it.

He's not shying away from it.

When asked this week about comparisons to other quarterbacks Shanahan has coached, it was RGIII who brought up the names John Elway and Steve Young.

"I don't ever shy away from expectations or people trying to put pressure on me to be great," he told reporters. "I'm going to try to go out and be the best I can be. So whether that's John Elway, Steve Young or Robert Griffin III, I'll make sure I do that."

Elway and Young in the same sentence with RGIII -- speaking of himself in the third person.

What could go wrong?

Examiner columnist Thom Loverro is the co-host of "The Sports Fix" from noon to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday on ESPN980 and espn980.com. Contact him at tloverro@washingtonexaminer.com.

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