≡ Menu

Robert Griffin III, Alfred Morris, and relying on rookies

The Redskins relied on rookies more than most

The Redskins relied on rookies more than most.

The Washington Redskins were powered by a pair of rookie stars in 2012. We all know about Robert Griffin III, but sixth round pick Alfred Morris finished second in the league in rushing. Griffin’s efficiency numbers were unmatched — he led the NFL in both yards per pass and yards per run — en route to 3200 passing yards and 815 rushing yards. Morris gained1,690 yards from scrimmage; add in Kirk Cousins‘ 466 passing yards and 22 rushing yards, and Washington rookies produced 6,193 “yards” in 2012. I put that in quotes because it’s not customary to sum players’ passing, rushing, and receiving yards, but I think that’s the right idea for the point of this post: figuring out which teams have most relied on rookies.

That 6,193 figure is the second most amount of “yards” produced by a group of rookies in NFL history. The leader in the clubhouse? The 2012 Indianapolis Colts, behind Andrew Luck, Vick Ballard, T.Y. Hilton, Dwayne Allen, Coby Fleener, LaVon Brazill and Dominique Jones. The third place spot belongs to the 2012 Cleveland Browns: Brandon Weeden, Trent Richardson, Josh Gordon, Travis Benjamin, Josh Cooper, and Brad Smelley combined for over 6000 yards.

What if we instead look at percentage of team yards (defining yards as the sum of all passing, rushing, and receiving yards)? Expansion teams would begin to dominate the list — some AFL teams in 1960, the ’68 Bengals, and the ’02 Texans, for example. But what if we look at only non-expansion teams since 1950?

In that case, the 2012 Colts come in second, behind another Colts team.

Year
Team
Rk Yds
Team Yds
Rk %
Rk 1
Rk 2
Rk 3
Rk 4
1955BAL3822509575George Shaw - 1887Alan Ameche - 1102L.G. Dupre - 491Raymond Berry - 205
2012IND74861041971.8Andrew Luck - 4629Vick Ballard - 966T.Y. Hilton - 890Dwayne Allen - 526
1968BUF3023421371.8Dan Darragh - 928Max Anderson - 665Haven Moses - 629Ben Gregory - 304
1996STL4877713768.3Tony Banks - 2756Eddie Kennison - 924Lawrence Phillips - 660Jamie Martin - 255
2012CLE6082892968.1Brandon Weeden - 3487Trent Richardson - 1317Josh Gordon - 805Travis Benjamin - 364
1962SDG4069651562.5John Hadl - 1771Dick Wood - 655Bobby Jackson - 547Jerry Robinson - 401
2012WAS61931004161.7Robert Griffin III - 4015Alfred Morris - 1690Kirk Cousins - 488--
1989DAL4402717961.3Troy Aikman - 2038Steve Walsh - 1387James Dixon - 507Daryl Johnston - 345
1967MIA3622599560.4Bob Griese - 2162Jack Clancy - 881Jack Harper - 409Larry Seiple - 140
1963DEN3898647060.2Mickey Slaughter - 1816Don Breaux - 985Billy Joe - 736Hewritt Dixon - 235
1971NWE3255544359.8Jim Plunkett - 2368Randy Vataha - 872Alfred Sykes - 15--
1970PIT3419578959.1Terry Bradshaw - 1643Ron Shanklin - 691Dave L. Smith - 464Dennis Hughes - 324
1986BUF4910838058.6Jim Kelly - 3792Ronnie Harmon - 357Ricky Moore - 288Carl Byrum - 260
2011CIN5019879257.1Andy Dalton - 3550A.J. Green - 1110Andrew Hawkins - 288Colin Cochart - 44
1957PHI2133389254.8Billy Ray Barnes - 741Clarence Peaks - 650Sonny Jurgensen - 467Tommy McDonald - 275
1950GNB2581471454.8Tobin Rote - 1389Breezy Reid - 514Larry Coutre - 489Jack Cloud - 71
1950NYG2430447854.3Eddie Price - 733Travis Tidwell - 471Bob McChesney - 380Randy Clay - 323
1953CRD2596490552.9Jim Root - 1161Gern Nagler - 610Johnny Olszewski - 596Ray Nagel - 200
1952GNB3261623352.3Babe Parilli - 1522Billy Howton - 1231Bobby Jack Floyd - 365Bill Reichardt - 139
1964RAM3219618752Bill Munson - 1683Bucky Pope - 797Les Josephson - 720Willie F. Brown - 19
1974SDG3476671951.7Don Woods - 1539Jesse Freitas - 735Harrison Davis - 425Bo Matthews - 418
1954WAS2386461451.7Al Dorow - 1114Billy Wells - 811Dale Atkeson - 251John Carson - 139
2010STL4188811451.6Sam Bradford - 3575Danario Alexander - 306Michael Hoomanawanui - 146Keith Toston - 83
1974SFO3091599551.6Tom Owen - 1363Wilbur Jackson - 895Sammy Johnson - 343Dennis Morrison - 227
1970BUF3251632551.4Dennis Shaw - 2717Lloyd Pate - 265Greg Jones - 202Glenn Alexander - 51
1998IND4487874651.3Peyton Manning - 3801Jerome Pathon - 509E.G. Green - 177--
1975CHI2733533151.3Bob Avellini - 939Walter Payton - 892Roland Harper - 644Greg Latta - 202
2007BUF3606706851Trent Edwards - 1679Marshawn Lynch - 1307Fred Jackson - 490Dwayne Wright - 111
1971NOR2852562150.7Archie Manning - 1329Bob Gresham - 586James Ford - 433Bob Newland - 319
1976NYJ2577513650.2Clark Gaines - 1124Richard Todd - 977Louie Giammona - 295Howard Satterwhite - 110
1968DEN3163632850Marlin Briscoe - 1897Billy Van Heusen - 359Mike Haffner - 252Garrett Ford - 226
1977NYG2320467149.7Joe Pisarcik - 1403Jerry Golsteyn - 412Johnny Perkins - 279Emery Moorehead - 148
2008BAL3948799249.4Joe Flacco - 3194Ray Rice - 727Jalen Parmele - 27--
1977TAM1955396249.3Jeb Blount - 548Ricky Bell - 524Anthony Davis - 388Randy Hedberg - 279

{ 4 comments… add one }

  • Shattenjager July 12, 2013, 12:24 am

    The most interesting teams on this list to me are the teams that didn’t get big yardage from a rookie QB (’68 Bills, ’57 Eagles, ’50 Giants), just because they’re rare.

    Not to add to your workload, but I would be curious how a similar list would look without QBs (I guess then it would be percentage of rushing/receiving/return yards by rookies). They rather dominate things as it is because quarterbacks get so many more “yards” than the other positions, but with them out, would the list suddenly be dominated by teams with good veteran QBs who had a draft where they happen to have gotten a couple of useful guys?

    • Chase Stuart July 12, 2013, 12:35 pm

      I can re-run the list using AV, but probably won’t post that until next weekend.

  • Tim Truemper July 12, 2013, 12:24 pm

    I second the observation by Shattenjager. The W-L records would have been interesting to have but checking them from PFR shows a lot of big losers.

    • Chase Stuart July 12, 2013, 12:36 pm

      Good thinking. I will include W-L records.

Leave a Comment