Former Atlanta Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez was reported to have stated that Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan was an excellent quarterback, but not an elite quarterback. But my question is does it really matter? Maybe it matters when it comes to putting up a lot points, or throwing for a lot of passing yards, but is it important to winning championships?
The ultimate goal of any team should be to win the Super Bowl, and as we saw with Super Bowl XLVIII, the so-called elite quarterback Peyton Manning was outplayed by Russell Wilson. A good up and coming quarterback, but not one who could be labeled as “elite” at this point in his career.
And I would agree with Gonzalez that Matt Ryan is not elite, but there are only a handful of NFL quarterbacks who can be called elite. Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Drew Brees, and Aaron Rodgers are the only ones that really come to mind as elite quarterbacks. So therefore every other team needs to find the best quarterback they can, elite or not.
The last three Super Bowls have been won by quarterbacks who would be described a franchise quarterbacks, Wilson, Joe Flacco, and Eli Manning, but not elite. When it comes to the Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III, I think it’s important for the Redskins to build a more complete team around him, and not put all the pressure on him to win.
Let’s play role reversal. Would Russell Wilson have led the Redskins to the Super Bowl this year? I would say no. But put RGIII on the Seahawks, I think they would still be a Super Bowl contender. The Seahawks are a team that is better constructed than the Redskins, and Wilson isn’t asked to do nearly as much as RGIII was in the grand scheme.
The Redskins need to build a system that isn’t dependent on having an elite performance form it’s quarterback. Passing for 5,000 yards in a season proves nothing. Teams need to find ways to win without having an elite quarterback. We’ve seen that happen recently, and if the Redskins build the team right, they can win whether RGIII becomes elite or not.