RG3 believes Commanders are surprise Super Bowl contenders originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington
Robert Griffin III smiled ear to ear when he heard the question: what do you think the ceiling is for the Washington Commanders in 2022? The former Washington QB didn’t hold back when discussing his hopes for the Burgundy & Gold.
Though Washington has only won one playoff game since 2000 and is fresh off a 7-10 season, RG3 has pegged the Burgundy & Gold to shock the world this season and compete for a Super Bowl. Carson Wentz’s arrival in D.C. is at the crux of why Griffin III thinks the squad has what it takes to make it to February.
“I’ll say it: the Washington Commanders have ‘surprise Super Bowl contender’ written all over them,” Griffin said on ESPN’s NFL Live on Thursday. “The reason they went and got Carson Wentz is because, if he plays like he did last year, they will at least be in playoff contention because it was better than the quarterback play they had last year.”
Griffin’s Super Bowl prediction might be outlandish, but his statement on Wentz is accurate. The Commanders searched far and wide for an upgrade at the sport’s most important position this offseason and landed on the former MVP candidate who just threw for over 3,500 yards, 27 touchdowns and just seven interceptions for Indianapolis last season.
Griffin’s fellow pundits on ESPN responded with the most obvious retort to his high hopes for Wentz: a Week 18 collapse in Jacksonville ended up kicking the Colts out of the playoffs. How can you expect him to lead his third team in three years to the postseason? Griffin took note of Wentz’s new supporting cast in D.C.
“They’re loaded at wide receiver—Scary Terry [McLaurin], they got a healthy Curtis Samuel and Jahan Dotson that they just drafted from Penn State,” Griffin III said. “And that defensive line: Chase Young, Montez Sweat, Daron Payne, Jonathan Allen, Phidarian Mathis [who] they just drafted, right? That defensive line has to show up. That defense underperformed last year and because of that they struggled collectively as a team.”
The Commanders did indeed take steps to shore up nearly every position at the draft this year, starting with Dotson who they expect to play an immediate role in the slot and perhaps even on punt returns. Mathis can bolster the interior defensive line in the absence of Matt Ioannidis and Tim Settle, and Brian Robinson Jr. should pair nicely with Antonio Gibson and J.D. McKissic in the backfield.
“But if they can get all those ‘ifs’—and it’s a lot of ifs to go together—their roster is stacked and it’s the best roster Washington has had in at least the last 10 years,” Griffin III said. “They don’t bring in Carson Wentz if they’re not trying to win a Super Bowl. They’re paying him a boatload of money. If they can get just an inkling of that MVP season out of him, that’s gonna put them in the playoff contention — not just playoff contention but contention to win a Super Bowl.”
Wentz, even in the year he led the Eagles to the Super Bowl before tearing his ACL, has never had a roster quite like this. McLaurin is easily the best WR he’s paired with, Washington’s defense has the highest potential of any of Wentz’s former squads, and their running back room could display a three-headed monster.
But…a Super Bowl? It might be Ashburn Syndrome taking over RG3, but he did play for Washington for four seasons. He knows the team, and while his hopes are sky-high, Commanders fans will be hoping the best comes out of this 2022 team, packed to the brim with ‘ifs’.
“This is the best roster that Carson has ever played with, whether he was in Philly or Indianapolis,” Griffin III said. “But they also didn’t just play around. They surrounded him with extreme, talented players. So when I look at it, no I’m not saying that the Washington Commanders are going to win the Super Bowl, but if they get the Carson Wentz from 2017, they got a chance.”