SPORTS

RGIII and Kaepernick, once rising stars, must prove themselves Monday

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(WJLA) - There are few undisputed facts in sports. Plays that fall between the hash marks almost always fall between the black and white.

But some things are clear as day.

For one, ESPN is the worldwide leader in sports. Secondly, RG3 and Colin Kaepernick have emerged as the most marketed quarterbacks of the 2012 season, known as "the year of the quarterback."

Not surprisingly, those worlds collided…often. From RG3's primetime documentary on ESPN to Kaepernick's revealing ESPN Magazine cover, the young rising stars dominated mainstream NFL coverage.

This year, however, it's quite another story.

"Obviously, Kaepernick set the bar so high for himself," Redskins defensive end Kedric Golston said. "It's almost impossible to do that again in the sense of numbers. Like any player, people adjust to their strengths, but he's still getting the ball to his receiver."

Golston's sentiment is perhaps right, but his assertion about Kaepernick's passing is a little off the mark-- just like the second year starter's accuracy of late.

Kaepernick's passer rating is down nearly 20 points from last year, and he's completed just 56-percent of his passes. The question that remains is how much of that is due to a sophomoric slump as opposed to defenses finally catching up to these quarterbacks.

"[I think] it's both," Redskins linebacker Ryan Kerrigan said. "When you have a year of film on a guy, it helps defenses out a lot."

While Kaepernick may be struggling to hit his receivers, he certainly isn't alone on the receiving end of criticism. Once ranked the third best passer in the league, Robert Griffin III has dropped to 19th in that category. He frequently holds the ball too long in the pocket, backpedals in pressure, and misreads defenses, which has resulted in twice the amount of interceptions he threw all last year.

Griffin's teammate points out sometimes what becomes league standard is unique, and should be treated as such.

"Guys get crowned and put in the Hall of Fame...so expectations can be a little unrealistic," Kerrigan said.

On Monday, the ESPN and mobile quarterback worlds will once again collide on a prime time stage. The fanfare will undoubtedly be at FedEx and viewed on televisions across the country, but so will the actual doubts of whether last year's phenomenon is merely an aberration or a given.

Redskins Defensive Coordinator Jim Haslett is still very aware and cautious of what Kaepernick's athleticism can bring.

"You have to be disciplined," Haslett said. "He'll run at the drop of the hat. If nothing's open, he turns it up. So, it's a good test for us upfront to make sure we stay disciplined."

Discipline also lies on the other end of the ball. Fresh off a mere 26-yard first half passing performance and a game ending interception, RG3 has to shoulder the responsibility of turning his 3-7 team around. And Griffin will also have to accomplish something many never would have said he'd have to do a year ago: turn himself around.

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