by Chris Lingebach

WASHINGTON — This is your daily reminder that pre-season player rankings have no real bearing on how those players actually perform on the field, and only serve to ignite a dialogue among fans.

That out of the way, Joe Theismann joined “Chad Dukes vs. The World” on Tuesday to defend Robert Griffin III against a Sports Illustrated ranking of 32 projected NFL starters.

Those rankings, published to The MMQB last Friday, have Griffin ranked No. 31, behind Marcus Mariota (No. 30) and Jameis Winston (No. 26), rookie quarterbacks who have yet to play a down in the NFL.

“First of all, these rankings — this is offseason stuff, right? I mean, we’re just almost riffing on this kind of thing,” the list’s author, Andy Benoit, conceded on 106.7 The Fan on Monday.

“Let me ask you this question, if we looked at the same list,” Theismann said to Dukes. “Is that the list that has Marcus Mariota and Jameis Winston on it?”

“Yes. Yes it is,” Dukes said.

“Okay. How can you call yourself a credible individual when you rank quarterbacks — and again, it’s going into Training Camp — when you have absolutely zero to draw from with regard to college versus professional football?

“Now, when I got the call about doing the show with you, Robert was ranked 31st and I said, ‘You know what, I’m just going to take a look at this list.’ And then I saw Marcus Mariota ranked above Robert Griffin III at 30. And then I saw Jameis Winston’s name and I’m thinking, this has no credibility to it whatsoever, because these guys haven’t even played in the National Football League. So what are you really basing your analysis on? You’re evaluating oranges and apples. Two Heisman Trophy winners in college football, versus football quarterbacks at a professional level.

“Now if those two guys weren’t on that list, that list would probably have a little more credibility to me. But as it exists, and sits there with those guys mentioned, it just doesn’t fit.”

The one line of analysis Benoit dedicated to Griffin called into question the quarterback’s mechanics, ability to read the field, and mobility, saying it’s “not what it once was.”

“And I think that the point he makes regarding Robert, Robert really started to come on towards the end of the year,” Theismann said. “That’s only because he started to play some more. I think the biggest thing that’s hurt Robert is his inability to be able to stay healthy enough to continue to take every snap and grow, and get better, in Jay’s system.

“Certainly, this is a monumental year for him. This is the biggest year of his life: Economically, professionally, personally. I think the way he handles things, with respect to his teammates. There are so many issues that I think Robert can come out very positive on in this particular year, and I believe he will. I believe in the kid.”

So that’s how Joe Theismann feels about Andy Benoit’s list.

[Listen below | Follow @ChrisLingebach]