The Washington Redskins‘ preseason game Monday night against the Cleveland Browns will generate quite a bit of buzz because the matchup will feature young quarterbacks Robert Griffin III and Johnny Manziel — two of the most electrifying college football players in recent years.
Griffin won the Heisman Trophy in 2011 after using his arm and legs to lead Baylor to prominence. Manziel won the Heisman the following year while also proving himself as a game-changing dual-threat quarterback.
Griffin excelled as a rookie while operating out of an offense that featured pages from the read-option attack, which then-offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan implemented into Washington’s playbook. Now the offensive coordinator in Cleveland, Shanahan is installing the same offense for the Browns to take advantage of Manziel’s skill set, which is similar to Griffin’s.
Because of the similarities, and the high profile of both quarterbacks, this usual Week 2 preseason matchup has an uncommon electricity about it.
But Griffin on Thursday did his best to steer clear of the hype. He also wants no part of the comparison game between he and Manziel.
“I know him okay. We’re part of the Nissan Heisman House together,” he said. “I’ve had a chance to talk to him, but my job’s not to compare. Anybody who wants to compare, I’m sure they’ll just look at us and say both of us are real fast, guys that can play backyard football at times. But, we both want to win, and I think every quarterback in the league wants to win football games.”
Asked about the differences between the two, Griffin said, “I don’t know. I’ve played in the NFL and he hasn’t. He went to A&M, I went to Baylor. But, other than that, we’re just trying to do our jobs.”
M0nday represents Shanahan’s first game at FedEx Field since he and his father, Mike Shanahan, were fired at the completion of the 2013 season. Despite their success together Griffin’s rookie season, the quarterback and offensive coordinator’s relationship deteriorated in Year 2 as Griffin rehabbed from a torn anterior cruciate ligament at the end of his rookie season and struggled to return to form during the season.
Griffin said Shanahan on the opposite sideline wouldn’t faze him.
“I don’t really look at the other sideline during the game.,” he said. “We’ll be focused on our sideline and what we have and what we’re going to try to do, and I’m sure they’ll try to do the same.”
Griffin said he didn’t know if he and Shanahan would address each other prior to the game, but he added that he wouldn’t try to avoid his former coordinator.
“It’s not that type of relationship where we wouldn’t talk. If I get a chance to see him, and talk to him, yeah I definitely will,” Griffin said.
Have a Redskins question? Send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “Mailbag question,” and it might be answered on Tuesday in The Mailbag.
The Redskins practiced this morning, and have another set for 8:35 a.m. on Friday.
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