Griffin has established an early lead in celebrity status as a recognizable TV pitchman for various products. When the Redskins returned to Dulles Airport after the preseason opener in Buffalo, players turned on a television and in short order saw two commercials featuring him.
Luck has piled up the more eye-catching preseason passing numbers. He has 363 yards on 26-for-41 passing (63.4 percent), with two touchdowns and two interceptions in the Colts’ two exhibition games. Griffin has connected on nine of 14 passes for 119 yards in the Redskins’ two games, with a touchdown and no interceptions.
Luck said he understands the focus on the pair. But he maintained this game won’t be a personal duel.
“I think you realize that’s sort of the nature of the beast, nature of playing quarterback, nature of being drafted one-two at any position in any sport,” Luck said during a midweek news conference. “I don’t speak for him, but I’m sure he feels the same way. It’s not too hard not to get too caught up in it. I have much bigger things to worry about.”
The conventional NFL wisdom is that Griffin has a better chance to win earlier in his career in Washington than Luck does in Indianapolis.
The Redskins have their issues, with an offensive line that has been patched together during the preseason, a receiver corps that was remade in the offseason, competition for the starting tailback job and a secondary that was vulnerable in last weekend’s second preseason game in Chicago.
But the Redskins are in their third season under Coach Mike Shanahan and they aren’t starting over this year to the same extent that the Colts are.
“Washington has a better base than Indianapolis does,” Green said.
Coming off a 2-14 season spent entirely without the injured Manning, the Colts overhauled their front office and coaching staff and said their offseason goodbyes not only to Manning and Garcon, but also to fellow offensive mainstays such as tight end Dallas Clark, tailback Joseph Addai and center Jeff Saturday. They did re-sign veteran wideout Reggie Wayne in free agency. Luck was drafted to be the focal point of the Colts’ rebuilding project.
The Colts appeared to be locked in on Luck as the top pick from early in the draft-evaluation process, and seemingly never wavered. The Redskins seemed to know when they traded up for the second pick in the draft that they almost certainly would get Griffin, not Luck. Even so, the Redskins did their pre-draft homework on Luck. Shanahan said this week that the Redskins “loved both guys.”
Of Luck, he said: “I sure liked him. After all that hype, you’ve got to get it done on the football field. You like guys that are very sharp and enjoy the game. I had a chance to spend time around him and Robert. And I felt great; no matter what direction Indianapolis decided to go in the draft, we’d be in good shape.”
Griffin doesn’t track Luck’s progress obsessively. When the Colts played the Pittsburgh Steelers in a nationally televised game last Sunday night, he didn’t watch, viewing a movie instead, he said. Griffin talked this week about facing not Luck but the Indianapolis defense. Yet he said he accepts the comparisons.
“I definitely look forward to playing the guy throughout my career,” Griffin said early this week. “I think it will be exciting matchups every time we face each other.”