Robert Griffin III, Johnny Manziel make ‘Monday Night Football’ must-see TV

(Katherine Frey/The Washington Post)
Johnny Manziel (Mark Duncan/Associated Press)

What are the odds that two relatively undersize quarterbacks who grew up in small Texas towns just 130 miles apart would win Heisman trophies in back-to-back years, become first-round NFL draft picks and ooze so much charisma that they trademarked their nicknames before making their pro debuts?

That’s just part of what Washington Redskins third-year quarterback Robert Griffin III and Cleveland rookie Johnny Manziel have in common.

Griffin and Manziel are also 99 percent of the reason why Monday’s preseason clash between teams that finished at the bottom of their respective divisions last season with abysmal records (Washington, 3-13; Cleveland, 4-12) is such compelling viewing, in full-hype mode for “Monday Night Football.”

Griffin, 24, is expected to play the first quarter. Manziel, 21, is expected to come off the bench behind incumbent starter Brian Hoyer yet get an equal share of snaps with the Browns’ first team.

Comparisons between the Heisman Trophy winners — each, the face of his franchise — are sure to fly fast and furious Monday night. Consider this a jump-start on the tale of the tape to come:

Griffin Manziel
Height 6-2 6-0
Weight 222 210
Age 24 21
Home town Copperas Cove, Tex. (pop. 33,374) Kerrville, Tex. (pop. 22,455)
College Baylor Texas A&M
Drafted 1st rd., 2nd overall (2012) 1st rd., 22nd overall (2014)
Heisman Trophy 2011 (405 first-place votes) 2012 (474 first-place votes)

2014 preseason opener stats

Griffin Manziel
Outcome def. New England, 23-6 lost to Detroit, 13-12
Passing 2 for 4, nine yards 7 for 11, 63 yards
Cmp. pct. 50 63.6
QB rating 56.2 79.0
Rushing 0 attempts Six for 27 yds.

Have a Redskins question? Send an e-mail to with the subject line “Mailbag question,” and it might be answered on Tuesday in The Mailbag.

Also from The Post:

Jay Gruden opens up about learning on the job

Manziel one of a few newcomers battling for starting QB spots

Gruden says Redskins starters will play ‘at least a quarter’ vs. Browns’

Coach feels good about Redskins’ quarterbacks

Griffin brushes off Manziel comparisons

RB Thompson, LB Sharpton ruled out for Monday’s exhibition

DE Bowen agrees to rework his contract

Graphic: A look at the crackdown on illegal contact

Sean Taylor will be featured on NFL Network’s ‘A Football Life’

Jon Gruden’s nickname for his little brother

More NFL: Home page | D.C. Sports Bog | The Early Lead | Fancy Stats | Fantasy

Follow: @MikeJonesWaPo | @lizclarketweet | @JReidPost | @Insider

Liz Clarke currently covers the Washington Redskins for The Washington Post. She has also covered seven Olympic Games, two World Cups and written extensively about college sports, tennis and auto racing.



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Mike Jones · August 16, 2014

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