Fair or unfair, like it or not the comparisons between Carolina Panthers second-year quarterback Cam Newton and Washington Redskins rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III are here to stay. In fact, it wouldn’t be surprising if these two potential super-star athletes stay joined at the hip for their entire careers.
Both Newton and Griffin came into the NFL one year separated from each other. They both captured the Heisman Trophy during their college playing days and both have very similar styles of play. They each appear to have the skill-set to become brilliant passers, with either one having the ability to make big-time plays outside of the pocket. Bottom line is that opposing defensive coordinators are going to hate to have to game-plan against these guys as they continue to get better, and both will get a lot better.
However, Griffin stepped out-of-bounds on Wednesday when he informed reporters he would “rather be compared to an Aaron Rodgers or a guy like that, someone who has won Super Bowls.”
Griffin needs to take a huge step back. Sure, he wasn’t trying to insult Newton, but he did.
If Griffin wants to be compared to a player like Rodgers, then Newton should want to be compared to Peyton Manning. It was Manning’s rookie passing yards record that Newton topped last season with 4,051 yards, along with the seven other rookie records he set both through the air and on the ground in 2011.
Though, many would argue that Newton isn’t a leader and his struggles so far this year indicate he won’t be a great quarterback down the road. Then again the same could be said for Manning, who didn’t turn into the dominate passer we know today until after the 2001 regular season and didn’t win his first NFL MVP until 2003; five seasons removed from his rookie campaign in 1998.
Granted, Manning didn’t endure a sophomore slump like the one Newton is having now, but he did struggle at times up until winning his first playoff game during the 2003 postseason.
Of course, Newton drawing hypothetical comparisons to a player of Manning’s stature is premature. That’s why it’s ridiculous when Griffin stated he wanted to be compared to Rodgers, only eight games into his rookie season.
Griffin is going to be an amazing talent for a long time and will surely win a few Super Bowls, but the same can be said for Newton.
Both quarterbacks have along way to go before they begin to draw bolder comparisons. Though, Griffin has a lot of records to break before he can consider himself on Newton’s level.
Robert Kester, Carolina Panthers Columnist. Contact @robertkester1.