In his conference call today with the Seattle media, Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III was asked, naturally, about his counterpart with the Seahawks, Russell Wilson.
Both have proven to be great leaders as rookies in guiding their teams into the playoffs; both have excelled in the zone read; their statistics are comparable (Wilson is third in the NFL in QB rating at 102.4, followed by Wilson in fourth at 100.0) , and they are each strong candidates, along with Andrew Luck, for Offensive Rookie of the Year.
“We got to meet each other and talk during the rookie symposiums,’’ Griffin said. “I’ve been able to not necessarily follow everything that’s going on, but I’ve been able to see how the Seahawks have been playing, and how he’s been playing. To me, it brings more excitement to the game, and I’m happy for him.”
As for the comparisons between the two, Griffin said, “I try to stay away from that kind of stuff. I feel like the media is going to do all the comparisons. It’s not my job to try to compare me and Russell. I’ve told people many times, and it’s an old cliché: you never play quarterbacks in this league as a quarterback. You play defenses. I’ll leave the comparisons up to you guys.”
One thing that Griffin has done, much like Wilson, is win over the veteran players, to the point that he was named a team captain at mid-season.
“It was significant to me. It meant a lot. It meant my teammates trusted me as their captain. Even though I’m a 22-year-old young man, a rookie in the NFL, they look to me as their leader. I thought that was huge. It speaks a lot about how they feel about me.”
That honor was bestowed after the Redskins’ bye week, when they were sitting with a 3-6 record and dim playoff hopes. They’ve run off seven straight wins since then.
“I think it was a change of mindset,’’ Griffin said. “There was no, ‘Hey, if we lose a game, we have 14 more, we have 13 more.’ We knew sitting at 3-6, we couldn’t afford to lose any more games. So everyone’s mindset changed, and every game was a playoff game for us. This will be our eighth straight playoff game.’’
In actuality, it will be the first playoff game for both Griffin and Wilson, adding to the intrigue of the matchup. At least from the outside; not to Griffin.
“I don’t think that plays any part of it,’’ he said. “I think it makes it a lot more exciting for the fans. It makes it a great story for the media. But when it comes down to players, I don’t think we view ourselves as rookie vs. rookie. We’re just two football players, two quarterbacks, trying to help our team win.”