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Rookie QBs carrying both Redskins, Seahawks

Published January 5, 2013 7:43 pm

NFL playoffs • Showdown between RG3 and RW3 may decide the outcome.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Washington • How convenient. Those who can't decide between Robert Griffin III and Russell Wilson are literally getting a playoff.

RG3 or RW3? They've only had two of the best two rookie seasons for quarterbacks in NFL history, according to the numbers. Time to compare and contrast as much as possible Sunday as Griffin's Washington Redskins host Wilson's Seattle Seahawks in the NFC's wild-card round.

"I don't play against quarterbacks. It's not my job to compare us," Griffin told reporters this week. "You guys will do that. … I hope you guys have fun."

OK, Robert, we'll take you up on that.

Griffin won a Heisman Trophy, was the No. 2 overall pick in the draft, was anointed as starter from Day 1 of training camp and was selected as a team captain at midseason. Wilson was a third-round pick who had to wrest the starting job from big-contract free agent Matt Flynn. Griffin's jersey is the No. 1 seller across the NFL this season, while Wilson's is a mere No. 19.

Griffin is charisma personified, always ready with a humorous quip and the ready-made sound bite. Wilson can be engaging but often speaks in clichés. Or, as he put it: "I'm not about flash."

Then there is geography. Griffin plays in the nation's capital for a franchise that was winning titles back in the 1930s. Wilson is up there somewhere in the far corner of the map, toiling for a team born in the 1970s and without a Super Bowl trophy to its name.

As for the league's offensive rookie of the year award, none of the above might win it: Andrew Luck of the Indianapolis Colts could top them both after his sensational debut.

And, yet, for all those differences, Griffin and Wilson are actually quite similar. Both run the zone-read option, adding a dynamic that could revolutionize quarterback play in the NFL. Both have earned locker room respect by being studious and respectful, by showing leadership without appearing entitled. Wilson's 100 passer rating would have set the new standard for rookie QBs if Griffin hadn't posted a 102.4.

Want a challenge? Pick a random quote about either one and try to figure out whom it describes.

"He has a lot of the intangibles you look for in a quarterback. He's really a class act. He's handled himself extremely well and a fun guy to talk to. … He's got the intangibles you look for. He's a natural leader as well. He's playing some good football."

For the record, that was Redskins coach Mike Shanahan talking about Wilson.

No matter who prevails on Sunday, both the winner and loser are expected to prosper. Because of RG3 and RW3, the Redskins and Seahawks have a chance to be very good for a very long time. —

NFC wild card

P Seattle at Washington

Sunday, 2:30 p.m.. Ch. 13