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Robert Griffin III Vs. Michael Vick, Finally


With today's news that Robert Griffin III has officially, officially been named the starting quarterback for Week 1, the matchup is set: Robert Griffin III vs. Michael Vick.

Never mind that quarterbacks don't actually compete head-to-head in a football game. Consider Monday Night Football to be the debut matchup of dynamic proportions.

The first time Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III met Eagles quarterback Michael Vick was at the 2012 Rookie Symposium, in which Griffin III was a participant and Vick was a presenter.

Later that day, Griffin III gushed in his NFL Network interview about how much a player of Vick's caliber and skillset influenced a young RG3 growing up in Texas.

"He's a guy that guys like myself looked up to when he was playing in Atlanta and especially the way he's turned things around with the Philadelphia Eagles," Griffin said. "Growing up, when he first started in '01, I think I was 11 years old, so to watch him play and be inspired to play football by guys like him…it's really good to see and have him come talk.

"I think everybody in that room was zoned in. He's definitely a guy that everything he says holds some power."

Cast from a similar dynamic mold, one represents the past glory of mobility at the quarterback position while the other represents a very bright future in an NFL now accepting of the read-option offense.

Meeting in the present for the first time, on Monday Night Football, expect the pleasantries to be saved for before and after the game.

For the 60 minutes in between, expect a shootout between two fearless gunslingers.

Last season, Griffin III passed for 3,200 yards on 258 completions, averaging 8.1 yards per pass, ranking in the upper echelons of the NFL. He also displayed pinpoint accuracy for 20 touchdowns against just five interceptions.

Vick is the only quarterback to ever register a 1,000-yard rushing season, but has never registered Griffin III's 102.4 passer rating for a season, coming closest with his stellar 2010 campaign (100.2).

He has also only passed for 3,200 yards in a season once (2011--3,303) and has only twice passed for 20 touchdowns (2010, 2006).

At his age, speed and the ability to elude contact are both declining skills, but that doesn't mean he can't still talk about it.

"I'm a big RGIII fan," Vick told USA Today last December. "He reminds me of what I do. I'm the originator of everything that's transpired in the league with the style of quarterback. It makes it gratifying to me."

Never shy about his own ability, Vick also proclaimed himself faster than Griffin III, despite the unlikelihood at this point in their respective careers.

"These guys are young, and they're fast, and they're quick," Vick said of Griffin III and 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick on The Dan Patrick Show. "The thing I do have is a very quick get-off, my burst, I really don't feel like there's a quarterback in the league that can beat me in the 40-yard dash.

"If somebody wants to set something up, I'll be more than glad to accept the challenge. But, as of right now, I'm going to say me."

While Griffin III has been preoccupied with more worthwhile pursuits this offseason, his teammates have defended his honor for him.

Receiver Joshua Morgan said this after just a few practices with Griffin III: "He's as fast as Michael Vick but he can make all the throws that Peyton Manning can make and he can make all the reads Tom Brady can make.

"He's got the whole package. I love him to death and can't say enough great things about him."

Midway through last season, cornerback DeAngelo Hall—who played with Vick in Atlanta—had this to say of Griffin III:

"I feel like he's light years ahead of Michael Vick because he understands mentally what it takes to be great. Mike felt like he could go out athletically and be great.

"RGIII is like, 'I know athletically I'm pretty good, but I want to be mentally great. If I can be mentally great and athletically good or great then it is scary.'

"His ability to want to be that great quarterback now and just a great athlete is what is going to separate him from all the other guys out there."

When the teams jog out of the tunnel around 7 p.m. next Monday, none of the hype will matter anymore. Each quarterback will lead his team employing all available speed, accuracy, guts and wits.

Given the nature of the pass-happy NFL, whichever quarterback is truly more talented will celebrate victory at the end of the night.




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