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All eyes on Newton, Griffin III

Posted Nov 2, 2012

CHARLOTTE – When the week began, both quarterbacks knew the comparisons were coming.

Cam Newton's Panthers and Robert Griffin III's Redskins will face one another at FedEx Field on Sunday, and in the days leading up to contest, the two most recent Heisman Trophy winners have answered plenty of questions about each other.

"Comparing is the name of the game these days," Newton said.

Their immediate success as rookies has everyone anxious to compare and contrast.

"Everybody is comparing them because of their rookie years," Panthers cornerback Captain Munnerlyn said. "RGIII is having a great rookie year, and Cam obviously had an amazing rookie year."

Newton, the first overall pick in the 2011 draft, wowed the football world with a record-setting rookie season. He set a rookie record for passing yards in a season with 4,051 and his 310 completions and 21 touchdowns are the third most in NFL history by a rookie quarterback.

Moreover, his 14 rushing touchdowns established a league record for rushing touchdowns by quarterback.

"I don't think anybody could help watching Cam's rookie season last year. Everyone was talking about it," Griffin III said. "As a college student I wanted to be a professional athlete and I did watch some of the things he was able to do."

All eyes are on Griffin III during his debut season in the NFL.

The second overall pick in the 2012 draft has the fifth-highest completion percentage (66.8) and seventh-best quarterback rating (97.3) through eight weeks of the season.

Among all players, Griffin III is 17th in rushing yards with 476 and ranks second with six scores. Among quarterbacks, Newton is second to Griffin in both rushing categories with 310 yards and three touchdowns.

"He's an excellent quarterback. Of course, his skillset is very similar in ways of having the ability to run the football," Newton said.

Does Griffin III's first-year success remind head coach Ron Rivera of Newton's?

"Yes," Rivera said. "Yes it does."

But Newton and Griffin III are far from mirror images.

"I see them as totally different players," Munnerlyn said.

Griffin III agrees.

"We're just two totally different people," Griffin III said. "Cam is a 6-foot-5, 260-pound guy. I am a 6-foot-2 and half, some call me 6-foot-3 on a good day, 225-pound guy. Our bodies are definitely different and how we play the game is different."

Added Newton: "There are some things that he does in this game that I don't do, and some things that I do that he doesn't do."

Their size is an obvious difference; their running style is another.

But the two young passers have both displayed tremendous potential, and they both enter Week 9 driven to end their respective team's losing streaks.

"We're looking forward to getting more wins," Griffin III said. "Winning is a lot more fun than losing."

Said Newton, "Nobody wants to be around losing. Losing is contagious, and so is winning."