Johnny Football Visits Washington, D.C.

by Brian McNally

WASHINGTON (CBSDC) — The Redskins know all about hyped rookie quarterbacks.

Two years ago it was Robert Griffin III who grabbed a starting job just eight months after winning a Heisman Trophy at Baylor. By the end of that 2012 season he had led Washington to the playoffs after one of the great rookie years ever by a quarterback

Will that happen for the Cleveland Browns? It’s too early to tell. Johnny Manziel, the former Texas A&M star and himself a Heisman Trophy winner as a freshman in 2012, is still competing for a starting spot with Brian Hoyer. Hoyer will start Monday’s preseason game at FedEx Field against the Redskins, but Manziel is expected to play early in the game. Cleveland wants to evaluate him against Washington’s top defensive unit, which is expected to play about a quarter. The comparisons between Manziel and Griffin are inevitable and a primetime game on ESPN – even in the preseason – makes for good theatre.

“I’ve had a chance to talk to [Manziel],” Griffin said. “But my job is not to compare and anybody that wants to compare, I’m sure they’ll just look at us and say both of us are real fast, guys that can play backyard football at times. But we both want to win. I think every quarterback in the league wants to win football games.”

The two men met at a commercial shoot in Los Angeles for Nissan. Manziel is playing for Griffin’s former offensive coordinator, Kyle Shanahan. He designed the offense that Griffin thrived in during that 2012 season before everything fell apart during last season’s 3-13 season. Manziel could be in position to take advantage of Shanahan’s offense when his time comes. But he has to win the starting job first and, so far, Hoyer has held him off. That could change tonight.

“I don’t know what exactly they’re doing or how much they’ve changed [offensively],” said Redskins backup quarterback Kirk Cousins, a friend of Hoyer’s dating to their time together at Michigan State. “[Griffin and Manziel] seem to have similar skillsets. It was effective when they were running it with Robert. He did a lot of good things. So I would say that it would probably be effective Johnny as well.”

Follow Redskins reporter Brian McNally on Twitter.

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