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No quarterback has ever been better against the Redskins than Michael Vick.
No quarterback has ever been better against the Eagles than Robert Griffin III.
And Monday, for the first time ever, they’ll be on the field together.
Vick and Griffin, two of the greatest running quarterbacks in NFL history, face each other for the first time Monday night when the Eagles and Redskins open the season at FedEx Field in Landover, Md.
“Vick was definitely a guy, growing up, it was hard not to watch him,” Griffin said. “He was a lot of fun to watch out there playing, doing a lot of good things, not just running the ball but throwing the ball, and he’s paved the way for a lot of guys like myself, and he’ll tell you the same thing, that guys who came before paved the way for him.
“You always have a lot of respect for the guy. He’s been through a lot in his life but still a starting quarterback in the NFL. So you tip your hat to Mike on that, and I’m looking forward to playing against him.”
Griffin isn’t the first young quarterback to say he looked up to Vick growing up. Vick, now 33 and 12 years out from his rookie year with the Falcons, still gets a kick out of being kind of the patriarch of the mobile quarterbacks.
“It means a lot,” Vick said. “It means that the way I’ve been able to play the game and others before me have trickled down to the younger generation, to the younger generation of the NFL. I’m a fan of his just like he’s a fan of mine. It’s great that you have guys that respect what you do.”
Griffin and Vick own four of the seven biggest rushing seasons by a quarterback in NFL history -- Vick with 1,039 yards in 2006, 902 in 2004 and 777 in 2002, and RG3 with 815 yards last year.
But they’re also both the greatest passers ever against each other's teams.
In seven career starts against the Redskins, Vick is 76-for-123 passing (62 percent) for 1,081 yards, with 10 touchdowns and two interceptions for a 110.5 passer rating -- highest ever against the Redskins. He also has 226 rushing yards on 34 carries in those seven games, a 6.7 average.
In his two starts against the Eagles last year, Griffin was 30-for-39 (77 percent) for 398 yards, with six TDs and one INT. His 137.6 passer rating is the highest ever against the Eagles. He was 14-for-88 rushing in those two games.
Vick and Griffin are among only four quarterbacks in NFL history who have thrown for 2,500 yards and run for 700 in the same season -- the others are Cam Newton and Randall Cunningham.
When it comes to running quarterbacks with big arms, Vick and Griffin are on top of the list.
Both will be running a version of the read option this year, Griffin virtually all the time and Vick probably most of the time.
“The thing I respect is the way they do it and the way they did it last year, putting his team in position to excel and being successful week in and week out,” Vick said. “It’s a dimension that’s been added, and he’s taking it to another level, and I have a lot of respect for him for that.”
Griffin didn’t just have one of the best rookie years ever in 2012, he had one of the most unique seasons any NFL quarterback has ever had.
Without even considering his rushing yards.
Griffin as a 22-year-old rookie became only the second NFL quarterback to start at least 10 games, complete 65 percent of his passes and throw five or fewer interceptions. Tom Brady in 2010 was the other one.
Add in an NFL-best 6.8 yards per carry, and you see why he’s so dangerous.
Vick and Griffin now rank No. 2 and 3 in NFL history at 7.0 and 6.8 yards per carry.
“I just like the way he plays,” Vick said of Griffin. “I like the desire he brings to the game. I like his intensity, his heart, I like the way he carries himself with his teammates.
“You can tell that everybody in the organization likes him, and that’s the type of character you have to have to be a good quarterback in the league. You want everybody to like you. You want to be that franchise guy, and I think he’s that.”
More and more, young kids who can run are becoming quarterbacks, and more and more, with the popularity of the read option, running quarterbacks are becoming the rule and not the exception.
“The game has always been 10 on 11 when it comes to offense, because you really don’t have to account for the quarterback, but nowadays in this modern age you have to account for the quarterback,” Griffin said. “It makes it 11 on 11 and it gives offense a little bit more of an advantage and that’s what teams are starting to see.
“In high school, coaches are putting their best athletes at quarterback and you’ll see more and more guys who can move around a little bit. It’s not just me, Russell Wilson, Colin Kaepernick and Michael Vick. Drew Brees can move around a little bit, Aaron Rodgers moves around a little bit, Alex Smith moves around a little bit, Andrew Luck moves around a little bit.
“It’s not just us out there doing it, it’s the natural progression of the quarterback position.”
It’s opening day, national TV, a rookie head coach vs. a two-time Super Bowl winner.
Both quarterbacks arrive with compelling storylines. One battled an injury to make it to opening day. The other battled Nick Foles to make it to opening day.
Monday night at FedEx Field, for the first time ever, it will be RG3 vs. Michael Vick. The young gun vs. the old master.
“RG3 and me, we play offense, so it’s not a battle between us,” Vick said. “My primary goal is to conquer that defense, and he’s going to try to do the same thing to our defense.
“We have two totally different playbooks, two totally different playbooks that we’re facing, so we both have to go out there and be the best we can be. I just have to be a bit better.”