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ASHBURN, Va. -- When Peyton Manning entered the NFL in 1998, dropback passers were the preferred style of quarterbacks. When Robert Griffin III entered 14 years later, another style became popular.
And Griffin said he anticipates seeing more teams finding quarterbacks with his style than Manning's in the future. That's because of how the professional game has evolved with the adoption of more strategies from the college game.
"College has drifted away from the dropback passer," Griffin said. "So you see less and less of guys that can't move a little bit at the college ranks, which makes it harder to get those guys in the pros. If you look at some of the top college quarterbacks that are coming out now, all of them can move a little bit."
Manning, of course, has not been known for his legs throughout his career. Yet his brain and accuracy have made him one of the NFL's best-ever quarterbacks. He's made a living out of quick decisions, which offset how fast defenses have become during his career.
Still, many of the young quarterbacks, who are now starting, feature a game more like Griffin's, with the ability to use their legs: Russell Wilson, Colin Kaepernick, Geno Smith, Ryan Tannehill, EJ Manuel (who currently is sidelined with a knee injury). Andrew Luck is more of a dropback passer, but he, too, could run elements of what Griffin does, if the Colts desired, because of his athleticism. But they prefer him to make throws from the pocket.
College has drifted away from the dropback passer. So you see less and less of guys that can't move a little bit at the college ranks, which makes it harder to get those guys in the pros.” -- Robert Griffin III
"You don't have to have world-class speed, but as long as you can move a little bit and threaten the defense with your legs, it helps," Griffin said. "I don't think that quarterbacks like Peyton are going to be extinct ever, but I think there is a shift going to guys that can move a little bit. When you have got 6-[-foot]6, 6-7, 290-pound defensive ends running 4.4s, it's kind of hard to just sit back there in the pocket."
That's not to say Griffin is not a fan of Manning. He's a big fan. Griffin did not want to get into the "sappy stuff" before playing against Manning's Denver Broncos on Sunday.
"He's a great quarterback, he's always been great," Griffin said. "He's one of those guys, even though our styles are varying, he still paved the way for quarterbacks like myself to have the chance to play in the NFL, so you learn from those guys and I have learned. I won't tell you what I've learned, but I have learned."
Manning said he hasn't been able to watch a lot of Griffin but said the Redskins quarterback is "obviously an outstanding player and a real challenge for our defense."