Rivera not buying comparisons between Newton, RGIII

INDIANAPOLIS — The comparison has been made far too often, just as it was at the NFL Scouting Combine on Thursday. That’s when a reporter asked Panthers coach Ron Rivera if he could draw a parallel between this year’s Heisman Trophy winner (Robert Griffin III) and last year’s winner (Cam Newton).

“I don’t think it’s fair to compare them that way,” said Rivera, who coaches Newton in the NFL.

Just because both players succeeded in a spread offense as mobile, athletic quarterbacks, it doesn’t mean the scouting report deserves to end there. You might even make a better comparison between Newton and Andrew Luck, two big-bodied players who proved to be just as pure of passers as they are runners.

And that’s not a knock on Griffin — only a knock on the idea that he’s that similar to Newton.

“I do see Robert, in my opinion, tends to run a little bit more than Cam,” Rivera said. “I think that’s by design. I think we try to use Cam more in the pocket.”

If you’re looking to compare RGIII to anyone in the NFL, Rivera pointed toward a more mobile quarterback: Michael Vick. No, they aren’t exact duplicates, either. Far from it. But it might at least be a better comparison than Newton and Griffin.

“Michael creates and makes plays running the ball a little bit more,” Rivera said. “I think Cam tries to be more of a pocket passer. But I do know that Michael’s got a great arm and flicks it out there as well as anyone in the league.

“And that’s what you see from Robert Griffin.”

Then again, as this draft plays out, perhaps there’s no need to compare anyone to anyone. Griffin and Luck have every chance to prove to be uniquely gifted talents.

— Jeff Darlington

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