The Saints know the temptation to talk about Cam Newton and Robert Griffin III as clones is easy. They are the last two Heisman Trophy winners. They are athletic quarterbacks with big arms and beautiful poise. They rank 1 and 2 on the NFL's list for passing yards by a rookie in a season opener.
Pretty good comparisons, right?
It's also pretty inaccurate, as Carolina coach Ron Rivera pointed out Wednesday the second he was asked to compare them.
“They are two different guys physically,” he said. “Cam's got probably 50 pounds and four inches (on Griffin).”
Rivera exaggerated. Newton is listed at 6-feet-5, 245 pounds. Griffin is 6-2, 217 pounds.
Still, their size difference will cause the Saints to prepare a little differently for Newton, the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year, than Griffin, the NFC Offensive Player of the Week.
“He's a mutant,” Saints LB Jonathan Casillas said of Newton. “When he runs the ball, he's not a quarterback. He's a running back, and he's a big one. He can run through linebackers. He can run through some D-linemen. It has to be a team effort to get this guy down.”
Newton threw for 382 yards and three touchdowns against the Saints in two games last year, both Carolina losses. Griffin torched them for 311 yards and two scores in Washington's 40-32 win on Sunday.
“Cam is like Ben Roethlisberger,” Casillas said. “He holds the ball looking to make a play, and it can hurt him at times, but he's so strong and so powerful, he can throw the ball downfield with D-linemen hanging on him. That's very rare.”
As a result, defenders have to stay with receivers for a second or two longer than normal.
“That's an unbelievable difference,” Casillas said. “We're talking about going from four to six seconds or six to eight seconds. That's a long time trying to cover Steve Smith.”
Newton can hold on to the ball too long. He was sacked 35 times last year. The Bucs dropped him three times in their 16-10 victory over Carolina Sunday.
“Getting to him is hard enough, but getting him down is even harder,” Saints S Malcolm Jenkins said. “He goes through his reads as a quarterback and doesn't just run out of there. He takes some sacks, but he does a great job of buying time with his legs.”
Follow Saints reporter Guerry Smith on twitter @CBSSaints.