Cleveland Browns: Signing RG3 was the wrong move
The Cleveland Browns may have made the wrong move by signing Robert Griffin III.
Editor’s Note: David Vorhees makes his Dawg Pound Daily debut by sharing his thoughts on the signing of RG3.
Let me start by saying I, like may of whom are reading this, have been a Cleveland Browns fan my entire life or for as long as I have enjoyed watching football anyways. I would also like to state that I have no reservations about Robert Griffin III’s character nor do I think he is a bad person, teammate, or a negative influence in an NFL locker room. My objections to the signing of Griffin by the Cleveland Browns are based solely on his abilities as a NFL quarterback.
In 2012, Griffin was drafted by the Washington Redskins after a blockbuster trade to move into the No. 2 overall spot ahead of the Cleveland Browns. In that year he threw for 3,200 yards, 20 touchdowns, 5 interceptions, and posted a QB rating of 102.4. He also rushed for 815 yards on a 120 attempts and 7 touchdowns. He led the Redskins to the playoffs in his very first year, won the NFL Rookie of the Year award, and the future for Griffin and the Washington Redskins was as bright as it could be.
Unfortunately, he would suffer a knee injury that would haunt him for the next season as well. In that 2012 season, he was injured in Week 14 against the Baltimore Ravens and sat out the following week against the Browns where backup QB and fellow rookie Kirk Cousins routed the Browns. Griffin played the final two regular season games and the one playoff game whom some say he was not completely healed from his previous injury. A lot of people believe the Redskins coaching staff rushed his recovery so that he could play in the playoff game. During that playoff game he would re-injure his knee.
In 2013, Griffin played in 14 games and threw for 3203 yards, 16 touchdowns, 12 interceptions, and posted a QB rating of 82.2. He rushed for 478 yards on 86 attempts and 0 touchdowns. I think the trust between player and coach was broken. The Redskins would go 3-13 that year, and because of the trade to get Griffin, would not have a first round pick in the upcoming draft. At the end of the 2013 season Head Coach Mike Shanahan was replaced by Cincinnati Bengals Offensive Coordinator Jay Gruden.
In 2014, with a new coach and coaching staff in place, the Redskins once again looked to Griffin to recapture his 2012 form. In that season Griffin played in 9 games, threw for 1694 yards, 4 touchdowns, 6 interceptions, and posted a QB rating of 86.9. He rushed for 176 yards on 38 attempts and 1 touchdown. He did get injured again and everybody wondered if he was ever going to be that electrifying QB that he once was in 2012. That year the Redskins went 4-12.
In 2015, Griffin didn’t play a single down in any game at any position for the Redskins. He did help his team by playing on the scout team and at the end of 2015 the Washington Redskins parted ways with the 26 year-old QB.
Enter the Cleveland Browns, under new coach Hue Jackson, who is referred by some as a quarterback whisperer. The Browns sign Griffin to a very team friendly contract. Some would say that this signing is a win-win for the Browns whether Griffin is capable of playing the position anymore or not. I believe that although the risk is low there is still a risk.
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The Cleveland Browns own the No. 2 spot in this year’s NFL draft and the No. 1 spot was previously held by the Tennessee Titans who do not need a QB at this time, having just drafted a very talented one early in the draft last year. As of right now two QB’s in this draft have separated themselves from the rest, Carson Wentz and Jared Goff. Wentz supposedly has more upside but Goff is supposed to be more ready to start day 1 of the 2016 season. I personally like Goff’s quick decision-making and accuracy over Wentz’s potential and size.
The QB needy Los Angeles Rams just performed a blockbuster trade and moved into the No. 1 spot just ahead of the Browns. The Rams will most assuredly take a QB. Some believe this is good for Browns because it will make the decision simpler. I do not agree. I hope the Rams take Wentz but they are not saying and there have been conflicting reports saying they like both QB’s. I really want the Browns to draft Goff but there are who say the Browns are not really interested in either QB prospect.
It is possible since they signed Griffin they believe that they do not need to draft a QB this year. Although the Browns have not been a good team consistently since their return in 1999, they have always seemed good enough to not be drafting No. 1 or No. 2 overall. This has always limited their ability to get that star QB.
I believe that since they do have the No. 2 overall pick that puts them in good position to draft their quarterback of the future. Now I know there have been many QB’s that ended up being stars that the Browns passed on for other players and positions and I cannot claim to understand their thinking on that so I won’t.
My fear is that even if Goff is available at No. 2 that the Browns belief in Griffin will lead them to not draft the QB and either draft someone else or trade down.
Griffin is a gimmick QB. What I mean by that is that his most successful year was his first year in which the Redskins incorporated a lot of the plays he used when he was at Baylor. Once they started to move into a more traditional NFL offensive scheme he wasn’t nearly as productive. To be successful Griffin needs the opposing defenses to fear his ability to run without that fear he is nowhere near as good. He holds onto to the ball and waits for the receiver to become open instead of throwing them open or anticipating their route.
Next: Too early to discuss a starting QB
When he does have time he is a very accurate passer. He does have problems reading defenses both pre and post snap, he is not a quick decision maker and that could be a problem in Hue Jackson’s offense. Jackson likes his QB’s to be quick, decisive, and to get rid of the ball in under three seconds. Griffin in his career has not shown this ability often or consistently if ever.
Schematically I do not think he is a good fit for the Browns. Also I fear if they do draft a QB they will start Griffin even if the rookie shows that he is the better option. Plus I think that they will release Josh McCown in favor of Griffin and I know why would I fear that right?
McCown is much more suited to the style that Jackson has shown he prefers plus his ability to work with Johnny Manziel shows that he could be a great mentor for the young QB during his development. Griffin, who is not untalented by any means, will resort to running the ball instead of letting the play develop which will lead to more injuries.
If the Browns do draft Goff and they keep Griffin they will have to have two sets of playbooks because the quarterbacks skill sets are totally different. In fact, I will go as far as to say that Wentz has a closer skill set to Griffin, and Goff to McCown. I prefer Goff and McCown because I believe that skill set and style of QB lasts longer and can be more successful for a longer period of time on the NFL. The style of Wentz and Griffin where they run a lot more means they suffer more injuries, shortening their careers and limiting the amount of success in the NFL.