Cleveland Browns: 5 players feeling the most pressure in 2016
By Thomas Moore
Perhaps no one will be under more pressure this fall than quarterback Robert Griffin III.
Not only will Griffin be looking to become the first bridge quarterback to actually be a bridge to something for the Browns (other than disappointment), he is also trying to become the rare first-round quarterback who failed with his original team only to find success in a new environment.
As Albert Breer pointed out this week at Monday Morning Quarterback, players like Jim Plunkett and Steve Young are the exceptions, rather than the rule, in these situations:
"Teams have cut ties with 15 first-round quarterbacks over the past 10 draft classes. Only two of those 15 have lasted more than two seasons with their second teams. One is Jay Cutler, whose ouster from Denver was driven by personality, rather than production. The other is Blaine Gabbert, who is entering his third season as a Niner."
"So if Griffin makes this work, he will be an outlier."
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Sticking with a theme here, Griffin has said all the right things since signing with the Browns, and is enjoying the warm embrace of Hue Jackson after experiencing the cold shoulder of Washington Redskins head coach Jay Gruden the past two seasons.
Griffin is a long way from his rookie season of 2012, however, so it is hard to know what to expect from him this fall. The raw talent has always been there, but that simply is not enough at the NFL level, which has been proven time and time again.
If Griffin can come close to duplicating the projected 16-game numbers that Josh McCown put up last season he would finish with 4,218 passing yards, 24 touchdowns and just eight interceptions, which the Browns would probably sign-off on in a heartbeat. Of course, that would surpass even the stats he put in his rookie year, so that is probably not a realistic expectation.
And that is only if Griffin earns the starter’s job coming out of training camp. (Kidding. He’s going to be the starter this fall unless he gets injured.)
Next: Can Terrelle Pryor make the final roster?
This could be Griffin’s last best chance to show that he is a starting quarterback in the NFL, and reclaim on a spot in the NFL, either in Cleveland (25 percent) or somewhere else (75 percent) once the Browns cross the bridge and turn their attention to the 2017 NFL Draft to solve their longstanding quarterback problem.