Cleveland Browns: There are always going to be QB critics

Jun 7, 2016; Berea, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns quarterback Robert Griffin III (10) runs sprints during minicamp at the Cleveland Browns training facility. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 7, 2016; Berea, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns quarterback Robert Griffin III (10) runs sprints during minicamp at the Cleveland Browns training facility. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports /

The Cleveland Browns will always deal with questions about the quarterback position until they finally solve the problem.

No matter what they do, the Cleveland Browns can’t seem to shake the ongoing issues surrounding the quarterback position.

Selecting a quarterback in the first round – four since 1999 – hasn’t worked. Signing a veteran “bridge” quarterback – at least six since 1999 – hasn’t worked. Starting an undrafted free agent in the season’s final game – an annual occurrence – hasn’t worked.

So it should come as no surprise, really, that the Browns latest attempt at, if not fixing at least patching over, the problem, is drawing criticism as the team prepares for the opening of training camp at the end of the month.

Cleveland will head into the season with Robert Griffin III as the presumptive favorite to being the Week 1 starter, a plan that NFL analyst Greg Cosell believes is doomed to fail.

Speaking to John Hansen of, Cosell left no doubt about what he thinks of Griffin’s ability to take over the starting role, according to Dawgs By Nature:

"“Look, we’ve discussed RG3 ad nausem over the last number of years. It’s fascinating to me, but all of the quotes coming out of Hue Jackson are basically telling you that RG3 can’t play, if you read between the lines. Now, they may want him to play, but at the end of the day, when it starts, he’s going to have to be far better than apparently he’s been. And I read the quotes by Hue Jackson and I look back at all the notes I took when RG3 played and I feel like I’m reading my notes. Because the eye in the sky doesn’t lie, John. That’s the reality."

"“I would argue the best quarterback on their roster right now is Josh McCown. Now, that might not get Cleveland fans excited. But I think he’s the best quarterback on their roster right now.”"

While those comments may be a bit shocking on the surface, Cosell isn’t really saying anything different from other media members who watched the Browns practice during minicamp and OTAs.

McCown has been around so long that picking up a new offense isn’t a problem for him, especially when playing in shorts and helmets. As for Griffin, he is not only learning Jackson’s offense but also working on how to be an NFL quarterback.

Cosell’s criticism could also be stemming in part from hurt feelings, as he was all in prior to the 2012 NFL Draft in supporting Griffin as a better quarterback than Andrew Luck.

So does that mean he is wrong? Not necessarily.

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Griffin was sensational his rookie season, but that was four years ago – an eternity in NFL terms. And while some of the blame for his downfall in Washington can be placed on the coaching staff, excusing Griffin for dropping from QB1 to safety on the scout team is foolish.

Even though they were the only team willing to give Griffin a shot, the Browns also have nothing to lose. They only gave up a reasonable amount of cash to sign him, he’s not standing in the way of a promising young quarterback, and winning in 2016 is not necessarily the primary goal.

If Griffin can at least come close to being the player he was as a rookie, the Browns win as they will have stabilized a troubled position for at least a year. If he fails, they still win as they hold what should be two high first-round picks in the 2017 NFL Draft and an opportunity to finally solve the quarterback riddle.

No matter how this plays out, the odds are that Griffin will not be the longterm answer at the quarterback position.

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And until the Browns find that player, they will continue to deal with criticism about the most-important position on the field.