The Cleveland Browns designated QB Robert Griffin III to potentially return from injured reserve. Hopefully he is nothing more than an insurance policy.
The Cleveland Browns decided that quarterback Robert Griffin III is their one player that they will designate to return from injured reserve.
Griffin, who has been out for 10 weeks after fracturing a shoulder bone in the season opener, was back on the practice field on Wednesday.
The questions now become what’s next and why Griffin?
The first part is easy: under NFL rules the Browns can now take up to 21 days to activate Griffin to the active roster or simply leave him on injured reserve for the rest of the season. While he is back to throwing in practice, he still needs to clear one more medical hurdle before he is ready for contact.
“I think everybody that is here has an opportunity. We will kind of go at it that way and see how that all shakes out.” – Hue Jackson on RG3’s future with the Browns
The move means that the other 11 players on the injured reserve list are done for the season and in the case of a few – most notably linebacker Nate Orchard and possibly safety Jordan Poyer – their time in Cleveland has likely come to a close.
“We’re all on the same timetable, it’s just about making sure I’m healthy — not healthy enough, not almost there — just healthy to go out there and play and help this team win a game,” Griffin said today. “You always appreciate things when they’re taken away from you so I thought I enjoyed practice and I’ve always loved being out there with my teammates and getting better before I was hurt.”
The harder question is why the Browns chose Griffin other another injured player to return.
Griffin came to Cleveland a broken quarterback, one that not a single other team was interested in as a starter. The problems he had in Washington – not being comfortable in the pocket and not possessing the skills to be an NFL-caliber quarterback followed him to the Browns.
In the preseason Griffin did on thing well – throw the deep ball – and not much else. In the season opener he was extremely pedestrian in completing 12-of-26 passes for 190 yards.
And, of course, he couldn’t even make it out of the first game of the season without suffering another serious injury.
Hopefully the play here for the Browns is to use Griffin as insurance and take away the temptation to rush quarterback Cody Kessler back onto the field. Kessler suffered his second concussion of the season on Sunday and the Browns need to keep him on the sidelines as long as possible.
If Josh McCown, who will start Sunday against the New York Giants, can stay healthy for the next few weeks – which is no guarantee as the 37-year-old has already missed significant time this season with his own shoulder injury – the Browns can just quietly let Griffin stay on injured reserve and then move on in the off-season.
But if McCown goes down with another injury, the Browns could turn to Griffin once again rather than risk Kessler receiving further damage. Although the idea of watching Griffin try to play against the defensive fronts of the Cincinnati Bengals, Buffalo Bills and Pittsburgh Steelers – three of the four teams the Browns will face to close out the year – is not a pleasant one.
“I just want to be able to be healthy and help this team win games,” Griffin said. “Like I said, today was fun just to get back out there. The guys could feel the energy from me at least. Like a little kid out there with fresh legs. They were probably all telling me to slow down. I still feel I can be the guy for this organization, and I look forward to going out and proving it”
It’s nice that Griffin still believes he can be the answer at quarterback for the Browns.
Unfortunately, the reality of the situation presents a far different story.