Blog by Rodney Stokes for TonySoftli.com
Robert Griffin III will always be known for his stint in Washington. The one that saw him as the undoubted rookie of the year, later to be forgotten about as a starting quarterback and even being resulted to scout team safety. Whether it was bad coaching and poor management on the Redskins or if Griffin allowed his early success to derail his career, the former rookie of the year has found a new home in Cleveland. The Browns have been a tumultuous franchise seeing 25 different starters at the quarterback position since 1999. Only Tim Couch has played an entire 16 game schedule. There were flashes with Derek Anderson, Tim Couch and some may even say Brian Hoyer, but the majority of guys who have lined up behind center have shown less than desirable skill. For Browns fans, a good number were curious if not excited about signing RGIII in the off season because unlike many of the other quarterbacks who have worn the orange and brown uniform, this one has potential.
The media was split 50/50 on what the Browns had done, many of those who disagreed however seem to enjoy seeing the Browns in turmoil and refuse to have it any other way. Coach Hue Jackson has been known to be a quarterback guru and helped Andy Dalton to his best season in his career as Cincinnati’s offensive coordinator last season. His work with Griffin would be a much steeper challenge as the former Baylor product was never molded for the NFL game. Through OTA’s many stories were being released stating just how bad Griffin looked as a thrower, that last year’s starter (Josh McCown) was far and away the better quarterback early on in the off season. As the off season continued and as the pre season began, the gap narrowed itself and Griffin began to look like the quarterback that Hue had been hoping he could be. Through scrimmages and team drills, the local media raved about Griffin’s potential and about how sound he had become mechanically as a pocket passer. Highlights from the Orange and Brown scrimmage showed that Griffin did look poise and that some of the efforts that Hue was looking to accomplish had settled in with his new quarterback.
In the Browns very first game against the Packers, Griffin was able to hit new found wide receiver Terrelle Pryor for over 50 yards on the first play from scrimmage. Griffin again looked comfortable and poised as he started out 4/4 against the Packers starting defense. If not for a tough interception on a pass to Gary Barnidge, the drive would’ve looked reminiscent to the 2012 season that saw him as the Rookie of the Year. Griffin would finish 4-8 for 67 yards and one interception, a less than desirable stat line but the play on the field spoke louder than the numbers that were produced. The very next week Griffin showed what many had hoped for in the long term. In a performance against the Atlanta Falcons, RGIII was able to put it to the defense and produced a 6-8, 96 yard, 2 touchdown game. Soft and accurate passes to Terrelle Pryor and Gary Barnidge showed just how talented the young quarterback still was and what might come when this team is relaxed and poised. To add, Griffin was also able to show off a 22 yard run that let the league know one thing, he’s still the athlete he once was. A one touchdown performance against the Bucs and an average showing against the Bears would round out Griffin’s preseason, but with it came promise that maybe the Browns had more fire power than the league expected them to have.
In this current week, Griffin was named a team captain among four other players for the Browns. Some may look at it and say “Well, it’s the Browns and who else would they have voted?”. A fair statement, but it also gives RGIII more breathing room to be successful on the field. If one is expecting perfect games week in and week out they’ll find themselves disappointed. Rather, give the still young quarterback time to lead his team into battle and right some of the mistakes he’s made in the past. It’s hard to claim that Griffin has resurfaced before any games have been played, but it is nice to see that for once in some time, the Browns have found a quarterback that they can put their trust in. Time will tell if they’ll get a return on their investment.
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