One of the major tasks for the brand new Cleveland Browns regime is the same as every other front office the team has seen – find a franchise quarterback. The Browns have been devoid of anything even remotely resembling a QB to build around since returning in 1999, and now coach Hue Jackson and team will be tasked with trying to end the slump.
Based on this weekend’s events, it seems as though they’ll be leaving no stone unturned. After last week’s trade talks regarding San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, the Browns are now checking out another player who may have peaked in 2012.
Cleveland hosted former Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III this weekend, where he met with Jackson, executive vice president Sashi Brown, assistant head coach/offense Pep Hamilton and vice president of player personnel Andrew Berry. Apparently, the visit went well, but this didn’t stop the jokes from coming in. A quarterback who appears to have flamed out beyond belief potentially joining a team which wouldn’t know a franchise QB if one fell in its lap? Sure sounds like a perfect marriage of misery.
However, I personally wouldn’t be so quick to file this as another “vintage Browns” moment. It may seem like one on the surface, but quite honestly, Cleveland signing Griffin wouldn’t really be that bad of a move.
This is hardly to see this potential acquisition through rose-colored glasses, considering only Griffin’s breakout rookie season and ignoring the chaotic downfall which followed it. The former NFL Rookie of the Year has looked nothing like the player who won that award in 2012. Injuries have ravaged a once-promising career, and the second he was benched for Kirk Cousins last season, you knew he was on borrowed time in Washington.
So, it’d be foolish to assume a change of address is all Griffin would need to find his form. Not only has he fallen on tough times physically, but his confidence also seems to have been shattered by his tumultuous time in Washington. It’s not a leap to question if Cleveland would really be the best place to attempt a comeback.
At the same time, it also isn’t crazy to see the potential in Griffin working with Jackson, known league-wide as a perfect example of a player’s coach.
Jackson would clearly have his work cut out for him when it comes to a reclamation project of this magnitude. Still, he dealt with a similar challenge working with Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton.
The Bengals’ QB was dealing with confidence issues himself when Jackson became the team’s as offensive coordinator in 2014. Bengals fans had been bashing Dalton thanks to a few playoff losses, and it appeared the negative atmosphere was starting to affect his play. However, he thrived under Jackson’s tutelage, turning in his best season as a pro last year.
So, when it comes to rebuilding the mental makeup of a quarterback, Jackson has experience. Griffin may require more work, but I’d definitely trust Cleveland’s new coach to get the job done.
Additionally, if you’re the Browns, why not take a flyer on a former stud QB? The team is tearing itself down to the foundation, and will in no way be a contender next season. Knowing this, if Cleveland can sign Griffin on the cheap, take the shot.
If Griffin comes to Cleveland and flops, it really won’t make that much of a dent. The Browns will likely draft a quarterback whether Griffin is there or not, so it’s tough to believe he’d be seen as anything beyond an experiment. And, if he somehow finds the ability which had him taking the league by storm during his first year, the Browns won’t be complaining about that outcome either.
As was the case last weekend with Kaepernick, there isn’t much to this story just yet. For all we know, this could be more fuss about nothing.
Still, if things progress, and the Browns end up signing Griffin, it shouldn’t be met with the same “lol Browns” response. He’d be attempting to rebuild his career with a team attempting to rebuild itself under the guidance of a coach who’s proven he can help a QB get back on his feet. As you can see, it certainly doesn’t seem like a bad move at all.