With just a few weeks before training camp starts up, there are a lot of players to watch for leading up to the coming weeks.
One player that we need to keep an eye on is Cleveland Browns Quarterback Robert Griffin III. Griffin is trying to prove that he is still the same quarterback he was in his rookie season. The biggest question on everyone’s mind is simple; will Griffin be successful in Cleveland?
Drafted 2nd overall in the 2012 draft by the Washington Redskins, Griffin threw for over 8,097 yards, 40 touchdowns, 23 interceptions, with a passer rating of 90.6.
The team only reached the playoffs one time with Griffin at quarterback, and that was his rookie season in 2012, as they went on to lose in the wildcard round to the Seattle Seahawks.
Even though Griffin’s tender in Washington ended badly, he is still a solid quarterback. He has a great arm.
Griffin is not a pocket passer, he is a duel threat quarterback and he is someone who can pass and run with the ball well.
His injury history in concerning, but when Griffin is at 100%, he is a pretty solid quarterback.
Everything went well for Griffin in his rookie season with the Redskins, putting up great numbers, helping the team make the playoffs and winning AP offensive rookie of the year. After the 2012 season, all went downhill for Griffin and fast.
In the 2013 season, Griffin could not backup his rookie season numbers with better numbers in his sophomore season, throwing for fewer touchdowns and more interceptions (even though he threw for more yards).
In the 2014 season, it went from bad to worse for Griffin. His touchdown numbers really dropped during that season, but the biggest problem for Griffin that he was staying on the field only starting nine games for the Redskins.
Griffin missed seven games with a dislocated left ankle, and he was benched for backup quarterback Colt McCoy while the Redskins were on a three-game losing streak.
When McCoy went down with a neck injury, ending his season, Griffin started the rest of the season for the Redskins, looking solid at the end of the season.
Heading into the 2015 season, all was looking well for Griffin, as he was projected to be the starting quarterback to start the season. During week two of the preseason, Griffin suffered a concussion while trying to recover a fumbled ball when a Detroit Lions defensive lineman fell on top of him.
Backup quarterback Kirk Cousins took advantage of this opportunity and ran with it, being named the starting quarterback for week one of the regular season.
When Cousins put up great numbers for the Redskins last season, it was pretty obvious that Griffin’s days in Washington were numbered. Everyone was expecting the team to cut Griffin, and the team did just that on March 7th, making Griffin a free agent.
While Griffin was on the free agency market, there were some interested teams that wanted to take a look at him. The Cleveland Browns were a team that wanted to get past the Johnny Manziel era and were willing to take a gamble on Griffin, signing him to a two-year deal worth $15 million.
In the same offseason, the team hired Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator Hue Jackson as the team’s head coach. If anyone can help Griffin play to his full potential in Cleveland, Jackson can do it.
Jackson has a great track record of working with quarterbacks and helping them play to their full potential (look at Andy Dalton for example).
Griffin has tools that can help him be successful in Cleveland, such as wide receiver Corey Coleman, tight end Gary Barnidge, and running backs Duke Johnson and Isaiah Crowell.
Griffin also has an average offensive line that will be trying to protect him and let him do what he does best, and that is moving around the pocket, looking for open receivers or scrambling out of the pocket running for a good few yards. Griffin also has a promising defense that can help him stay in the field for more plays.
Griffin did have a lot of pressure on him when he was with the Redskins, as people expected him to take the team to the playoffs each year. In Cleveland, you can expect the team to have another losing season, winning less than 6 games most likely.
Griffin does not have to do the same things that he did in Washington in Cleveland, that should be a given. All offseason, ever since Griffin has signed with the Browns, there has been a lot of talks during minicamp and OTA’s that Griffin has been making great progress and is throwing the ball well in the pocket.
It is obvious that the team wants Griffin to be more comfortable in the pocket so he does not have to run every time he feels pressured by the defense.
With the arm strength that Griffin has and his ability to run, and Jackson’s ability to coach quarterbacks, this might be the perfect fit for Griffin, but we will have to wait till the season starts and see how it goes before we determine if this was a good fit.
At the end of the day, Griffin has something to prove with the Browns and the thing he has to prove is that he can still be a successful quarterback in the league.
Even though Griffin is the best quarterback that the team had in a long time, he should be able to handle the pressure of playing in Cleveland, unlike other quarterbacks.
Griffin might have his learning pains, but at the end of the day, he will be successful in Cleveland.
Photo Credit Ron Schwane/Associated Press
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