Robert Lee Griffin III is now with Cleveland
Foolhardy or genius? The Browns signing of RG III may give Cleveland the franchise quarterback they have been seeking, but there’s a good chance it will prove yet another mistake.
The franchise never appears to learn any lessons. As the Pittsburgh sports reporter said, look up “incompetence” in the dictionary and you will find the Browns logo.
Griffin was an outstanding player, both in college and his first year as a pro. His performances at Baylor were good enough to earn him the 2011 Heisman Trophy and impress the Redskins sufficiently to for the team to trade up to select him in 2012.
He missed a large part of Baylor’s 2009 season with a torn ACL. On his return after surgery, he led the Bears to a 7-6 record. The following season’s 10-3 took the team to their first bowl appearance for seventeen years and earned him the Heisman.
Stanford’s Andrew Luck had been pencilled in as that year’s Heisman winner before Griffin’s exploits brought him the honour. He was the nation’s most efficient passer, throwing for 3,998 yards with 36 touchdowns and only six interceptions. He added 644 yards rushing with nine more touchdowns.
Griffin decided to forsake his senior college year to enter the 2012 draft. The Browns general manager Tom Heckerts called Griffin a “special athlete” and with their overall third pick were favoured to select him if still available.
But it was the Redskins who made the move, trading up with the Rams to second spot while Cleveland took Trent Richardson with the next selection. Both players have failed to live up to expectations although Griffin had a spectacular first year in Washington.
He finished that season with a quarterback rating of 102.4 (a record for a rookie) and was the NFC Offensive Rookie of the Year after turning the franchise around from losers to the NFC West division champions. Injuries then affected his playing ability and last season he did not play a snap after falling out of favour with Coach Gruden.
The Browns have gone through 24 quarterbacks since returning to the league and while seeking the Holy Grail of a franchise quarterback have wasted a lot of money and effort. If they had succeeded in their quest, the cupboard would be bare of supporting players and the same old Browns would still have a skeleton of a team.
Will it be any different with RG III? Cleveland’s coach Hue Jackson believes it will describing Griffin as “a tremendous talent and a great man.” With the talented quarterbacks the other teams in the AFC North enjoy, they won’t lose any sleep over the signing.
Jackson also raved about Cal quarterback Jared Goff and indicated the Browns may select a quarterback in the draft with their second overall pick. Does that indicate an attempt to put more than one wheel back on the wagon or perhaps the Browns have come up with a cunning plan to change the course of their history?