Posted on August 8, 2016, by Travis Pulver
They say there’s no “I” in team, but if a team doesn’t have one position locked down by a good player, the team is going to struggle. It doesn’t matter how good the defense is or if the team has future Hall of Famers at running back and wide receiver. If the quarterback sucks, so will the offense, and so will the team.
For the Cleveland Browns, a lack of talent at quarterback has been one of the many problems the franchise has been wrestling with for years. Since the franchise returned to action in 1999, it has drafted nine quarterbacks (four with a first round pick) and started 24. Monday morning, head coach Hue Jackson announced that Robert Griffin III would be the team’s starter.
When RG3 takes the field for the Browns for the first time, he will officially become the team’s 25th starting quarterback since 1999 (by far the most in the NFL).
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“It’s time. Robert has earned the right to be named the starting quarterback of the Cleveland Browns,” new Browns coach Hue Jackson said in a statement (via ESPN). “Since he was signed back in March, Robert has made it clear through his actions that he is willing to do everything that has been asked of him to earn this role. Throughout this process, he has gained the respect from his teammates, the coaching staff and the entire organization that is necessary for him to lead our offense and really the entire team.”
The move does not come as a surprise. With Johnny Manziel gone (and ineffective when he was there), the team no longer had a possible franchise quarterback on the roster. Josh McCown has been a decent placeholder but is too old and not nearly talented enough to be the long-term solution at the position. Austin Davis wasn’t terrible, but he certainly wasn’t good either. Rookie Cody Kessler had a great career in college but needs time to develope before being thrown to the wolves.
That leaves former Heisman trophy and former Offensive Rookie of the Year winner, Robert Griffin III.
When the team acquired him, it was clear what their intentions were. They wanted to see if a healthy RG3 could find the magic that made the Washington Redskins trade a boat load of draft picks to move up a few slots in the draft to ensure they could take him.
Cleveland signed him to a three-year deal worth $15 million in the offseason after he was released by the Redskins who found their new leader in Kirk Cousins.
Officially, the position was up for competition throughout the offseason and into camp, but it was clear the Browns wanted RG3 to be the man. He has received the bulk of the first-team reps and has looked pretty good in the process—especially when he throws to his old friend from Baylor, rookie wide receiver Corey Coleman.
Whatever he has done has been enough to be named the starter, which is nice for now, but essentially means nothing. The Browns had a chance to trade Josh McCown to the Dallas Cowboys but opted to hold onto him instead. So while they are willing to go with RG3 for now, they are ready in case he ends up being a bust.