Browns

I’m done with Robert Griffin III

Matt Rourke/AP Photo
Matt Rourke/AP Photo

The Cleveland Browns have announced that Robert Griffin III has passed his concussion protocol, which means that head coach Hue Jackson is likely going to start him on Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Sigh. I’m so done with RG3.

Despite Griffin getting the win last Saturday against the San Diego Chargers, I want this horrible experiment to end. Griffin has now started four games for the Browns. He has shown the same issues he did in Washington. He cannot read a defense. He holds onto the ball too long. Once he starts scrambling his eyes abandon receivers who might get open. He takes sacks at a ridiculous rate with many of them due to either those scrambles when the defense knows he won’t throw or because he’s sitting in the pocket holding the ball for far too long. If Hue Jackson has not been able to coach these things out of RG3 by now, then I don’t see why we should give Griffin another season to continue to prove out why Washington gave up on him.

Griffin has now started four games for the Browns and has zero passing touchdowns. Throwing for touchdowns is something that teams want their quarterbacks to do. Griffin has had four starts to try to achieve it. He has none. But hey, if the Browns can win a game in 2016, then RG3 can pass for one touchdown in five starts (as it appears he will get the chance against Pittsburgh). These are the lofty goals the Browns look to achieve.

Read: Debating the Browns’ QB Future

RG3 has now started four games for the Browns and the team has averaged 13 points per game in them. In games started by Josh McCown and Cody Kessler, they average 17 points per game. Kessler is better than Griffin in completion percentage (66 to 54), yards per attempt (7.2 to 6.1), touchdown percentage (3.1 to 0), interception percentage (1.0 to 1.9), sack percentage (9.8 to 14.4), and quarterback rating (92.3 to 64.9).

Kessler has not wowed the world with his play. He lost all eight games he started. The rookie has had difficulty seeing (or completing) passes down the field, and he held onto the ball too long. Kessler is not likely anything more than a good long-term backup NFL quarterback. Kessler has also been way, way better than the veteran Griffin.

The Browns have the immediate task of contending with the Steelers and the longer term decision on Griffin’s $7 million option for 2017. It appears they are going to roll with RG3 for Steeler week despite all signs pointing towards him being the worse option to start. I worry that it might also point to them continuing this horrid experiment into the next season. Let me off this ride.

  • Pat Leonard

    +1!

  • whosevelt

    Nothing in this article is wrong, per se, but you could make similar arguments about all the quarterbacks on the roster. There are two reasons it makes sense to see RGIII over Kessler. (1) We have seen more of Kessler, and (2) Kessler is almost certainly going to be at least a backup here next year, while RGIII might be gone.

  • Harv

    Agree with the analysis. To put it more starkly: Washington’s sunk cost in Griffin, in high draft picks and coaching resources, was incredible, what you only devote to a potential franchise QB. And they sat him last year, a healthy 3rd (!) stringer, behind Colt McCoy. And then they let him walk. And no org but the Browns were interested.

    He’s had different coaches who have tried different things. He’s been a failed test case for whether a QB’s speed, elusiveness and arm can can carry the day when the defenses are faster, smarter, bigger and way more violent. The answer is that QBs up here have to develop the ability to see the whole field, read a defense and then let those other attributes execute the appropriate action. People talk about Griffin developing as if he’s a rookie. We can see that he can’t see. Long bombs in exhibition games against vanilla defenses played at 3/4 speed are as meaningless as those games.

    I’m glad he’s starting v. Ptts because I don’t want Kessler beat up anymore this year. But won’t be surprised if his inability to see and respond quickly get him knocked out, again. The Steelers don’t lay down in these games, with or without their big names.

  • JM85
  • Hopwin

    Oh my, I can’t say I’ve ever seen such a negative tone in one of your piece’s before. Strong feelings eh?

  • JNeids

    It pains me to say this, and question my fanhood all you’d like, but if he gives us the best chance to LOSE this week, then I want him out there. I wasn’t necessarily rooting for 0-16, I just want that #1 pick. And SF ain’t gonna bail us out again, not against Seattle.

  • mgbode

    I save the strongly toned articles for special occasions. There is such a divide in the fan base on this topic as some still see the promise he showed as a rookie.

  • mgbode

    As to Kessler not getting beat up anymore, the Browns apparently are going to experiment with Cam Erving at RT. He hasn’t been terrible lately but that seems foolish, no?

  • It’s foolish to just get around to deciding to do it in week 17. No meaningful reason it couldn’t have been tried sooner (last season even) for more than a single game.

  • BenRM

    “Griffin has now started four games for the Browns and has zero passing
    touchdowns. Throwing for touchdowns is something that teams want their
    quarterbacks to do.”

    Very good lines.

  • Eric G

    “He hasn’t been as atrocious as he has been all season in a few plays here and there, but that seems foolish, no?”
    Fixed.

  • Sam Gold

    “We can see that he can’t see.”

    WE CAN ALL SEE THAT HE CAN’T SEE!

    Please Hue, see this as well.

  • Saggy

    One of his piece’s what?

  • Saggy

    1. RGIII will be the best option to lose
    2. Kessler is coming off of a concussion. Again. Let him rest.
    3. Why NOT throw Bob to the wolves??

    1-15. Congrats, G.O.

  • Hopwin

    Yes

  • paulbip

    It all comes down to the head coach being a phoney.

  • mgbode

    Thank you. Borrowed that second one from Captain Obvious but there is still some sentiment that RG3 doesn’t need to.

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  • jpftribe

    Next decision Browns have to make on RGIII is a $750K roster bonus on March 11th. His base salary is not guaranteed and they can cut him before the season starts without being on the hook. He already has been paid his signing bonus and that will hit the cap regardless. There is no way he came close to his incentives in 2016 (75% playing time and 3250 yards).

    There is no reason to release this guy until / unless they find someone better. And if it is another 3rd/4th round draft pick that could use a year of development, well then what? $6M is cheap for a QB.

    To me the issue isn’t RGIII is not the future. The issue is they have no alternative. So until they do, letting him loose would be a typical Brownsie move.

  • Kenny_Reigns

    That’s how I’ve felt almost all year. The record is meaningless this year, so let’s make sure we get the #1 pick.

  • BenRM

    It may be obvious, but sometimes that sort of brutal honesty is what people need to read/hear in order to be shaken from their QB-panic coma.

  • BenRM

    I mean, they shouldn’t let him loose before that roster bonus, but they also don’t need to keep him on the roster. He can’t play professional football well.

  • mgbode

    Agreed