Yesterday, the Cleveland Browns named former second overall pick Robert Griffin III their starting quarterback for Week One of the regular season. Griffin signed with the team earlier this offseason after the Washington Redskins cut him, but has not seen in game action since 2014. The Browns, however, are hoping that he can return to his rookie form when he took the league by storm and beat Andrew Luck for Rookie Of The Year.
Expecting Griffin to put up the same numbers he did as a rookie is a little absurd since he’s suffered multiple injuries throughout his NFL career and has not had a good season since he was a rookie. He will, however, have offensive genius and quarterback guru Hue Jackson working with him and calling his plays. Under Jackson, Andy Dalton took leaps forward this past season and played like a top-10 QB, and although Griffin will not likely find that level of success, fans should not be afraid to get exited about what he can do the season.
Griffin is at his best as a running threat, but after torn knee ligaments and a broken ankle, he’s developed a more timid style, and his world class athleticism no longer pops out at you. But, if he can find his stride using zone reads that the Bengals started using last year, then he might start keeping defenses honest again. With teams also having to focus on the running back combination of Duke Johnson, who could be very talented in the years to come, and veteran mainstay Isaiah Crowell, lanes should open up more easily for RG3. While he will not be the dual threat he once was, do not be surprised he if goes for somewhere between 500 and 600 rushing yards and around 5 touchdowns next season.
Fans should see another side of RG3 in the passing game this season for the better as well. Jackson has a great ability to fit his offenses to his QB’s skill set and Griffin was picked by him to be his franchise’s QB for now. Griffin struggles with progressions and is not a natural pocket passer so expect to see a lot of one sided pass plays and roll outs. His biggest plays will most likely come from play action or when can make a defender miss and get his eyes downfield.
RGIII has fallen behind his developmental process because of the mishandling in Washington but he has been put in a great position to get back on track. With Jackson handling his career for now Griffin should so a passing game that he has not displayed since his rookie season and his natural talent could keep the Browns from being the worst team in the NFL in he can find his stride again.