The Browns have yet to hand quarterback Robert Griffin III the starting job, because they want him to earn it. If he truly is required to earn it, the question now becomes whether he actually will.
Tony Grossi of ESPNCleveland.com has covered the Browns for decades. He shared his assessment of Griffin’s first offseason with the Browns during a Monday appearance on PFT Live on NBC Sports Radio.
“Well, if he was looking fantastic you’d be hesitant to overstate it during the OTA and minicamp season,” Grossi said. “I mean, it’s touch football and Hue Jackson constantly reminds everyone of that. But the fact is he’s been underwhelming in that environment and I don’t know if that’s a bad thing or it’s just a sign that they haven’t started playing real football yet. He is learning a new offense. First of all he is healthy, he’s very healthy. He looks physically like the old Robert Griffin in that he’s moving great, he can zing the ball pretty well, but that’s just the first step. So I guess the positive is that he looks very healthy and we’ll have to see when they go to camp July 29th is if he’s really taken advantage of the minicamp season and learned the offense because he has been underwhelming.”
Griffin has been overwhelming in one specific way: When throwing the ball away, he has thrown it over a high fence on multiple occasions. Should fans wonder whether this is Griffin’s way of expressing displeasure with the fact that he’s being repeatedly told to throw the ball away?
“Well, I had that concern and I’d been watching that also,” Grossi said. “I’ve been covering practices at their facility for, they’ve been there since the ’90s in that location, I’ve never seen a quarterback throw the ball over the fence and they doubled the height of the fence this year to 16 feet. This is the first quarterback I’ve seen throw the ball in the neighborhood yard. So there’s a concern because it’s almost another ‘look at me’ moment there on the practice field for [Griffin].
“Hue Jackson had talked of [Griffin’s] humbleness and all that when he interviewed him for two days. Not only has [Griffin] thrown the ball over the fence, on a number of occasions he’s done the slide, he’s done the stand-up slide and jumped up and shouted, ‘Who says I can’t slide?’ and stuff like that. You know, if you’re on the team and you’re the coaching staff who’s aware of his background, you’re cringing at that because you don’t want to see that. You don’t see [Tom] Brady and [Peyton] Manning and the great ones doing those little ‘look at me’ moments. Maybe he’s just having fun in the drudgery of minicamp, but it’s something to watch as training camp begins later in July.”
The Browns are trying to change Griffin’s mechanics, and they also are surely trying to strip him of the sense of entitlement that was created the moment Washington traded up to the No. 2 spot in the draft four-plus years ago to take him. If he’s going to become a successful quarterback on a consistent basis, Griffin needs to eradicate both sets of flaws.