Hue Jackson made a wise move to start the week by naming Robert Griffin III as the starter for Week 1. Despite the fact that there hasn’t been a preseason game played yet, the announcement ends any sort of quarterback controversy that could bring more unnecessary attention to the team. The Browns have dealt with their fair share of bad press over the years stemming from issues with an incompetent front office to struggles in sobriety with Josh Gordon. Having the quarterback position locked down in early August speaks to the level of confidence that Hue and the coaching staff have in RG3.
What to expect from RG3
While there are very low expectations for RG3 in terms of fantasy production, I believe we are going to see a small resurgence from him in 2016. It would be foolish to expect him to step in and make this team a contender. Given the current state of the franchise and the incredibly tough AFC North, very few quarterbacks would be able to take this team to the next level in their first year with the team. However, plenty of quarterbacks have made a career out of being fairly mediocre or a game manager. If Griffin can stay healthy, he can become a decent fantasy option for bye weeks or as an injury replacement.
What could have been
Griffin being named the starter would have a completely different feeling around it had Josh Gordon not been reinstated. There is the obvious Baylor connection but Griffin and Gordon haven’t taken the field together in over 4 years. At this point, though even a small amount of chemistry could go a long way between the two. Until the two reunite in action in week 5, Griffin will have a combination of veterans and rookies at his disposal. Corey Coleman is the most obvious candidate to fill Gordon’s shoes to start the season but do not be surprised if Rashard Higgins or Andrew Hawkins find their way into Griffin’s good graces.
With some positive buzz currently surrounding the Browns, it shouldn’t be overlooked that they are dealing with some changes to their offensive line that could severely impact RG3. After 7 years in Cleveland, center Alex Mack decided to enter free agency leaving sophomore Cameron Erving as the next man up. Although Mack takes a lot of experience with him, the team is ready for Erving to be the starter after spending a first round pick on him in 2015. The real issue for the offensive line right now is at right tackle. Currently, Austin Pastzor and Spencer Drango are in the running to fill the right tackle spot but the team has yet to make a decision. The lack of talent at the position could lead to some weaknesses as the season progresses so it is something that should be watched closely.
Even though Griffin is getting a fresh start, the reality of the situation is that he’s stepping into a team that has been in a rebuild since they returned to the NFL in 1999. The recent overhaul in the front office and coaching staff has brought a new sense of confidence around the organization but that doesn’t change the impatience that comes with the NFL if poor performance continues. Griffin is no stranger to the lack of patience after his time in Washington but the hope is that he has learned how to deal with the weight of the expectations. This is a new start for Griffin and he has a clean slate with coaches that seem to believe in him. This early vote of confidence could go a long way in helping Griffin return to form.