The Cleveland Browns recently broke camp for the next month or so until they are set to open their training camp schedule next month, in their first offseason with new head coach Hue Jackson. He left his players with the message that he expects them to be ready to go to work as soon as camp opens.
What he didn’t leave them with is any sort of sense of who will take the first snap from under center when the Browns open up their 2016 regular season schedule, with a quarterback stable that includes two new additions via free agency and the draft.
The Browns signed veteran quarterback Robert Griffin III to a two-year, $12 million deal, and he is fairly widely presumed to be the eventual starter, though Jackson refuses to acknowledge that as the reality. Left over from last season is Josh McCown, who was the team’s primary starting quarterback last season, and drafted in the third round was Cody Kessler.
During his camp-closing press conference, Jackson responded “absolutely not” to the question asking if he had changed his mind about waiting to name a starting quarterback. He was then asked a follow-up question posing whether or not he would call training camp an open competition for the spot, to which he responded, in so many words “yes”.
“I haven’t even come close to letting my mind go there”, he said, regarding the idea of coming to a conclusion of who will be his starting quarterback. “I’m just trying to help our football team improve and that position improve as much as I can. That is really what is important”.
After joking that the gathered media should feel comfortable in going on their respective vacations ahead of training camp in the knowledge that nothing groundbreaking will come to the forefront between now and the start of training camp, he concluded his answer by saying that “it’s still a ways away in my mind, but I feel good about where we are and I feel good about the process that we’ve been in for those guys”.
Jackson might want to take into consideration the opinion of former Browns great Jim Brown, who recently spoke highly of the team’s acquisition of Griffin, saying that “he’s going to bring something to Cleveland that we haven’t seen in a long time”, during an interview with Aditi Kinkhabwala.
McCown posted a quarterback rating of 93.7 last season in eight games, though the Browns won just one of those games. He completed 186 of 292 pass attempts for 2109 yards, throwing 12 touchdowns versus only four interceptions. He is entering the second year of a two-year deal with the Browns that with bring him into his 14th NFL season.
Griffin was the second overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft and played very well as a rookie, but has struggled since. He served as a backup and did not play a single snap during the entirety of the 2015 season.