If you have been any sort of attentive fan of the NFL for the past decade and a half or so, you would probably understand that there hasn’t been a time in recent history in which the Cleveland Browns haven’t been full of questions.
That typically would go without saying for a team that has not seen a winning season for some time now, and has had only one since returning to the NFL, closing in on two decades now. With that frequency of futility, it would be no surprise to learn that this latest iteration of the Browns, winners of three games in 2015, have a lot of questions heading into training camp.
And yet still the biggest question that they face is what in the world they have at the quarterback position. They presumably passed up the chance to have any of the draft’s top three quarterbacks and instead chose to sign Robert Griffin III, who did not play at all in 2015.
Cleveland held the second-overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, at which spot Carson Wentz was ultimately drafted after they traded out of that spot. If they wanted to, they could have easily gathered the resources to trade from two to one to draft Jared Goff. They also had the opportunity to draft Paxton Lynch later in the first round.
All of this they decided against, instead waiting until the third round to draft the 6’1” Cody Kessler, who adds his name to a depth chart that also includes Josh McCown and Austin Davis, but the focus is and will remain on Griffin, who has been presumed all along to be the eventual starter, even if new head coach Hue Jackson declines to name a starter until into the preseason.
Griffin received some mixed reviews regarding his performance during training camp, which seemingly prompted a Cleveland.com reader recently to ask for the take of Mary Kay Cabot about what she saw from the veteran during the spring.
“It was the kind of spring you’d expect from a quarterback who sat out all of last season and who’s trying to learn a new scheme and new mechanics”, she summarized. “He made it abundantly clear that he’s willing to slide and throw the ball away”, which has been two criticisms of his play, and added that “he’s coachable”.
She also noted that Griffin is working with quarterback expert Tom House during the down time before training camp opens. House, a former MLB pitcher, has worked with a gamut of quarterbacks from Tim Tebow and Terrelle Pryor to Drew Brees and Tom Brady, based on a quick Google search. Griffin is now throwing passes to Pryor.
Ultimately, we will learn more about how the fifth-year quarterback looks in a new offense once the Browns take the field in the preseason, and presumably in the regular season opener provided that he is indeed named the starter. One thing that we do know is that he and all of Cleveland’s new wide receivers will be growing together after they gutted that unit this offseason.