It has been a long while since we have had the opportunity to discuss him in the context of actually being on the field, but it is possible that we may not have to wait much longer to see quarterback Robert Griffin III playing again for the Cleveland Browns—but that assumes that he manages to ‘win’ the right to start.
The Browns were looking to relaunch their franchise this season after cleaning house from the 53-man roster all the way up to the front office, and they were hoping to do so with Griffin, a player who himself was looking to relaunch his own playing career after he fell out of favor in Washington, as well as struggling with injuries.
The injuries have followed him to Cleveland, of course, as he has missed the Browns’ past 11 games after suffering a shoulder injury that landed him on injured reserve. The Browns have weathered several other injuries to their starting quarterbacks in the interim—so perhaps Griffin should be in no rush to get back on the field—but none proved to be as serious as his.
The current starter is rookie third-round draft pick Cody Kessler, who has been injured several times, but has been the primary starter for the past 10 games. He has missed two starts due to two separate concussions, one of which he suffered against the Steelers, and he missed the team’s last start heading into their bye week, which they are only now getting to.
During his press conference earlier this week, Head Coach Hue Jackson confirmed that Griffin was officially designated for return and cleared to resume play. He also confirmed that Kessler was out of the concussion protocol. What he did not confirm was who was going to be starting at quarterback from him the next time the Browns take the field.
“He is ready to go”, Jackson said of Griffin, “and I will make a decision about which way we are going to go through the week. Just because he is cleared does not mean things are just going [to go back to the way it was and he is going] to walk back out there and play”.
He added, “there is still practice, there are still things we need to do and see before I decide to stick him back out there”. When asked what he needs to see from Griffin, Jackson responded that he needed to see him practice. “Just practice, getting back in the rhythm. Playing quarterback in our system”.
He pointed out that Griffin “has not taken a lot of reps with the offense because we have had to get the quarterback who is playing in the game ready”.
It might also be worth reminding that Griffin was not declared the team’s starter until already into training camp. In his one game, he completed 12 of 26 passes for 190 yards with one interception, adding five rushes for 27 yards. Kessler has completed 126 of 192 passes for 1369 yards and six touchdowns versus two interceptions, plus one lost fumble.