Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Don’t listen to Jay Gruden

It seems as though some people really want the Browns to sign free agent quarterback Robert Griffin III.

The latest is Jay Gruden, head coach of the Washington Redskins. The same head coach who benched him last season and demoted him to the third team endorses the move.

Gruden’s reasoning for the Browns signing The Third is a bit hazy, but look for Browns fans to glom onto it for hope if and when the quarterback decides to take the Cleveland offer. Assuming, of course, there is one.

And while nothing is official, Gruden charitably answered questions about a possible Griffin-Cleveland connection at the National Football League’s annual meeting in Florida.

Besides having first-hand knowledge of what The Third can and cannot do, he has had a working relationship with new Cleveland coach Hue Jackson. He was offensive coordinator in Cincinnati before taking the Washington job and Jackson was his running backs coach.

“I haven’t talked to Hue at all about Robert, but I think a change of scenery could be good for Robert,” Gruden told Cleveland reporters.

“Like anybody, sometimes you just want to get out of a situation and start new and fresh and learn something new and it would be a good fit because a lot of things that Hue does I believe are similar.”

Of course, Gruden isn’t going to bad-mouth The Third. It wouldn’t do any good and would sully any kind of working relationship he has with players. Avoiding criticism of players is paramount in such relationships.

For example, Gruden suggested the Jackson-Griffin collaboration would work because “I don’t think it will be a drastic change for (Griffin) from a quarterback position. I think he’s got a little bit of a grasp of what Hue does. I think there will be a little bit of change, but it will be a good fit.”

Words a lot of Browns fans love to hear as the club continues its never-ending search for a franchise quarterback.

So why and how, then, did The Third lose his job? The performance of Kirk Cousins, Gruden said. “It was really about Kirk’s emergence is what realty happened,” he explained. “It’s not like Robert tanked it. We just wanted to make a change.”

They wanted to make a change? It's almost as though they wanted their prized No. 1 draft pick in 2012 to fail? Why?

Gruden noted Cousins’ play in training camp and OTAs. In other words, it was The Third’s job to lose. And he lost it. It might not be tanking, but it’s awfully close.

That’s the kind of quarterback the Browns will inherit should they move forward and offer The Third a contract. That’s the kind of quarterback who will operate behind an offensive line worse than Washington’s.

The only kind of an offense The Third can operate with any degree of efficiency is the zone read, which calls for him to run and expose himself to opposing defenses. Defenders salivate whenever they see him in the open field. And that is exactly why he can’t stay healthy.

Cousins, drafted by the Redskins the same year as The Third, is a pocket passer. The Third is not. He has tried and failed. Straight dropback passing is not even close to being his strongest suit.

If he winds up in the Seal Brown and Orange and Jackson incorporates a lot of zone read in the offense, The Third will be fortunate if he plays half of the 16 games.

The Browns keep making mistakes in an effort to find their franchise quarterback. In doing so, they are doomed to keep making those same mistakes. Signing The Third would be just another in the long line of those mistakes.

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