It's going to be Griffin
Browns coach Hue Jackson says he will name his starting quarterback before the first exhibition game against the Green Bay Packers on Aug. 12.
“We have to,” he told the media Thursday on the first day of training camp in Berea. “That’s just the right thing to do.” And he’s absolutely right. It is the right thing to do.
What Jackson did not say, though, was whether it was the starting quarterback for just that exhibition game or the starting quarterback when the Browns open the regular season in Philadelphia on Sept. 11. That needs to be clarified.
“Whoever earns that job is going to earn it here on this field, but we’re going to go through a process here pretty soon,” said Jackson, who cited open competition throughout the roster. “It’s going to show itself quickly and it definitely would be before we play our first pre-season game.”
So why wait until then? Why not now?
This is nothing more than charade because we all know who will get the call. If it isn’t Robert Griffin III, I, for one, will be stunned. I can’t see Josh McCown, Cody Kessler or Austin Davis emerging as the starting quarterback.
McCown is a nice serviceable backup quarterback with the emphasis on backup. Kessler, of course, is a rookie and unless he is the second coming of Andrew Luck, this season will be nothing more than an education for him. Davis will be gone by the time the regular season commences, if not sooner.
Griffin was brought to Cleveland to start, not hold a clipboard. Unless he gets hurt in the run-up to the regular season, he will be in charge of the huddle when the Cleveland offense takes the field against the Eagles.
I can’t figure out why Jackson does not name The Third straight up. What harm would it do? The coaching staff is designing the playbook to fit his unique talents. Even if he screws up during the exhibition season, he will still be in charge of the offense.
McCown is nothing more than a journeyman who sometimes has an occasionally good game. He has started 57 games in his 13-year journey through the National Football League and won 18 of them.
Last season, when healthy, he lined up under center for eight games with the Browns and won once. He is 2-17 in his last two seasons as a starting quarterback.
This is not meant to demean McCown. It’s to point out the stark reality that his best role with any NFL team is as a backup. He is a seasoned veteran who best serves his team as a consultant on the sideline during games.
He very well could be one of those quarterbacks who holds on just long enough to impress some head coach along the way and earns a spot on a coaching staff. At 37, he is still young enough to land somewhere and be helpful.
But if Jackson names him his starting quarterback for the season, the coach’s reputation as a quarterback whisperer will take a hit. I just do not see it happening.
The Third needs to be the linchpin of the attack. Even if he loses games, he still needs to be in there. This will be a season of growth for the Browns. Not much is expected of them.
Jackson, of course, will set his sights high, probably – and unrealistically – too high. But he needs to do so with the right man at the helm. And that man is Robert Griffin III.
Somehow, I think Jackson already knows that, but for some reason prefers to keep it to himself.