That didn’t take long.
Robert Griffin III lasted 1 whole game and the Cleveland Browns are back to square 1.
Griffin looked pedestrian at best against a rebuilding Eagles team, but the broken bone in his left shoulder should all but end the hope and belief that he is their long lost savior under center – or from the gun.
Like the many regimes to come before them, Sashi Brown, Andrew Berry, Paul DePodesta and Hue Jackson are now on the clock, and under the microscope for decisions made this year as well as those to come in 2017.
They put themselves there, and it appears as if they’re not exactly off to a rip-roaring start either following yet another, ‘That’s so Browns’ season-opening Sunday.
The story is a pretty simple one: team decides to resurrect the career of troubled/oft-injured QB, passes on potential franchise QB in favor of said reclamation project and a bunch of draft picks that historically have done the franchise no good, rookie QB shreds them in his NFL debut leaving the country scratching their heads or laughing at the Browns (again) and the reclamation project doesn’t make it out of a single game in 1 piece.
It was Jackson who wanted the injury-prone Griffin and admitted that he was smitten from the moment they met in March. There wasn’t a soul – other than maybe Griffin, Jackson and the rest of the Browns’ brass – who actually believed that he would survive a 16-game schedule. Only 1 Browns quarterback has and the streak now extends to 15 consecutive seasons that they’ve required at least 2 starters just to field a team.
How could you not feel bad for Griffin, who has spent more time rehabbing than perfecting his craft since his 2012 rookie season? It’s unfortunate, but the reality is that he was a risky investment. While it appeared at the time to be a risk worth taking, getting only 1 game out of him almost feels like a waste of time.
That’s not Griffin’s fault. It’s not the Browns’ either. Stuff happens. Unfortunately the worst of it always seems to happen to the Browns.
Luckily the Browns aren’t on the hook long-term financially with Griffin because there’s no guarantee that he will see the field again this season.
Then there is the whole Carson Wentz angle. Where do we begin there?
Wentz was deemed unworthy of the second overall pick and not good enough by Jackson for the Browns, prompting the team to make a blockbuster, draft pick-stocking trade with Philadelphia to sell No. 2.
So, what did Wentz do for his debut despite playing 6 preseason series because he cracked his ribs? He went out and flat out embarrassed the Browns while their tortured fans watched in horror on television. And with all-due respect to Jackson, he’s not allowed to play the, “it was just 1 game and he did it against my awful defense” card either because there was ample time to ensure that he looked like the rookie he is.
Keep in mind that the Browns’ – and in fairness, everyone else’s – top QB in the draft, Jared Goff, isn’t even good enough to dress for the LA Rams right now, but Wentz was able to go out and smoke the Browns, and make it look easy too.
Jackson implored everyone to “trust” him on the selection of USC quarterback Cody Kessler in the third round. Kessler is an intelligent, well spoken player but has yet to show much in his limited time. He has his work cut out for him to be NFL-ready – and he better get to work because he may be needed soon. Kessler also was Jackson’s pick over Dak Prescott, who without injury to Tony Romo, would be holding a clipboard in Dallas. Even though Prescott lost Sunday, he played well enough to give the Cowboys a chance to win late in the fourth quarter.
One week, one game does not validate criticism or praise for decisions made, but it certainly has put them immediately in the crosshairs. The final verdict on their evaluation of the rookie QBs won’t be in for a few years, but it appears to be in on Griffin and that is too bad.
But back to the drawing board they need to go.
This regime is fighting impatient fans scarred from years of managerial incompetence at all levels as they try to rebuild a roster that was incapable of winning games. There isn’t much room for error – or trust – when it comes to a franchise that has been an embarrassment to it’s predecessor now residing in Baltimore with 2 Vince Lombardi trophies.
There’s a lot to fix and not a lot of time to do it, but any chance for the Brown-DePodesta-Berry-Jackson regime to work rests on the results of the decisions made this past April as well as those to come in 2017.
Fair or not, the clock is ticking and everybody is keeping score.