Cleveland Browns: RG3 should start if healthy
The Cleveland Browns once again have a decision to make at the quarterback position. Given their dire situation, Robert Griffin III should start for several reasons.
It isn’t unfamiliar territory for the Cleveland Browns to have a decision to make at the quarterback position. It is however uncharted territory to have just four opportunities remaining to avoid a winless season.
Due to these circumstances, the Browns must do everything in their power to ensure that they win one of these final contests. This must influence their decision at quarterback as well as others.
With Cody Kessler coming back after yet another concussion, and Josh McCown struggling the past three weeks, the Browns have a dilemma at quarterback. Thankfully, Robert Griffin III has returned to practice and has been cleared to participate in full contact. This introduces another element into the situation.
Though Hue Jackson’s instincts may tell him to go with the rookie, it is time to resort to Griffin.
There are benefits to returning to Kessler. As a rookie, all Browns fans are anxious to find out if he can be consistent at the position. Especially for a quarterback whom has shown promise, it would be ideal to see what Kessler can do over a chunk of games.
However, after suffering two concussions, the 23-year-old’s future may be at stake. Head injuries can not be taken lightly. If the Browns really wish to maintain hope that Kessler can be a franchise quarterback, it would be best to shut him down for 2016.
Not only is his injury situation problematic, the unknown factor of how Kessler will play in cold weather is an experiment not worth trying. With two home games and games in Buffalo and Pittsburgh remaining, it is safe to say that normal December conditions will impact these games. If the Browns are serious about finding a win, starting Kessler at quarterback would be counterproductive.
Of course, Griffin hasn’t mastered the art of playing in the cold either. However, three seasons and 35 starts in Washington does show he at least has some experience in the conditions.
It is also worth noting that Griffin, returning from an injury, can give opposing defenses a different look on offense that the Browns so desperately need. At this point, it is evident that Cleveland will not light up the scoreboard doing exactly what they have done in past weeks.
No matter how long they try the same unbalanced, pass-heavy offense, it won’t work. Bringing in Griffin and at least making the game plan unpredictable for opponents would benefit a team that has seemingly tried everything unsuccessfully.
Most importantly, Griffin is a better option because of his mobility. Though injury prone, the 2011 Heisman Trophy winner has the ability to move around in the pocket and escape the rush in certain situations. This is a major upgrade from McCown, and even Kessler.
With the way Cleveland’s offensive line is performing, surrendering 15 sacks in the past two weeks, the solution at quarterback can no longer be a true pocket passer.
This isn’t to say that Griffin will be a leading rusher or anything, nor should he be. But a quarterback who can extend plays even for just a second longer can make a significant difference.
This will also help the Browns with their deep passing game. With Griffin having a natural talent of throwing the deep ball, and Terrelle Pryor and Corey Coleman ready to flourish, putting them on the field at the same time seems logical. Griffin’s escape ability will also maximize opportunities to throw the deep ball.
In these final four games, the Browns will do everything they can to win one. They must have the mindset that 0-16 is not an option.
Unfortunately, Kessler and McCown would lead them straight to this dreaded possibility. Griffin, however, would give them a different look at quarterback and spark an offense which has gone stagnant. Then, with the way the defense has locked in the last two weeks, the Browns will have a real shot at taking at least their home finale against San Diego, if not next week’s clash with the Bengals first.
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