In one of the most Browns things ever, Robert Griffin III, the guy they should have never trusted to begin with, is done as the Browns starter for at least half the season after breaking a bone in his non-throwing shoulder in Sunday’s loss to the Eagles.
Well, at least it was fun while it lasted. No, actually, it wasn’t. It was pretty terrible. 12 of 26 for 190 yards, one pick, and one jacked up shoulder. And lost 29-10 to a rookie quarterback who was a third stringer just over a week ago. If you had to sum that up in one meme, it’s pretty easy. Cue up my man Pete Campbell: NOT GREAT, BOB.
That’s not exactly how you want to start the Robert Griffin III Era in Cleveland. And it could well be the end of the Robert Griffin III Era in Cleveland. It’s not just that he lost to Carson Wentz, a rookie who had less than 40 snaps in preseason before busting his ribs, it’s that Wentz was the guy who the Browns thought wasn’t good enough to take at number 2 because they felt like they already had their guy in RGIII.
And then their guy goes out and completes less than half his passes for less than 200 yards, a pick, three sacks, and had a snap that went over his head and out of the end zone for a safety. Meanwhile, Wentz is running the offense like an old pro. That’s got to make you feel good, right, C-Town? But there’s no reason to trip or to panic. As Bob himself would say, no pressure, no diamonds, right Cleveland?
Well, actually, plenty of pressure and no diamonds. And a busted shoulder. Because, and stop me if you’ve heard this one before, Griffin is injured. At least it came on a smart play at a crucial moment. No it didn’t. It happened for a complete reckless reason and on a meaningless play.
The Browns were on their own 4-yard line down by 12 and facing a 3rd and 14. Seeing no one open, Griffin took off and instead of stepping out of bounds to save himself, he tried to fight for an extra yard, ended up three yards short, and with a broken shoulder. And not only is it going to cost him at least 8 games, but also $375 grand in roster bonuses and potentially a huge chunk of his $3.5M in incentives. Hope that was worth it.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m never going to criticize a guy for fighting for his team. Except when it costs his team. And when it’s the same problem that we’ve been hearing about for years – that RGIII doesn’t know when to slide. Or how to protect himself. Doesn’t know when or doesn’t even know how? Because for all the signs that he’s one of the freakiest athletes to ever play the position, he still hasn’t mastered a skill that most 9-year-olds nail in Little League.
And as mystifying as the play itself was, Griffin’s explanation afterwards was even worse. “The guy kind of surprised me there on the sidelines, trying to get out of bounds. It was just an unfortunate play. Just trying to fight for as many yards as we could, trying to score a touchdown and put us in position to have a chance.”
Yeah, I can see how a defensive player might surprise you on the field. Here’s the thing, there are 11 of them and they tend to show up on every play. This isn’t one of those times where you were practicing punting on the practice field by yourself. This is an NFL game and NFL players wearing a different jersey from yours will try to tackle you.
And really, if you’re the Browns, could you have expected anything different? This is who this guy is. A walking, talking injury machine with clichés for quotes. The Bob Griffin who lit up the league in 2012 is long gone. And he’s not coming back. Hue Jackson is a really good coach, but he’s not a miracle worker. He’s the third coach who’s tried to tell Griffin that he’s not Cam Newton and he can’t take those hits. And he’s the third coach who Griffin’s ignored on that.
And it’s cost him a lot of money and worse yet, it’s most likely cost him his last, best chance to be an NFL starter. Crazy to think it was just four years ago that he was hitting Pierre Garcon for a bomb against New Orleans and “Griffining” meant sitting on the turf and signaling touchdown. Now he’s hitting the injured reserve again and “Griffining” means blowing yet another opportunity. This was supposed to be the rebirth and instead it was just a repeat. Not great, Bob.