Robert Griffin III 'has been really good,' but still not named Browns starter
Hue Jackson loves the progress from his QBs but still isn't ready to call RG3 'our guy'
Robert Griffin III is hoping to salvage his career with the Browns, in general, an ominous prospect given that Cleveland is where quarterback careers go to die. First things first, however: RG3 will need to win the starting job.
The expectation is that he'll do so -- the competition includes 36-year-old Josh McCown and rookie third-rounder Cody Kessler -- but the races remains wide open as the Browns close OTAs.
"I don't think (I'm ready yet),'' first-year coach Hue Jackson said, via Cleveland.com. "I'm seeing the improvement out of the whole group that I'm looking for, but we still have a little bit more that I need to see to feel very comfortable and confident in saying 'this is our guy.' They're all competing extremely hard and extremely well and when the time is right, trust me -- you guys will be the first to know what that is that we're going to do.''
Jackson comes to Cleveland with a history of getting the most out of his young quarterbacks, and the hope is that he can do that with Griffin, the 2012 offensive rookie off the year who floundered in his final three seasons with the Redskins. This reality isn't lost on Jackson, who met with Griffin several times before the team signed him to a two-year, $15 million deal this spring.
"When I looked in his eyes, I see a young man who's been kicked around a little bit," Jackson told TheMMQB.com's Peter King in March. "When we talked, there was a humility to him. He took ownership of what happened to him, of what he needs to work on to be good. He knows he played a big part in what happened. There are still questions to address and work to be done. He knows. In this league, you don't always get another chance like this. Here's one."
So far, so good.
"[Griffin's] made tremendous strides,'' Jackson said this week. "He's getting better and growing each and every day. I'm very proud of the work he's put in. It hasn't been perfect all the time, but it's been really good, and I see glimpses of it being extremely good and that's what we're chasing and that's at every position.''
Veteran cornerback Joe Haden sounded similar sentiments to those of his head coach.
"I've seen [RG3] has something to prove," Haden said. "He feels people aren't looking at him (the way they did) when he came out of college. I think he still has that talent. I know he feels like he still has that talent, that ability to be a starting quarterback in the league."
Meanwhile, Browns executive vice president of football operations Sashi Brown thinks RG3 could possibly be the long-term answer in Cleveland, a team that just drafted a quarterback and has had 24 starting quarterbacks since 1999.
"Our plan would be for Robert, if it carries out, to come in, solidify himself and then, if we felt like he's our answer longer term, to begin working on a longer-term deal," Brown said last month. "Way premature to be talking about that at this point. He's got to be able to come in, earn the starting job and then be able to show that he can lead our offense in a manner that's going to allow us to be successful to compete for this division and ultimately for the Super Bowl.
"That comment [about Griffin being able to play in Cleveland for a long time] was certainly in line with that, but also the fact that he's just 26 years old and he wants to play for a long time. He provides that upside, if he's able to come in and do what's first, which is establish himself as a starter and a capable starter for us."
Assuming, of course, RG3 wins the starting gig.
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