Terry Pluto: RGIII's Health is a Question, but at Least the Brown's Needn't Sweat the Internet
The Cleveland Browns are in a familiar spot this offseason --- looking to find a new quarterback. Just weeks after cutting troubled QB Johnny Manziel, the Browns signed Robert Griffin III. Griffin, who’s known as RGIII, is looking for a fresh start after he was released by Washington. WKSU commentator Terry Pluto weighs in:
Fans might remember that back in 2012, the Browns were clamoring to draft RGIII, but instead he ended up in Washington.
"St Louis owned the pick and at that point they had a quarterback named Sam Bradford and they liked him. So they ran an auction to see who would get the pick. The biggest bidders were the Browns and Washington in one of the biggest trades ever made -- for RGIII."
A solid rookie season
Pluto says Griffin's rookie season was sensational. "He had 20 touchdown passes and I think he only had five interceptions. He ran for 820 yards, which was a lot for a quarterback.
"There was once something very special about him. The question is, 'Can we keep him healthy?'"
"RGIII actually was an elite track man along with being a star quarterback at Baylor. You see him with the ball and these big 300 pounders are trying tackle to him. They jump at him as they’re grabbing air and he’s dancing around them, slipping by. Next thing you know he’s darting down the sidelines and touchdown."
Plagued by injuries and a bad attitude
Griffin led Washington to the playoffs his rookie season.
"He goes back and he gets hit. Basically, they lose the game and he finds out he just trashed his knee. So, this rookie quarterback -- this sensation -- while he has a good arm but his legs are what made him special, is heading back to knee surgery.
He returned the following season in a fast turnaround.
"In fact, probably came back too fast. He didn’t move well and [they] started losing. So that’s the end of his second season."
Then, in his third NFL season in 2014: "He gets hit; dislocates his ankle. So now he misses like half of that season.
In 2015, "He’s battling a guy named Kirk Cousins for the job. Second preseason game, drops back to pass and gets hit. Severe concussion. Cousins steps in and wins the job." Griffin spent the entire season on the bench. “He didn’t take a snap all year. In fact, he was the third-string quarterback.”
Why do the Browns want him?
The Browns, are like, 'OK, does he have anything left?' He had some pouty moments. But last year, when he came back from the concussion, he was pretty good."
And, new Browns coach Hue Jackson's specialty is mentoring quarterbacks. ”The only thing we gotta hope is that Jackson doesn’t have a messiah complex when it comes to quarterbacks that he can fix anyone."
But, Pluto says the Browns did a good job vetting Griffin before signing him.
"They brought him in to Berea and did the medical on him, looked at the knee and the knee looked pretty good. Then they worked him out. His attitude was good. And they looked at it this way: 'You know what? It doesn’t cost us a draft pick to sign him.' The money is like $6 million guaranteed which is like pennies for a quarterback."
Overall, Pluto likes the signing.
"There was once something very special about him. It’s not like he’s 35-years-old -- he’s in his middle 20’s. It’s not like he’s running around at night. As one of the Browns executives told me, 'We don’t have to deal with what’s going to be on the internet.' He said that’s never been a problem with Robert. The question is, 'Can we keep him healthy?'"
Will the Browns still draft a quarterback at No. 2?
"I still think they will. Because even if he comes back and plays well, he’s going to get hurt again at some point. So you’re going to need a younger guy to bring in.
"So I think you still go back and forth with the No. 2 pick between Jared Goff or Carson Wentz. And they told Griffin that: Just because we’re bringing you in, you’re not guaranteed anything and we’re probably going to take a quarterback. Their feeling is, let’s load up on a couple of these quarterbacks and have some good options."
"I know this about Griffin from talking to some people who know him. Whatever he has left in terms of work ethic, he’s going to give it to them. He’s really going to work to try and come back and make this work."