RGIII Has a Real Shot at Redemption Under New Cleveland Regime

RGIII makes for an interesting redemption story in Cleveland.

Whether it was his inability to adapt as a passer, stay healthy, or lead others, some believe Robert Griffin III was mostly at fault for his Washington falling out.

Others believe Mike Shanahan was to blame for RGIII’s downward spiral in D.C.

Anthony Stalter
Anthony Stalter

That said, Jay Gruden decided to pass on RGIII’s freakish athletic skills for Kirk Cousins.

If you believe Shanahan was all to blame for RGIII’s collapse, then you must believe Gruden also mishandled the situation.

You can’t have it both ways. Either RGIII was the issue or Shanahan and Gruden were the problem.

Or all-of-the-above were to blame that 2012’s Offensive Rookie of the Year ended up running with the scout team as a safety in 2015.

Regardless, Cleveland is RGIII’s new home and Hue Jackson’s former players have praised him for being a coach that gets maximum potential out of them.

The new Browns coach instills confidence in players and disallows them to accept their performances as good enough.

If Jackson can accomplish the same feat with RGIII it’s possible the Browns will get off the quarterback merry-go-round of death they’ve been on for over a decade.

That said, signing RGIII shouldn’t stop the Browns from drafting a QB at No. 2…

…Assuming, of course, that Cleveland loves Carson Wentz or Jared Goff. As I previously eluded to, RGIII had a hand in his D.C. fallout. There were reasons why he was released.

Wentz is a 6-foot-5, 230-pound signal-caller with zip on his passes and excellent pocket presence. On many occasions playing at FCS North Dakota State, he’d feel pressure, move in the pocket to find functional space, all while keeping his eyes downfield and squaring his shoulders for accurate throws.

MMQB’s Robert Klemko recently detailed how Wentz called the protection out on every pass play, a job most NFL centers have. In other words, his football IQ is off the charts.

The draft is the ultimate crapshoot, especially when it comes to finding the right quarterback. Wentz, who reportedly scored a 40 on the Wonderlic Test, is a film rat who avoids the nightlife. He’s the anti-Johnny Manziel.

He’ll also be available for the Browns at No. 2. So assuming Cleveland’s scouts are enamored with Wentz, a two-year flier on RGIII should hardly prevent them from taking the draft’s best quarterback prospect.

The Ravens are the latest example of how difficult it is to have sustained success in NFL

Courtney Upshaw signed with the Falcons over the weekend, which means only three starters remain from the Ravens’ 2012 Super Bowl team. Joe Flacco is one of those players, so Baltimore should remain relatively competitive for the foreseeable future.

That said, the Ravens have missed the playoffs twice in the three years following their Super Bowl XLVII win over San Francisco. Like most teams in the NFL, Baltimore has grappled with declining performances from core players and others retiring.

Free agents are also being plucked by opponents in a competitive market to go along with their draft misshaps. (Not to mention watching their cap space vanish when they paid Flacco $120.6 million following his I’m-going-to-bet-on-myself gamble.)

By the way, the 49ers have also missed the playoffs the past two seasons after losing to the Ravens in SBXLVII, then coming within one Richard Sherman interception in the NFC title game from returning to the Super Bowl the next year. San Francisco is even on its third coach in three years.

In baseball, players have an opportunity to develop while climbing the ranks in the minors. If they’re talented enough to make the big leagues, they often enter their prime years while still under arbitration. That means teams have an opportunity to keep their core players, sometimes at a cost-controlled price.

In football, if players don’t make an impact early in their careers, the talent infusion dries up quickly, teams lose and then front offices look to replace the head coach after only four years (or sometimes shorter).

When players do succeed early, teams have to either pony up to keep them in place or risk watching someone they just spent four years developing land in the hands of a competitor.

Compared to the other professional sports leagues, the window to win a championship in the NFL appears microscopic.

Read More: NFL Free Agency: Quick Hits on Former Rams, Manziel’s Future, Giants