Imagine you are an NFL head coach and you are taking over a team that went 3-13 a year ago, and hasn’t had a winning season since 2007.
Your bosses have tried several way to build a successful franchise, and in the off-season, they traded away or cut several veterans, and let a few more leave via free agency.
So, there isn’t a lot of pressure on you to win immediately, but the owner, the front office, and the fan base would like to see some progress as the season goes on.
You have several candidates for the starting quarterback position–
One is the former second overall pick in the draft after winning the Heisman Trophy, and in his rookie year took his team to the NFL playoffs. He blew out his knee in that game, and hasn’t been the same since.
The second candidate is a 37-year-old journeyman with a career record as a starter of 18-39, and over the last two years, seasons in which he started 19 of 32 games, his record is 2-17.
He has started just 57 games in a 13 year career.
You also have on the roster a third year QB who started five games in his second year in the league and was pressed into service to start two more games with your team a season ago, both of which were losses.
And you have a rookie third round draft pick from one of the elite college programs in the country. He’s a guy you really like and you went out on a limb to take him where you did. Still, he’s a rookie and you don’t want to expose him to the NFL before he’s ready to play.
The team in question of course are the Cleveland Browns and the quarterbacks at Hue Jackson’s disposal are Robert Griffin III, Josh McCown, Austin Davis, and Cody Kessler.
Jackson picked Griffin, and really, didn’t have much of a decision. That’s the logical move.
The Browns’ players and coaching staff will no doubt try to win every game, but there is little expectation going into the regular season of the playoffs.
Let’s face it, the only QBs currently on the roster who have a chance to be a quality NFL signal caller are Griffin and Kessler, and once again, the latter is a rookie.
The organization knows what McCown is. He’s a terrific teammate, a hard worker, and a guy you can put into a game without your franchise being embarrassed.
They also know what he isn’t, and that’s a quality NFL starter, and a guy with a history of winning football games. McCown is good enough to give you a decent performance and he will keep you in a game, but likely you won’t win.
Heck, the guy who started two of the three victories by the Browns a year ago, isn’t even in the NFL right now.
We have no idea if Griffin can become a successful passer from the pocket, because his success in Washington was with a hybrid offense. But in a rebuilding season? Why not find out.
If Griffin can make the transformation, the Browns have caught lightning in a bottle. If he doesn’t, you still have Kessler and a likely a high draft pick in next year’s draft.
But this is a year to experiment. That’s why Jackson’s decision was just the logical move.