RGIII's NFL future: Will the fifth-year QB bounce back in Cleveland?

Robert Griffin III is getting a second chance, as the former Washington Redksins quarterback signed a two-year deal with the Cleveland Browns on Thursday.

Griffin, who is entering his fifth NFL season, will team up with first-year head coach Hue Jackson in an attempt to rejuvenate his career after a series of ups and downs in Washington. In 2012, Griffin took the league by storm and led the Redskins to the playoffs for the first time in five seasons before suffering a major injury. Following the knee surgery, he struggled to produce in 2013 and 2014, and was replaced as starter by Kirk Cousins in 2015.

So in the wake of Griffin signing with the Browns, one simple question comes to mind: Do you still believe in RGIII?

I absolutely believe in RGIII as a starting quarterback in the NFL. The former Heisman Trophy winner was the second overall pick in the 2012 draft and lived up to the hype that preceded his arrival in Washington by winning the Offensive Rookie of the Year award. Griffin was spectacular in every sense of the word as an electric athlete with exceptional arm talent. Most impressive, he was a standout leader with the charisma and intangibles needed to lift his team to a division title under his direction. Although Griffin's game regressed in subsequent years due to injuries, trust issues (coach/player), inconsistent performance and a poor scheme fit (Jay Gruden's offense), he is too young (26) and talented for us to dismiss his potential as a playmaker, particularly in an offense directed by Hue Jackson and Pep Hamilton. Each guy has enjoyed tremendous success with young quarterbacks by adapting their respective systems to accentuate the strengths of their signal-callers.

Thus, I expect to see Griffin enjoy an Alex Smith-like resurgence as a starting quarterback in a new environment. Remember, Smith was considered a bust prior to Jim Harbaugh's arrival in San Francisco, but he rejuvenated his career under the tutelage of a hard-nosed coach that instilled confidence in him and tweaked the offense to suit his skills. Jackson and Hamilton could do the same for RGIII with a "tough love" approach that will challenge the QB to take his game to the next level, while repairing his confidence and swagger.

In the NFL, great players find a way to bounce back from adversity, and I would expect RGIII to rediscover his mojo under a coaching staff that believes in his talents. Robert Griffin III seems to have lost the belief in himself. When he came into the league, he was very confident -- some would say over-confident -- in his physical abilities, and then he got hurt. After the injury, I think he was physically able to get back to 100 percent but not mentally, and we saw that in his play the next two seasons. I think that's where things need to change.

He's been humbled in Washington, and that's going to help him out in the long run. I think he picked a tough place to resurrect his career because Cleveland has been the quarterback graveyard, but it's a good opportunity. He has as good a chance as ever in Cleveland at becoming the starter, but I'm curious to see how he fits with this offense. That will play a big factor in his success. The answer is yes. For the Cleveland Browns, Robert Griffin III will be the team's 25th starting quarterback since 1999 -- including the first overall pick in the 1999 draft, Tim Couch. I believe RGIII will do well for a number of reasons. In Hue Jackson, he has a head coach who is very good at coaching quarterbacks. See what he has done with Andy Dalton, Carson Palmer and AJ McCarron. Further, Jackson has hired Al Saunders, who has been around the game for a long time and understands quarterback play. Assistant coach Pep Hamilton is also very good with quarterbacks.

He's a very smart guy, so it won't take him long to learn. And him sitting out a year and getting his body healthy will also help a great deal. Signing RGIII was a terrific move for Cleveland, and he will fulfill expectations that people within the organization have for him. I never believed in RGIII. He had a good season in 2012, but since defensive coordinators figured him out, he hasn't proven anything. People wanted to use his knee injury as an excuse for his play in 2013 and 2014, but his knee wasn't the problem. His limitations lie in his mentality, and that, along with his lack of awareness post-snap, have affected his ability to be successful. In a 2.5-second window after the ball is snapped, quarterbacks have to be able to see the field and adapt, and RGIII doesn't do that. I don't think it's over for Robert Griffin III because it didn't work out in Washington. He still was good enough to be the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year, and it's impossible to know what a new environment could do for him. Remember, he didn't get along with two head coaches in Washington and went through major knee surgery. Let's see what happens when he's healthy. Let's also watch what Browns head coach Hue Jackson teaches him after RGII has been humbled. We've seen other quarterbacks redeem themselves after tougher struggles -- Kerry Collins, Michael Vick and Alex Smith come to mind -- so I won't give up on RGIII just yet. If Hue Jackson still believes in RGIII, then I still believe. But did I believe in the RGIII in Jay Gruden's system? Absolutely not, and he should never have to play in that type of offense. I think the spread offense -- that RGIII is most successful in -- is prominent enough that coaches should be able to implement that style. We saw Jackson use the spread offense a little bit with Andy Dalton in Cincinnati, and now he has a quarterback with a more dynamic skill set. RGIII can still become a really successful quarterback in this league. I think a lot of people want him to fail because it seemed like he faded without a fight in Washington. But the reality is, the kid was winning early in his career because he had talent, and the key is putting him in the right position. The reason that the Carolina Panthers are as successful as they are is because Cam Newton fits perfectly into what they run on offense. If you build somewhat of the same spread-ish, NFL style offense around RGIII and give him weapons to work with, I think he'll have success in Cleveland.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content

Gamepass_vert_web_r

See all the Action

Replay every game all season.