by Ken Carman
Listen to The Ken Carman Show with Anthony Lima weekday mornings from 6 am-10 am on 92.3 The Fan
You can hear the arguments. It’s late November, early December. Those calls are coming.
“GET RID OF HIM!”
“GET RID OF THEM ALL!”
Right now, that might seem a little foolish, but put yourself in that chair.
The Browns just fell to the Giants to make them 1-11 on the season, or even worse. Maybe 0-12 with the BYE week and four games to go.
Today we have some perspective. Tomorrow might be a lot different. And it all started on September 11th.
It really shouldn’t have though. Robert Griffin III might have been the guy for this year, but he was never truly the guy who’s the long term answer.
Back in the spring when the Browns signed RGIII, it was never assumed that it would change their long term plans. How could it? This was a guy coming off a major knee injury, and was trying to resurrect his career while trying to become a different style of quarterback. We knew it was going to be a long shot to really work.
But – there we were – on Sunday afternoon. One former No. 2 pick struggling while the current No. 2 pick gained confidence, pass by pass, and whipped the ball down the field. We had seen frustration before, but this looked like an entirely new chapter.
Yet, while Griffin III and Carson Wentz played on the same field on Sunday, that’s really where their connection ends.
It couldn’t have been an either/or for the Browns.
Analytics, pie charts, “football guys” or a drunk sitting on a stool at a bar wouldn’t have made it an either/or. A 6’5″ monster of a QB OR a much smaller QB trying to regain glory?
No. Never. Never. Ever. Ever. EVER.
You wouldn’t decide that, and neither would the Browns. Neither of you would be that dumb.
Whatever it was, Hue Jackson did see something in Robert Griffin III. Who knows? It may still be there, but after his injury in Sunday’s game, he may never get to show us. Even if Griffin III was able to return after his time on IR, it may be too little, too late to change minds made up for a QB at the top of the 2017 NFL draft class.
The Browns do have a lot of responsibility on their shoulders after this draft.
But none of it has anything to do with Robert Griffin III.
If Carson Wentz goes out and becomes the next Tom Brady, they’ll forever be the team that passed on a QB dumped into their lap.
A terrible 2015 season gave way to one of the youngest Browns teams ever. They sat with a chance to grow together. Instead they acquired more picks, which are only good ideas, not actual players. Maybe Wentz would fail with a team so young in Cleveland around him? Maybe he would have gotten hurt the first game of his career against the Eagles? Those are things we ask now but those are questions that won’t be asked in the future because the winners are the ones who write the history, and the Browns would be known for yet another failure. At least there were six guys drafted ahead of Brady. The Browns had one pick, Jared Goff ahead of them.
Of course, Wentz could just suck for the rest of his career too. Robert Griffin III was 19/26 for 320 yards, 2TD, 0 INT, 139.9 RATING in his first NFL game against New Orleans, on his way to Offensive Rookie of the Year. It really has been ONE game. Wentz isn’t out of the woods yet.
It’s the same situation, but a different argument for the aforementioned Jared Goff. He was in street clothes as the Rams were hammered on Monday night. Goff is the backups backup on a mediocre football team. He’ll get to play someday, and we’ll see whether Jeff Fisher is handling his expensive quarterback correctly, or if he’ll bust out of the league, becoming the example of divine intervention itself trying to help the Browns to take Carson Wentz, and the Browns not taking the Highest Power’s help.
Facts are, there are so many things that can play out from the 2015 draft. Cowboys’ rookie QB Dak Prescott wasn’t throwing against base defense in week one and it showed. Paxton Lynch sat behind Trevor Siemien, who somehow fooled America into thinking he was good, even though his numbers were nearly as bad as RG3’s We really have no idea … because, you know … it’s the FIRST WEEK OF THE SEASON.
There’s still plenty at stake for the Browns this season. Every week is a chance for fans to evaluate play of very young players, and to determine if this front office is off to a good start. Whether Corey Coleman is a top flight wide receiver, and whether or not Carl Nassib will continue to improve game by game is all yet to be seen.
At the end of the season, we’ll ask ourselves the following of Hue Jackson: If he’s such a quarterback guru, how about taking a quarterback at the top of the draft? One with skill, size, and ability, and working your “magic” on that guy.
If the Browns draft a quarterback next year, he’ll be compared to Wentz or Goff, or both, constantly. He’ll be tested behind a team that’s still young, and that will still make mistakes. He’ll be tested to help change a culture, and to be someone the Browns can rely on to go out and win a game. Something most people reading this have only heard of from their dads when they saw Bernie Kosar play.
Or, it’ll all go to hell again. Another few years wasted. Even less trust. Even less stability. Even more questions.
One question you can answer, is that the Browns didn’t pick Carson Wentz because they didn’t like Carson Wentz. And they’ll be on the hook for that.
But the Browns didn’t pick Robert Griffin III over Carson Wentz.
Even the smartest guys in the room aren’t that dumb.