The news became official today — the Browns have a new starting quarterback.
Head coach Hue Jackson named Robert Griffin III as the starter today, a story that ruled the headlines for day nine of training camp in Berea.
Jackson’s quotes, as always, come first, followed by the players’ thoughts. You can find Jackson’s full presser here, and the players’ transcripts here.
- For the first time this training camp, Jackson did not have an opening statement, instead asking for questions. The first question was in regards to Joe Haden, who returned to action today.
“We have a plan in place, and we’re just going to take our time. It’s just great to have him back out there in a uniform and bouncing around. I’m excited about him being out there. He’s one of our better defensive players and one the better players in the league. To get him back gives our whole defense a jolt. We’re going to take our time and make sure he is totally right. Obviously, he has had nothing as far as being with the team and practicing that way. We’ll ease him back into it. We have a plan and we’ll get him back there as soon as we can.”
- The obvious question, about RG3, came next. Jackson said he feels good about the choice, but it’s up to Griffin to validate the decision.
“He played the way I think a quarterback has to play. I think he did it, flawlessly. I think he did everything I asked him to do. I know sometimes you guys judge it maybe a little differently than I do. I get that, but I think he did a great job. He has continued to do a great job, but again, he has got to continue to get better, too. By no stretch is this an excel moment. He has got to buckle down and still keep improving each and every day. That’s what the expectation is for that position [...] Now, he has to do the work, but we’ve made a commitment to him and he has to go make it right.”
- Speaking of Griffin, Jackson provided this interesting insight into the offense. It comes as no surprise that the quarterback is the focal point of the offense, but the extent of the quarterback’s importance is a tad bit surprising.
“It’s all about the quarterback. Our football team is driven by the quarterback so everything we do on offense is about the quarterbacks. It’s not about the running backs. It’s not about the line. It’s about the quarterback. How do we make him successful? We all know if the quarterback plays well, then the team normally plays very well. My job, (associate head coach – offense) Pep’s (Hamilton) job, the rest of our staff’s job is to make the quarterback as comfortable as we can and have him play the best that he can play.”
- Josh Gordon is still out due to injury, even though he’s been technically reinstated. As Jackson said, Gordon needs to lose some weight, but Jackson likes the wide receiver’s initiative.
“He’ll be the first to tell you that. He does. We’re working through that process, too. He’s done a great job, off of the field, obviously. Even when he’s out here, I think you can see he is into practice. The guy carries a script with him everywhere he goes. He’s making sure that he’s staying in it the best he can. When he walks back out there, I think he has something to prove too. It’s good to have a guy with a chip on his shoulder.”
- At the end of his presser, Jackson talked about the many hamstring injuries in camp this season.
“They are totally unavoidable. I think we’ve done a good job because I don’t think guys are staying out a long time. I don’t see (WR) Corey’s (Coleman) being something that’s going to keep him out for a long period of time. Obviously, Hawk (WR Andrew Hawkins) has had a history of hamstrings a little bit. We need to do that better, figure out a way to where that doesn’t get him. I remember the play when it happened. It happened with him putting his foot into the ground. Sometimes those things happen. It’s unfortunate. I think our guys have done a great job. The amount of running that these men do, and what I ask them to do is quite a bit. The guys have done a good job thus far, but we do have to guard against the soft tissue injuries.
- On a final note, John Hughes III remains out due to a personal issue, which Jackson decided not to touch more on.
QB Robert Griffin III
- Following the big announcement, Griffin explained the feeling of winning the competition. RG3 sounded business-like at first, but did open up about persevering through the tough times in Washington.
“No, there’s no sense of relief. You come out every day for an opportunity. I’m thankful that to (Head) Coach (Hue Jackson) that he believes in me. I’m thankful my teammates believe in me. I’m just going to get ready for today’s practice, go out and get ready for Green Bay [...] Everything that you go through in life is a lesson. It’s up to you to decide to use lesson that in a positive or negative way. Since I got here, I’ve been really thankful for the opportunity because they don’t come around that often. When you get one, you have to seize it.”
WR Corey Coleman
- The Browns’ new #1 wideout is not a flashy guy off the field, at least in front of the media, which is clear after observing his press conferences. Coleman did not talk much during his presser, dismissing fears about his “sore hamstring.” However, Coleman did give RG3 this bit of praise.
“He’s the starting quarterback. He throws the ball just as good as anybody. Deep ball is beautiful. He has a lot of touch on it. He knows where to put it. He has a really strong arm.”
OL Spencer Drango
- One of the young stars in camp, Drango has fought hard for the starting spot at right tackle, and just might earn it. We knew Drango fit more as a guard coming into the league, but Drango’s complete lack of experience at right tackle is interesting.
“Other than in the spring, I played two years at right tackle in high school. Everything else has been left so I just have to overcome those tendencies I have at left and put them on the right side [...] I think of myself as a technician. Technique right now is a little lacking on the right so I just have to keep working every day to keep that up. As we go forward, that’s what I pride myself on.”
CB Joe Haden
- After receiving medical clearance from the training staff today, Haden spoke to the media. The veteran spoke only of the injury, saying his only concern is making it back for the Browns’ first game on September 11.
“I think they’re doing a really good job of just taking their time. I think a lot of it is precaution, just making sure that they know there is no rush right now to get back. I’m trying to get back as soon as possible, and whenever I’m ready at like full percent to be able to go, then they’ll put me back in there.”
QB Josh McCown
As great as today’s news was for RG3, it was great for McCown. The wizened vet still said the process was fair and RG3 is playing well so far in camp. McCown seems willing to help out RG3, Cody Kessler, and Austin Davis, which bodes well for the Browns.
“Obviously, as a competitor, you want to play. You want to be the guy, but I understood the direction we were going. I’m excited for our team. I said this last time that I talked: I’ve been on both ends of it. When the quarterback competitions kind of drag out through training camp, I don’t know if you’re any better off because then you have two guys that kind of had half reps. I think it’s great that we know who it is. Moving forward, we’re behind that guy. Our team can rally around that guy, and we can move forward accordingly. Robert is certainly plying at a high level right now, and that’s exciting. As a competitor, you want to be on the field, you want to play, there’s no question about that. At the same time, it’s so much bigger. It’s about the team. Now, that question is settled and we can go move forward in our game planning this week for Green Bay and ultimately for Philly Week 1.”
WR Terrelle Pryor
- Few players have improved in training camp as much as Pryor. Surprisingly, his approach to practice is fairly simple.
“Like I said before, every day I just try to pick one thing and work on it. I can’t think of 30 things and then go on the field and expect to make that expectation. That’s how I depend on [improving]. There’s one day, the scrimmage, I went without catching a ball, but my whole going into that, my whole mentality was blocking and getting on the angles of blocks. I thought I got better that day for me. That’s what this game is about – picking things, one or two things and going out there and trying to execute it.”
- Also, an interesting tidbit on RG3:
“He’s chill. He’s really relaxed. He FaceTimes his daughter and his wife a lot. He’s a family guy. He’s teammate first. He’s awesome. You guys would love him as a teammate or somebody that you work with. He’s awesome.”
DL Danny Shelton
- Following a tough rookie campaign, the Hawaiian native lost weight over the offseason, drawing positive reviews from the coaches. Shelton also had positive words for the new staff, which might interest Browns fans.
“I think everybody is on the same page. I think that’s the biggest difference. That’s the biggest thing people can see is that we have every position group, everyone as far as class from rookie to two years to 13 years, everybody is on the same page. Everybody has bought in to (Head) Coach (Hue) Jackson’s system. It’s going great.”
That’s it for tonight’s edition of Clips and Quips. We’ll see you back here at DBN tomorrow for day ten of training camp.