On Wednesday, the Cleveland Browns announced their five captains for the 2016 NFL season:
- Offense: QB Robert Griffin III, LT Joe Thomas
- Defense: ILB Demario Davis, CB Joe Haden
- Special Teams: ILB Tank Carder
According to Browns.com, the captains were voted on by teammates, and will be in effect for the entire season. The last time Cleveland had the same team captains for an entire season came in 2013, which was when Rob Chudzinski was the team’s head coach and Ray Horton was the defensive coordinator.
Browns head coach Hue Jackson spoke about the captains selected by the locker room, and his pleasant surprise that Griffin was one of them despite his short tenure in Cleveland:
On the Browns selecting team captains today and the quality of QB Robert Griffin III’s leadership:
“The testament of Robert being named captain is it came from his teammates. They voted on it. Coaches had nothing to do with it. This was all his teammates. Obviously, he has embedded himself within the organization and this team, his teammates. I think that he has shown them that he is somebody that they can depend on and look to and that he is working each and every day to not only better himself but also his teammates, along with (OL) Joe Thomas on offense and (LB) Demario Davis and (DB) Joe Haden on defense and (LB) Tank Carder. I’m excited about the guys who were voted captains because those guys have worked extremely hard to change the culture and also to want to change our fortunes here from what they have been in the past.”
On Donald Trump claiming elections are rigged these days and if he can confirm that the results of team captain elections are 100 percent accurate:
“They are 100 percent accurate. Wow, that one almost went over my head (laughter). Donald Trump? Hue Trump (laughter)? No. We didn’t do that. I looked at them. I was a little surprised – I’ll be very honest with you – because obviously, Robert hasn’t been here very long and we haven’t played a real football game yet. For him to be voted captain, he should feel good about that. His teammates feel good about him. No, we didn’t rig that by no stretch of the imagination.”
If the Browns were going to pick season-long captains, they chose the right guys. Thomas, Haden, and Carder are no-brainers, because they are the longest-tenured and respected players on their units.
On defense, every other position except for Davis pretty much consists of a rookie or second-year player. Between Davis and John Hughes, Davis already has the captain-like role of a middle (inside) linebacker. On offense, you’re not going to have two offensive linemen be captains, so that rules out John Greco. Then, you’re down to Griffin, Andrew Hawkins, or Gary Barnidge. Barnidge would’ve been a solid choice as well, but you always like to see the quarterback earn that respect above anyone else.
Before I end this post, let’s take a trip down memory lane — who were those season-long captains back in 2013? There were only three: Joe Thomas on offense, D’Qwell Jackson on defense, and Quentin Groves on special teams.