You read that right. It only took one drive to see the same old Robert Griffin III in his first preseason action as a Cleveland Brown. In fact, Griffin’s entire first drive reminds me of how his career in Washington went. Let’s take a look at each play on that drive.
On just his first play from scrimmage, Griffin lightly pumped left, then went deep to his receiver, Terrelle Pryor, for a pickup of 49 yards. Wow! I must say, RG3 got off to a hot start with that beautifully thrown pass. He didn’t even stare Pryor down the whole time like he did frequently in Washington when he made his first read. He was, however, knocked down on the play which was something Washington fans saw too much. Could the RG3 from 2012, the one that won offensive rookie of the year award, be making a return to Cleveland? Perhaps the next play would be a good indicator.
Perhaps not. Griffin took the snap and failed to hand the ball off to his running back, resulting in a fumble and a loss on the play. This is reminiscent of Griffin making a big play as a Redskin, only to be followed with an embarrassing play or serious injury. One moment Redskins fans would be stomping their feet in excitement, and the next they’d be moaning in disbelief.
Griffin looked sharp on his next two passes, completing for seven and eight yards respectively. But, a couple of plays later he (once again) looked like the same old RG3, throwing a terrible pass over the middle. Green Bay intercepted the pass at their own one yard line. Griffin’s tight end didn’t even look ready for the pass to be thrown so maybe there was some miscommunication in Griffin’s defense.
His last three passing attempts fell incomplete – a forgettable ending to his Cleveland debut. It is only preseason game number one and it was evident that the Browns were not opening up the complete playbook to exploit the full package of RG3. There were no 78 yard touchdown runs, no option plays and no visible chants of “Rg3!” The early look at Griffin doesn’t signal any promises that the Rg3 of 2012 has arrived in Cleveland, despite a fresh start to this chapter of his career.
All in all, Griffin flat out still lacks pocket awareness. I would be shocked if he turned in a season as dominant as his rookie one if he were to play more in the pocket and less as a scrambler. His main asset is his speed and ability to throw on the run. Take that away from him and you’ve got a quarterback who doesn’t step up in the pocket or make smart decisions. At least that was the case in Washington. Stay tuned for Robert Griffin III’s next preseason action for another takeaway from his performance.