RG3 injured, Browns to start Josh McCown in home opener
The Browns Robert Griffin III experiment did last nearly as long as Johnny Manziel, but the pain of Griffin’s opening week shoulder injury is going to linger for a while.
If Brown fans could not think the season could start any worse than that 29-10 thumping at the hands of the Eagles in Philadelphia, then just wait for what lies ahead.
Griffin III will miss at least the next 8 games with a broken bone in his left shoulder suffered in the final minutes while he was scrambling towards the sideline.
Although he likely will not need surgery, but the injury prone former No. 2 pick out of Baylor, may miss the season. He will be re-evaluated in 3-4 weeks.
McCown actually was the Browns best option at quarterback during last season abysmal campaign. He set a club record with 457 yards passing in an overtime victory over the Ravens last season, but is just 2-17 as a starter the worst in the history of the NFL for a QB with 10 stars or more.
His first test will come against a team that owns the Browns, against Baltimore at FirstEnergy Stadium Sunday.
Optimistic head coach Hue Jackson called the injury very unfortunate.
"It's very unfortunate, Robert came in and has worked extremely hard to learn our offense and earn the respect of his teammates," Jackson said in the release. "This is a tough loss because everyone has seen how invested he has been in this team and his dedication to the work needed to improve his craft. We all know these are the realities of the NFL, injuries occur and you have to find ways to overcome them so they don't impede your progress.''
Former USC star rookie Cody Kessler will be fast tracked into the back-up role behind McCown.
"Robert will do everything in his power to rehab and get healthy but Josh McCown is on this roster for a reason and we have great confidence in him,'' Jackson said. "He is more than capable. His veteran presence has been an asset to our team throughout our process of preparing for the season. We look forward to him assuming the role of the starter and leading our offensive unit."
Griffin suffered the injury on an 11-yard scramble in the fourth quarter when he was trying to run out of bounds. Instead, he was blasted by rookie cornerback Jalen Mills just as he reached the sideline.
"(We) just have to monitor it and see how it goes,'' Griffin said in his postgame press conference. "I can move my left arm. I'm in pain, but it will be OK, just have to monitor it. We'll see more tomorrow and see how my shoulder is feeling and just move on from there."
"Yeah the guy kind of surprised me there on the sideline trying to get out of bounds,'' Griffin said. "It was an unfortunate play. Just trying to score a touchdown and put us in a position to have a chance to win the game. It hurt pretty bad, but I felt like I had to get back out there and finish the battle with my teammates out on the field."
On the next play, he was knocked down again after an incomplete pass to Andrew Hawkins and came up wincing.
"It all hurt,'' he said. "The play happened, and you just have to move on from it."
Griffin said he decided to run out of bounds there instead of sliding.
"I feel like I did a decent job of protecting myself recently and wanted to continue that,'' he said. "But in the heat of that moment it kind of just surprised me."
Griffin still finished the game.
"He's a tough guy, he's our leader, our captain,'' said Terrelle Pryor. "That's why we picked him as our captain because he's a tough guy and we respect him with the utmost respect. It's awesome for him to come out there and finish with us, no matter what he had going on. But it's just awesome to see."
McCown, who went 1-7 last season, played well last season before succumbing to a broken collarbone and being placed on injured reserve for the final five games. He completed 63.7% of his passes with 12 touchdowns and four interceptions. He earned a 93.3 rating, which was 14th in the NFL.
The Browns begin the season with a league high 17 rookies and a defense that projects at the bottom of the NFL.
Jackson as offensive guru will have his work cut out for him with the Ravens coming to town.
Yeah, that team that should really be the Cleveland Browns and two Super Bowl victories.
The Browns have none and the struggle to the top of the mountain only gets tougher as they crawl from the bottom.