BEREA, Ohio-- Everyone knew it was coming.
In a surprise to no one following the Browns, Hue Jackson announced Monday morning that Robert Griffin III is the Browns starting quarterback through a release put out by the team.
Jackson said after Saturday's Orange and Brown scrimmage in Columbus that he was "close" to naming the quarterback after Griffin III unofficially completed 12-of-19 passes, including two touchdowns on Saturday.
"It's time," Jackson said. "Robert has earned the right to be named the starting quarterback of the Cleveland Browns. Since he was signed back in March, Robert has made it clear through his actions that he is willing to do everything that has been asked of him to earn this role. Throughout this process he has gained the respect from his teammates, the coaching staff and the entire organization that is necessary for him to lead our offense and really the entire team.
"Pep (Hamilton) has done an outstanding job with that room to get us to this point so we can make this decision at what I feel is the optimal time which enables us to best prepare for the regular season," he said. "It's now on Robert to show the organization and our fans that this is the right decision. Throughout the offseason program and training camp, Robert has shown improvement every day and we expect him to continue to ascend as he becomes more and more acclimated to the offensive system we will employ this season. I've been crystal clear on what we expect from Robert. He fully understands the responsibility and I feel he is ready to handle this role."
Those following the Browns since Griffin III was signed are not surprised as he has taken virtually all of the reps with the first team since OTA's began after he signed with the Browns.
Griffin III says he doesn't take being the starting quarterback lightly
“It’s an honor," Griffin III said before practice. "It’s an honor to be one of 32 in this league. You take that, you respect that and you continue to go out and work and try to get better.
"I’m thankful for my teammates and coach Jackson, Sashi (Brown) and all these guys for believing me as a player and giving me an opportunity.”
Griffin III said he never doubted his ability, despite the sour ending in Washington.
"I think when you’re going through tough times or going over hurdles in life, you always have to realize those who don’t give up are the ones that end up winning in the end," he said. "So as long as you don’t give up and you keep working, you’ll get another opportunity, but you have to live each day as if it’s your last. so just try to get better at what you can and control what you can and pray that God takes care of the rest."
Jackson commended the play of the other quarterbacks, as well.
"I would be remiss if I didn't also commend Josh, Austin and Cody," Jackson said. "Josh in particular, has been outstanding throughout this process and all of our quarterbacks have worked well together. Their play, professionalism and work ethic has pushed the room to really improve the level of play at the position for our team."
Griffin threw three long passes to Corey Coleman on Friday night in a scrimmage and then threw touchdown passes to Terrelle Pryor and Duke Johnson, Jr. in Saturday's scrimmage in Columbus.
Griffin (6-foot-2, 218 pounds) is entering his fifth NFL season out of Baylor. Originally selected by Washington with the second overall pick in 2012, Griffin has appeared in 37 games with 35 starts. He has completed 679 of 1,063 passes (63.9 percent) for 8,097 yards with 40 touchdowns, 23 interceptions and a 90.6 rating and added 1,480 career rushing yards with eight scores.
Griffin set NFL rookie records for passer rating (102.4), interception percentage (1.27) and rushing yards by a quarterback (815) en route to being named 2012 Associated Press Offensive Rookie of the Year and a Pro Bowl selection. He led the Redskins to a 10-6 record and their first division title in 13 years.
Starting 13 games in 2013, Griffin recorded a career-high 3,203 passing yards and became the fifth quarterback in NFL history to record 3,000 passing yards in each of his first two seasons. He started seven games in 2014 and registered 1,694 passing yards. Last season, he was inactive for 15 of the Redskins 16 games.
Griffin III is excited about the potential he sees with the Browns and the opportunity before him. It's apparent his teammates are starting to believe and buy in to him, as well.
"I think that's what you always want," Griffin III said. "You want to come out and show your teammates that they can trust you, that you're going to get the job done, you're going to put them in the right positions to be successful and get them the ball.
"It's just been really enjoyable to come to a new city with a new coach on a new team and have an opportunity to just go out and play the game of football the way you love and do it with great people."
Coleman Sidelined:WR Corey Coleman remained on the side with trainers after tweaking his hamstring prior to the scrimmage Saturday in Columbus. Jackson said Coleman would have been able to play if it were a regular season game. Others out with hamstrings were DB Trey Caldwell, WR Andrew Hawkins, TE Seth DeValve. WR Josh Gordon (quad) and DL Nile Lawrence-Stamples (leg) still were not practicing.
Pasztor at RT: The Browns continue to shuffle players at right tackle trying to find a replacement for Mitchell Schwartz. OL Austin Pasztor was with the first team at right tackle Monday. Rookie Spencer Drango and Alvin Bailey have taken reps with the first team and third-round pick Shon Coleman has worked with the second-team.
“September 11 is the only game I’m really worried about," Haden said. "If they let me get in into any preseason, that would be sweet, but my main goal is just getting back by September 11.”
Cam Back Too: OL Cameron Erving (elbow) was back at practice during individual drills after injuring his left elbow last Tuesday.
Browns Sign D-Lineman: The Browns have signed DL Chigbo Anunoby. To make room on the roster, the team waived DL Kyle Rose.
Anunoby (6-3, 316) is in his first NFL season out of Morehouse. Originally signed by Indianapolis as an undrafted free agent in 2012, he has spent time on the practice squads with the Colts, Redskins and Titans.
Hughes Still Out: DL John Hughes missed his fifth-straighl practice due to personal reasons.