He’s the best black quarterback in America. There isn’t even a question about it. But no one talks about him as such. In fact, his name is never even mentioned among the likes of Newton, Wilson, Moon or Williams – as he shouldn’t. He’s never thrown a pass in the NFL. Heck, his college career didn’t even amount to much. You may be wondering what the hell I am talking about. Well, let’s start with the news that Robert Griffin III has found a new home in Cleveland with the hopes of reviving and restarting his career. After a meteoric rise, Griffin plummeted back to Earth and left a huge crater that he will have to climb himself out of, if he hopes to be more than just another black quarterback who failed in the NFL.
Since signing, Griffin has quickly become the subject of one of two narratives in the media – told by one of two groups of people. Most black writers, pundits and personalities will talk of a second coming, his resurrection and his return to what he once was – hope for all blacks. The other narrative, told by mostly whites, is how this is doomed to fail, Cleveland is a quarterback graveyard and Griffin, well, just isn’t that good. Both those narratives are right. The narratives are right because the black community should look at the RGIII that way. They should want him to succeed. It’s okay for him to be a sign of “hope” for black success in America, especially in a field where very few have succeeded. The narratives are both right because well, to put it bluntly, Cleveland sucks. It’s nearly impossible to succeed there at anything. Ask LeBron. I could go into detail, but you get the point.READ MORE: Stimulus Check Update: When Might Your $1,400 Economic Relief Payment Arrive?
I won’t ignore the elephant in the room. This is a racially charged and divided issue. That is as much a product of our country’s state of mind these days as it is a football issue. Whites have dominated the position since the game’s inception. Blacks have struggled to break stereotypes about how they play the position and their perceived lack of acumen necessary to be successful. I understand why black people want to see Griffin overcome the odds. I can’t really understand the desire to see him – or any athlete for that matter – fail, but the sports world is full of nonsense on many levels. What troubles me more than anything, is that any narrative written about the 2016 version of RGIII is beyond premature. The guy hasn’t even taken a practice snap in a Browns uniform yet. He hasn’t taken a snap in a game in any uniform in over a calendar year! No one has any idea, with any certainty, what he is at this point!
Now, back to the best black quarterback in America. No, it isn’t RGIII. But it is his new head coach Hue Jackson. The sole reason people, black or white, have any reason to believe Griffin will succeed is because Jackson is a proven quarterback whisperer. For the last decade-plus, Jackson has turned quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers and entire offenses into performance machines. Winning performance machines. Jackson is primarily responsible for the development and stardom of Carson Palmer, Chad Johnson/Ochocino and TJ Houshmanzadeh. He coached the only rookie QB in NFL history that won two playoff games in Joe Flacco. He took a Raiders offense that hadn’t had a winning season since its last Super Bowl appearance and brought them to eight wins. Then Jackson repeated the same feat with that same Raiders team in his first job as head coach, which lasted just one season.READ MORE: Wanted For Homicide, Florida Man Leads Deputies On Chase, Breaks Into Home Before Placed Under Arrest
Jackson made BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Giovani Bernard household fantasy football names in his second stop in Cincinnati while partly being responsible for the franchise’s first ever back-to-back double-digit win seasons and two division titles. Finally, he made turnover-prone Andy Dalton into a quarterback who completes over 66% of his passes with a nearly 4-to-1 TD/INT ratio and a QB rating of 106.2. Jackson’s results are undeniable. It begs the question as to why the guy who starred as quarterback at Dorsey High School in Los Angeles never achieved more than playing football at Pacific University. Some guys were just meant to coach.
Jackson undertook a nearly impossible task in deciding to coach the Cleveland Browns. He decided to pile on the pressure by bringing Griffin in to quarterback a team that lost two offensive linemen, has almost no offensive weapons at skill positions and has perpetually found a way to make the term “Browns quarterback” a joke, more than a job.MORE NEWS: Florida Man, Family Torches His Impounded Vehicle To Destroy Evidence
Hue Jackson is a supremely confident man and with good reason. His track record of success would give any coach the belief he could pull this off. If Jackson can return Griffin to his 2012 Offensive Rookie of the Year form and somehow make the Browns relevant again, it will be one of the most remarkable turnarounds in NFL history. If Griffin can change the course of his personal history, he will have one man to thank for it. The best black quarterback – and quarterback coach – in America, Hue Jackson.