The Cleveland Browns are officially moving forward with Robert Griffin III as their new starting quarterback. Head coach Hue Jackson announced the decision early on Monday, suggesting “it’s time” for RG3 to lead the team in a position he has “earned”.

RG3 Era Begins

The move anoints Robert Griffin III as Cleveland’s starter months after the franchise started over in the front office and parted ways with former first round draft pick, Johnny Manziel. Not long after cutting ties with Johnny Football, RG3 was signed on to compete with 36-year old veteran, Josh McCown. Despite mixed reports in regards to both quarterback’s performances throughout camp, the Browns have opted to roll with the former #2 pick in the 2012 NFL Draft.

Right Move?

There’s little arguing that now is the right time to announce the team’s starter with week one of the preseason coming later this week, but it’s still worth wondering if Jackson and co. picked the right guy for the job. Per numerous reports out of camp, RG3 was inconsistent at best and had the same issues with pocket presence, timing and awareness that he had when with the Washington Redskins.

McCown also wasn’t perfect, but he exhibited much more polish and by most accounts, was the team’s best passer all summer.

Upside could be the name of the game here, however. Hue Jackson is operating in his first season on the job, he has a young receiving corps and for the most part, expectations are low. RG3 gives the offense more potential with the deep ball, he’s a more explosive athlete than McCown and at just 26 years old, there is still room for him to grow as a natural pocket passer.

At least on the surface, going with RG3 is a win-win proposition. if RG3 succeeds, the Browns look like geniuses and Cleveland’s offense could very well be one of the more unpredictable and dangerous units in the league. Should he struggle or get hurt, the Browns could always turn back to McCown or even hand the offense over to rookie passer, Cody Kessler.

Browns’ Playoff Odds

No matter who the Browns put under center, they were facing an uphill battle in the deep and competitive AFC North. The Cincinnati Bengals and Pittsburgh Steelers are set to be as good as ever going into the 2016 NFL season, and after a ruthless bout with injuries a year ago, a now healthy Baltimore Ravens squad could also be out for blood.

No one is shocked to see Cleveland start the year as vast underdogs to steal the division, while Bovada gives them +2000 odds to win the division. There is just too much competition to even have that look like a fun bet, and judging on what we’ve seen from RG3 in the last few years, it’s increasingly dangerous to generate much optimism.

The division is probably off limits here, but that doesn’t necessarily mean Cleveland has no shot at the playoffs. Their ridiculous +10000 Super Bowl odds have them as one of the weakest title threats around, but if RG3 can regain his rookie form and Cleveland’s defense can come to life after a down year, there is sleeper appeal in the Browns.

Everything needs to break right, of course. That doesn’t make the Browns a good bet to do many positive things in 2016, but it at least keeps them relevant for the moment. RG3 could potentially play a huge hand in that, too, and at the very worst keeps things interesting in Ohio.

Bovada has a bet going currently as to whether or not Cleveland will make the playoffs:

  • Yes +600
  • No -1000

The “yes” bet offers some solid payout potential and if you believe RG3 can be his old self again, there is some reason to go for it here. On the flip side, the odds are certainly against Cleveland cracking the AFC’s top-six teams and betting against them doesn’t exactly go against the grain. Needless to say, they probably won’t make the playoffs, but you’d have to lay down a ton of cash for a bet against the Browns to actually end up being worth it. Ultimately, the Browns are probably a bet to stay away from in 2016.

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