The Cleveland Browns will simply not be one of those teams that look sharp and crisp in offseason work, or even in the beginning of training camp.
Teams that start over start behind.
Teams that start over year after year start behind year after year.
The Browns have made this into an art form. Consider that the players on offense who have been around since 2012 are now on their fifth offensive coordinator — from Brad Childress to Norv Turner to Kyle Shanahan to John DeFilippo to, now, Hue Jackson/Pep Hamilton.
Five years of offseason workouts, five years of new systems.
Consider, too, that since 2012 there have been four different starting quarterbacks at this point of the offseason — from Brandon Weeden to Brian Hoyer to Josh McCown to, presumably, Robert Griffin III.
No offense can jell at this time of year with that amount of change. Teams like Baltimore, Pittsburgh and Cincinnati are refining their offenses. With the Browns, a player new to a team is trying to learn a system new to the team with terminology particular to the system.
So to judge a quarterback based on how he looks at this point is unfair. The best that can be done is to make observations, and with the Browns the observations are the same year after year.
The quarterback makes good throws, he makes bad throws.
The offense has good plays, it has bad plays.
The offense is working, the defense is working.
That's what happened with Griffin in the session open to the media on Wednesday. Good throws, not so good throws. It's what happened with every other quarterback trying to learn on the fly.
And it's why Jackson emphasized it's way too early to talks starters or depth charts, and why he praised the effort far more than he did the execution.
"A lot these guys haven’t played in this offense that we as a staff put together," Jackson said. "We’re learning. This is Day 2 of the OTA program. We have a long way to go. There are still a lot of new and foreign words to our guys. They will pick them up as they go."
Which is part of the reason Griffin looked like what he is: A guy trying to learn a new offense after not playing a down last season. His fabulous rookie season of 2012 is three years removed. This is a quarterback trying to do a Humpty Dumpty and put himself back together again.
That doesn't stop Griffin from approaching the job as if it's his, which is the only way he can.
"The way I look at it is that it is my spot and I have to go out and defend that and go out there and grow with my teammates, grow within the offense and just showcase my talent and ability, and Coach will make the decisions accordingly to how he feels,” Griffin said.
Griffin brings enough talent that paired with Jackson there can be hope. But he brings enough baggage and questions that the Browns will hold off naming him the starter until they are sure what they have. But Griffin is the guy who lines up first under center.
The job is his to lose, provided he can learn what he's being asked to do in the time he has. Right now, the team is taking the same baby steps it's taken the past five offseason workouts.
Success, if it comes, will be in the long term. It's best not to make snap judgments in the short term.