Preston: Ravens have nothing to lose by adding Robert Griffin III

Sports columnist Mike Preston talks about Ravens decision to sign QB Robert Griffin III to a one-year contract. (Kevin Richardson / Baltimore Sun video)

Those who are criticizing the Ravens for adding Robert Griffin III as the backup quarterback to Joe Flacco apparently didn’t watch former No. 2 Ryan Mallett throw in training camp last year.

There were many days when I would drive home after those hot summer practices thinking about how bad the Ravens’ season would be if Mallett became the starter after an injury to Flacco.


It’s nothing personal against Mallett, but he was just awful, and he seemed to get worse the past two years. Last summer, the Ravens couldn’t wait until Flacco returned from his back injury so they could attempt to put together a passing game.

Is RGIII the answer? Probably not. But at least he has potential. We know what Mallett can and can’t do. With RGIII, there is at least hope that he has matured and learned what it takes to be successful in the NFL. Maybe he has learned to read the entire field, not just one half of it. He still might have talent and is certainly worth a one-year risk. What do the Ravens have to lose?

Taking a gamble on RGIII fits the M-O of general manager Ozzie Newsome. He is a players’ type GM and believes in giving players second and sometimes third chances. What I am hoping is that RGIII can still run the football even though he shredded his knee in 2012.

A lot of coaches prefer to have a backup QB who has the same style as the starter. I prefer a scrambler, someone who can improvise and make plays. Backups don’t get as many repetitions with the first team as the starter, and there is less chemistry between them and the receivers.

So when the play breaks down, I want a quarterback who can make plays running around and getting outside the pocket. Also, remember that the NFL is starving for top quarterback talent, so who did you think the Ravens were going to get as a backup? A Tom Brady clone?

If RGIII stinks it up in training camp, they still have enough time to find another quarterback. Let’s be honest: The Ravens had the No. 27-ranked offense last season (305.4 yards per game) and were No. 29 in passing, averaging only 189.4 yards per game. Despite struggling the past two seasons, the Ravens still brought back Marty Mornhinweg as offensive coordinator in 2018.

I pray that RGIII can still run. Please. Pretty please, with a cherry on top.