CLEVELAND (AP) RG3 is getting chance No. 3. And maybe his last one for the Browns.
Still looking for that elusive first victory, Cleveland coach Hue Jackson is keeping Robert Griffin III as his starting quarterback this week against San Diego for the bad-to-the-bone Browns, who are desperately trying to avoid an 0-15 start and perhaps the second 0-16 season in NFL history.
”We’ll go out there and give him another opportunity to take a swing at it,” Jackson said.
Jackson had considered changes following Sunday’s 33-13 loss in Buffalo, the Browns’ sixth straight by double digits. However, after watching the game tape, Jackson felt Griffin made more progress in his second start since Sept. 11 and will give him another one.
”There was some improvement,” Jackson said on a conference call. ”There were some things that I thought he did much better when you go back and watch the tape than the first time he played. Hopefully there can be another jump in this next game. But I think he needs to go play and he needs to play well.”
Griffin completed 17 of 28 passes for 196 yards against the Bills, who flushed him from the pocket throughout much of the game and sacked him five times. Griffin, who missed 11 weeks after breaking a bone in his left shoulder in the season opener, ran eight times for 48 yards and scored on an 18-yard scamper.
It was an upgrade from his return against Cincinnati a week earlier, when he went 12 of 28 for 104 yards and an interception.
”I thought in the second half, I thought he stood in there and threw some good balls,” said Jackson, who is using the final four games to evaluate whether Griffin can be Cleveland’s QB going forward. ”I thought he started managing and running our offense with efficiency. I thought he was in rhythm. You know for a moment there we looked like the offense that I’ve come to know a little bit, and I thought there was an uptick in performance.”
But despite Griffin’s jump, Jackson wants more and said he will not hold back in pulling Griffin in favor of rookie Cody Kessler, who made eight starts while RG3 was recovering from his injury.
”I won’t be hesitant in this game because I would like to see a little a bit of Cody before the end of this season, and if things are not going as well as I like, I do have that card to where I could put Cody in the game,” he said.
With every loss, the Browns inch closer to unwanted infamy.
They set a franchise record with their 13th straight loss and matched the club record for losses in a season. The Browns have dropped 17 in a row over the past two seasons, and including their four exhibition games this season, they’re on a 21-game losing streak.
After hosting the Chargers, the Browns will wrap up a season that can’t end fast enough on Jan. 1 in Pittsburgh.
Jackson said he worries about the negativity shaking his players and carrying over into 2017.
”You can very well think that way,” he said. ”But we’re going to fix this and we have to on all levels, and that’s one of the levels. I think really dealing with our players once this season’s over and once we get back, we’ve got to rid the whole locker room and everything of those feelings and those thoughts because once this is over it’s over, and we’ve got to move forward and move on to bigger and better things.
”I truly believe our players understand that, I know our staff will and I know our organization will and that’s what we’ll do.”
NOTES: WR Terrelle Pryor tore a finger ligament in Sunday’s loss and could miss the final two games. Jackson said Pryor’s availability will be based on whether he can tolerate the pain. A person familiar with the injury told the AP that Pryor will have surgery following the season. … TE Randall Telfer sprained an ankle against the Bills and his status for the Chargers won’t be known until later in the week.
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