BEREA, Ohio--When most teams will be resting their starters, Hue Jackson plans on using the preseason finale as another chance to improve.
“We are going to play our guys," Jackson said. "You asked the question, we are going to play our guys. I feel comfortable that we need to play our starters on both sides of the ball. Now, how much they play, that is yet to be determined by me, but I think we are going to play them because we need to play. We need to get better as a football team as we continue to move forward.”
The Browns play their final preseason game on Thursday at FirstEnergy Stadium against the Chicago Bears and the Browns are still trying to get ready for the regular season after getting drubbed last week by Tampa Bay in the 'dress rehearsal' game.Quarterback Robert Griffin III says he's fine with playing.
“Every time you get another opportunity to play the game, it’s another chance to improve," he said. "If the coach decides he wants to play the starters, we're ready to go."
Griffin says the offense needs more time to be ready for the regular season opener on Sept. 11 against the Eagles.
"(We need to) continue to get better, execute our offense and make sure our operation is clean, so when we step on the field in Philly, we’re confident and ready to play."
Through the first three preseason games, Griffin has been proficient in completing the deep ball with four completions for 40 or more yards, including at least one in each game. He's thrown a 50-yard touchdown pass to Terrelle Pryor and a 43-yard touchdown to Josh Gordon.
Overall, Griffin is 18-of-30 for 282 yards with three touchdowns and one interception. His completion percentage is 60 percent and his rating 110.7. He has also rushed five times for 40 yards, including a long of 22 yards. Griffin has also been sacked six times.
Griffin thinks the offense has made a lot of progress and thinks they'll be ready to go when the season starts.
“It’s a gradual process that you go through from the OTAs to the minicamps to training camp all the way through the preseason," he said. "We’re really focused on making sure we’re paying attention to the details on everything it’s going to take to win. We have guys on this team that have won Super Bowls and it's about using their leadership on what it takes to win the big games and apply that to our team and taking it to heart.”
The Browns have only scored four touchdowns thus far in the preseason, all through the passing game.
The common theme for Griffin is consistency and sustaining drives, not just hitting on the occasional big play.
“We just have to be more consistent," Griffin said. "The only way to try to score is to try to score. That's what we're trying to do every time we go out there. We have guys who can make big plays, but those same guys can make plays underneath to keep drives going and it starts with me.
"I have to be more consistent to allow us to do those things."
Although Griffin said he would like to have the offense have more sustainable drives, it's all about scoring points.
“The objective is to score points," he said. "At the end of the day, no one is going to say they had these many drives. If you win the game, that’s what it’s about.
"Coach has harped on us to make sure we’re doing things the right way," he said. "If we execute and hit the big plays, we have to be able to execute and hit the small ones.”
After three preseason games, Griffin says he trusts the players around him, despite getting sacked five times in the last game against Tampa Bay.
“You have to trust the guys around you," Griffin said. "Otherwise, you won’t be successful. I trust the wide outs. I trust the O-line. I trust the backs.
"It’s about 11 guys being on the same page," he said. "We're getting to the point where we’re getting it. We have to get it more consistently. It's why you go through all of these practices and training camp and preseason games,so by the time the season rolls around everything is good.”
Decisions at WR Looming: The Browns currently have wide receivers taking 10 of the 75 roster spots with cuts to the final 53 coming due no later than this Saturday at 4 pm. WR Josh Gordon will be on the suspended list for the first four games, but the others still vying for roster spots are: Andrew Hawkins, Taylor Gabriel, Marlon Moore, Terrelle Pryor, Sr., Darius Jennings and rookies Corey Coleman (1st), Ricardo Louis (4th), Jordan Payton (5th), and Rashard Higgins (5th). Coleman, Louis, Payton and Higgins were all drafted this year.
Howard Joins Injured List: Rookie DB Tracy Howard is the latest to join the stationary bike crew during practice. Howard is a rookie undrafted free agent from Miami, who has impressed during the preseason. Howard's injury is unknown at this time. Howard joined WR Marlon Moore (hip), DB Tramon Williams (toe) and RB Raheem Mostert (hamstring) on the side. DB Justin Gilbert (concussion) was not on the field during open session to media. OL Joe Thomas had a day off for rest.
Hoyer Coming Home: Former Browns QB Brian Hoyer will be in town with the Bears on Thursday night. Hoyer is expected to be QB Jay Cutler's backup this season. Also, former Browns QB Connor Shaw is also with the Bears, but he suffered a season-ending injury in the preseason.null