Upbeat Cleveland Browns have decision to make on Robert Griffin III

By The Sports Xchange
Cleveland Browns quarterback Robert Griffin III looks to throw a pass during pregame prior to the Browns game against the Cincinnati Bengals at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland on December 11, 2016. Photo by Aaron Josefczyk/UPI
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Cleveland Browns quarterback Robert Griffin III throws during pregame prior to the Browns game against the Cincinnati Bengals at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland on December 11, 2016. Photo by Aaron Josefczyk/UPI
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Cleveland Browns quarterback Robert Griffin III scrambles during the second quarter against the Cincinnati Bengals at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland on December 11, 2016. Photo by Aaron Josefczyk/UPI
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CLEVELAND -- Since the Cleveland Browns played on Saturday instead of a normal Sunday game, the "24-hour rule" to savor their first victory of the season was extended to 48 hours.
"This is a good feeling, and hopefully, we start to enjoy this feeling, obviously different from every other Monday," Browns coach Hue Jackson said. "We want to feel good after you play games. That's what it is all about. We haven't experienced the euphoria of winning a game."
But now it's back to work, and the Browns that will face the Pittsburgh Steelers on Jan. 1 in the final game of the season aren't quite as healthy as they'd like to be. In particular, quarterback Robert Griffin III has a concussion and starting cornerback Joe Haden has a neck injury.
It would be very unlikely Griffin would be cleared in time to play in the final game. He left the locker room after Saturday's 20-17 victory over the San Diego Chargers, saying, "I'm not allowed to answer questions" because he is in the concussion protocol," but the look on his face expressed obvious disappointment.
Jackson on Monday said rookie Cody Kessler would start against the Steelers if Griffin cannot.
The game against the Chargers was Griffin's third since returning from a shoulder injury that sidelined him for 11 games. He completed 17 of 25 passes for 164 yards before being knocked out of the game with 10:20 to play. He also was sacked seven times.
Griffin's performance was the best in the four starts he made in 2016, but whether it was enough to convince Jackson that Griffin can be the starting quarterback in 2017 while a rookie watches and learns is something Jackson will have to ponder.
"He made some plays," Jackson said. "He made some plays with his legs. He made some plays with his arm. He has to continue to grow that way.
"In the second half, we got slowed down a little bit, and I think he can still do some things better, but he did show me some things. He has to keep working. We all have to keep working."
Griffin has thrown 107 passes in four starts this season and still hasn't thrown for a touchdown.
It is also unlikely Haden will play against the Steelers, though Jackson on Monday expressed hope that Haden will be ready for the Steelers. Haden has battled two groin injuries most of the season. Both will be operated on in early January.
REPORT CARD VS. CHARGERS
PASSING OFFENSE: D -- The Browns have yet to produce a passing touchdown with Robert Griffin III as the starting quarterback. He completed 17 of 25 passes (68 percent) against the Chargers, but no touchdown passes in four starts. It isn't all Griffin's fault. He was sacked seven times by the Chargers.
RUNNING OFFENSE: C -- Griffin as a runner helps to create holes for running back Isaiah Crowell. Griffin rushed for 42 yards and Crowell rushed for 54 yards and two touchdowns. Since they weren't playing behind all game, the Browns used a balanced attack with 29 rushes and 28 pass attempts.
PASS DEFENSE: C -- The Browns shut the Chargers down on San Diego's last five possessions, which is why they won the game. That stat more accurately tells the story better than Philip Rivers' 322 passing yards. Rivers did throw two touchdown passes. The Browns have given up 33 this season.
RUN DEFENSE: B -- A week after being mauled for 280 rushing yards by the Bills, the Browns smothered the Chargers, holding them to 34 yards on 19 carries. The Browns caught a break because the Chargers best rusher, Melvin Gordon, missed the game with hip and knee injuries, but tackling was crisp and the defenders stayed in their gaps.
SPECIAL TEAMS: B-plus -- The Browns have played opposing special teams to a draw most of the season, but the reason they finally won a game is because defensive end Jamie Meder blocked a field goal attempt by Josh Lambo that would have tied the game with 3:45 left. Mario Alford is a spark for the return team. He ran back two kicks for 56 yards against the Chargers.
COACHING: B -- The grade isn't for play calling. It is for the way coaches get the Browns to play hard every week. The hard work finally paid off in a victory. All three phases contributed, and though the offense and defense need plenty of work and an influx of talent, with the right players this coaching staff can be successful.
Upbeat Cleveland Browns have decision to make on Robert Griffin III Reviewed by Bizpodia on 22:23 Rating: 5

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