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Robert Griffin III making it easy on Browns coach Hue Jackson to pick a starting quarterback

COLUMBUS — Robert Griffin III took his show on the road Saturday

COLUMBUS — Robert Griffin III took his show on the road Saturday, and it was even better than back in Berea.
Griffin built on his two-touchdown performance Friday in a scrimmage at Browns headquarters by throwing two more touchdown passes and leading a field goal drive in three possessions during the Orange and Brown Scrimmage at Ohio Stadium. He hit receiver Terrelle Pryor three times on the opening drive, found him later for a 5-yard touchdown on a jump ball, didn’t commit a turnover and was accurate and in control.
“Robert has been awesome,” Pryor said. “These past three or four days, he has been on. RG is doing a phenomenal job.”
Coach Hue Jackson continues to delay the inevitable by declining to name Griffin the starter for Week 1 of the regular season. But it’s coming, and there’s far less reason to question it.
“Oh, I’m close. Very close,” Jackson said. “We’ll know here pretty soon exactly what we’re doing. I’m going to go back and talk to the people that I trust and that I spend a lot of time with making these kind of decisions, and we’ll move forward.”
Griffin has taken nearly every snap with the first-team offense and has answered questions about his comfort in, and grasp of, Jackson’s system with a strong week. The inconsistency of the spring and first days of training camp has vanished during the pair of scrimmages — this one without pads or tackling but in front of an announced crowd of 42,310.
“I think I’ve said every day that everyone is seeing him get better and better every day,” Jackson said. “I’m not surprised. We try to create the right environment for him to be all he can be, and he’s working extremely hard because this is something he really wants to do.
“Obviously, we still have work to do, but he’s done a great job thus far. There are still some ladders to climb, and we’re going to keep climbing them.”
Griffin’s attempt at reviving his career is the most important storyline for the Browns in a season of low expectations.
If he can resemble the Heisman Trophy winner and NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year — with Washington in 2012 — while improving his performance from the pocket, the Browns may be able to stop looking for a starting quarterback after 24 failures.
Griffin is only 26 years old, but his fall was so fast and far, it left scars. He’s 5-17 as a starter since his rookie season and didn’t play a snap last season in Washington despite being healthy.
Dusted off by Jackson and back on his feet with the Browns, he’s started to regain confidence — even if he never lost his public swagger.
“Anybody’s confidence needs to be restored when things haven’t happened the way you want them to,” Jackson said. “He’s playing with tremendous poise, confidence, understanding. You guys know I keep talking about mastering the quarterback position, and that’s what he’s trying to do.”
“It’s never easy to come into a new situation and learn a new offense and play confidently within that,” Griffin said. “So over the course of the offseason working with the people that I did, getting together with teammates, all those things helped to build that confidence about what we’re doing and it’s just great playcalling from Pep and Hue and the way they put the offense together.
“When you know what you’re doing, you can play confident. You know what to expect and you know where to go with the ball and how Coach wants to play the game and how we want to play the game.”
He realizes his importance to the Browns in their latest rebuilding attempt.
“Everyone’s hungry to turn this thing around,” Griffin said. “It starts with the quarterback and you have to make sure that you’re on point every single day, so that guys can follow their leader.”
For the most part, Griffin was decisive in the pocket Saturday. He led Pryor perfectly on a deep corner route, anticipated tight end Gary Barnidge’s break on a 20-yard out route and waited for rookie receiver Jordan Payton to come open across the middle for a 26-yard gain that set up Pryor’s 5-yard leaping grab in the end zone.
In his only drive after “halftime,” Griffin scrambled and slid when a play broke down, rolled right and threw to rookie receiver Rashard Higgins on the sideline and hit running back Duke Johnson over the middle for a 9-yard score.
“RGIII’s a hard worker,” rookie receiver Corey Coleman said Friday. “He studies. He’s a perfectionist. He takes pride in his game and coming to practice and making sure everything’s on point.
“I feel like the sky is the limit for RGIII. He’s glad he got another chance.”
Jackson has been defending Griffin and singing his praises since the spring. During a workout before they signed him to a two-year, $15 million in March, Jackson saw the traits he was looking for. Jackson then had the confidence in himself to believe he could bring that talent to light once again.
Hamilton pointed to Griffin’s progress before the back-to-back big days.
“He has more of a command of our offense,” Hamilton said Thursday. “He’s able to manage all the checks and all the things that we ask him to do at the line of scrimmage.
“There’s been just continued work on developing continuity with the receivers and tight ends and all the new guys that he is working with for the first time. He has been working a lot and there has been a lot of positive things that are happening for us in practice.”
The journey is far from complete.
Griffin has been succeeding against a suspect Browns defense and has yet to face a pass rush that’s allowed to hit him. The next test is Friday night in Green Bay in the preseason opener, with the final exam the entirety of the regular season.
Jackson said there’s “no question” he’s eager to see Griffin face an opponent.
“Just play. Play the way we ask our quarterbacks to play, and that’s to take our offense and run our offense and score points,” Jackson said. “That’s what the quarterback’s charge is.”
Contact Scott Petrak at 329-7253 or [email protected] Like him on Facebook and follow him @scottpetrak on Twitter.

Browns writer for The Chronicle-Telegram and The Medina Gazette. Proud graduate of Northwestern University. Husband and stepdad. Avid golfer who needs to hit the range to get down to a single-digit handicap. Right about Johnny Manziel, wrong about Brandon Weeden. Contact Scott at 440-329-7253, or email and follow him on and Twitter.


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