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Browns Notes: Hue Jackson sees positives, potential from RG3, first-team offense

The improvement of the first-team offense Thursday night in a 24-13 loss to the Atlanta Falcons had coach Hue Jackson thinking about just how good it can become with more coaching and time together.
Quarterback Robert Griffin III bounced back from a scoreless, one-interception performance in the preseason opener in Green Bay with touchdown passes of 50 yards to receiver Terrelle Pryor and 29 yards to tight end Gary Barnidge. The starters scored 13 points in five possessions and totaled 159 yards.
“The big plays were evident,” Jackson said Friday on a conference call. “We want to be a dynamic offense that can score, whether it’s by land or by air, at anytime. I think we have those kind of players.
“It was good to see Isaiah Crowell make some good, strong, physical runs and watch our line block at the point of attack better than the week before. So to me that’s a (sign) of a pretty good offense and obviously you couple that with the quarterback who doesn’t turn the ball over and keeps us in good situations and you have the potential to have good things happen.”
The ceiling for the Jackson-led offense should only get higher with the return of some key pieces. Receivers Corey Coleman (hamstring), Josh Gordon (quadriceps) and Andrew Hawkins (hamstring) have yet to play in the preseason and should join Pryor in the rotation once Gordon serves a four-game suspension to start the season.
The line was without Pro Bowl left tackle Joe Thomas (back) against the Falcons and is still working through some issues with second-year center Cameron Erving. He blocked better against the Falcons but snapped a ball over Griffin’s head, continuing a problem from practice.
“I don’t think we’re well-oiled yet, but I see potential of us being what I think we can be,” Jackson said.
He was pleased with Griffin eliminating turnovers and protecting himself when he ran twice for 36 yards, with Pryor’s continued evolution as a big-play threat and by Duke Johnson picking up a fourth-and-2 to keep alive a touchdown drive.
“It gives (us) confidence,” Griffin said Thursday. “That’s what preseason’s about. New coach, new quarterback, new system, new mindset, and we’re trying to erase the tape and record a new message.
“So I think it gives everybody confidence that we know what we can go out and do when we’re clicking on all cylinders and we can run the ball, we can throw the ball and make plays happen.”
He’s trying not to get ahead of himself by picturing life with Coleman, Gordon and Hawkins.
“It brings a smile to your face, but we have to make that a reality and it’s just like potential,” Griffin said. “Everyone can have potential but you have to actually make it happen.”
Browns inside linebacker/special teamer Tank Carder knocked Falcons punter Matt Bosher out of the game with a chest injury. Carder came from the side and put his shoulder into Bosher as he ran downfield, well behind the play.
Falcons coach Dan Quinn said he’d ask the league to review the play to see if Carder should’ve been penalized for a hit on a defenseless player. No flag was thrown.
“Controversy about me hitting the punter, I leaned on him, I could of made that hit a lot worse but I pulled off and gave him a shoulder,” Carder tweeted.
Rookie second-round pick Emmanuel Ogbah was a star of the preseason opener with a sack and a game-high six tackles while playing defensive end. He played outside linebacker Thursday, making a tackle in a team-high 49 snaps. He also played end when the Browns went to a four-man front in passing situations.
“It was definitely new because I’ve been playing D-end now like I used to and not playing outside linebacker,” Ogbah said. “But it felt good being out there and just going through my progression.
“It wasn’t a surprise. I was just ready to go.”
He played end at Oklahoma State in a 4-3 scheme, but the Browns drafted him at No. 32 to play outside linebacker. But after a season-ending injury to Desmond Bryant before training camp, they moved Ogbah to end in their 3-4. He had remained there until this week, when he got practice reps at linebacker.
The relationship between the Browns and suspended nickelback K’Waun Williams remains strained and might not be able to be repaired. Jackson was asked if he would be able to welcome back Williams.
“Right now it’s a little early to even talk about K’Waun and that situation,” he said. “We all know he’s suspended, so when that’s done, we’ll take it accordingly from there.”
Williams was suspended for two weeks Tuesday and fined after he didn’t play against Green Bay, left the team and missed three practices. He will appeal the discipline.
He got a second opinion on his ankle, and a specialist at the Cleveland Clinic recommended surgery to remove bone spurs.
Williams’ representation said it hopes he can have a future with the organization.
The Browns will head to Florida on Monday for two practices and the third preseason game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. With the starters expected to sit or play little in the preseason finale as Jackson looks to the regular season, this will be the last heavy physical work of the preseason for many key players.
“We get a nice long week ahead of us competing against Tampa Bay and that’s going to be a great opportunity for us to get better,” Jackson said.
The trip will be especially important for first-round pick Coleman and No. 1 cornerback Joe Haden (ankle), who sat the first two preseason games.
“It’s a huge week for both,” Jackson said. “We’ve got to make sure these guys have some playing time under their belt before we get ready to go into the season because we haven’t had an opportunity to see them versus live competition.”
The same is true of Gordon, who’s expected to play against the Buccaneers on Friday.
** Safety Rahim Moore left the game to be evaluated for a possible concussion but was cleared. Jackson reported no injuries of note.
Three-time Pro Bowl center Alex Mack chose to leave the Browns after seven seasons, signing with Atlanta in the offseason. But the return to FirstEnergy Stadium meant a lot to him, especially with a scoreboard tribute in the first quarter.
“Pretty emotional game,” he said. “I was happy it was a preseason game so that I could ease into it.
“Coming back here to a place where I played 101 games and to not be on the Browns sideline was such a weird feeling. I showed up early to say “hi” to a few people from around the building. The Browns are really a first-class program.”
** During his first two years in Washington, Griffin had a messy relationship with coach Mike Shanahan and offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, Mike’s son. Kyle, who was Cleveland’s coordinator in 2014, returned in the same role with Atlanta.
“We talked before the game and just wished each other good luck,” Griffin said. “It was cool to hear from him.”
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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