Robert Griffin III showed a little bit of everything Thursday night.
Arm, athleticism, quick feet and quick decisions.
Griffin did it all during the first half of the Browns 24-13 loss to the Falcons and possibly gave us all a glimpse of the big-play ability that he and this offense just might have.
“I don’t think we’re well-oiled yet, but I see potential of us being what I think we can be,” head coach Hue Jackson said. “I thought he played pretty well, thought he did a good job of taking care of the ball and distributing the ball to some of our playmakers.”
As Jackson begins to guide the team that has so many unanswered questions in his first season, things are looking up – at least on the offensive side of the ball.
Griffin saw the field for 4 offensive series Thursday night that saw him connect on a pair of touchdowns – a 50 yard bomb to Terrelle Pryor up the far sideline and a beautifully placed 29-yard strike to tight end Gary Barnidge on an up and out route to the near sideline that saw the Pro Bowler reach out, catch the ball and dive inside the pylon for a 13-7 lead.
“Just two great plays by two individual players: TP running by a guy, making a play for us, and then Gary making an amazing catch,” Griffin said. “Those things don’t happen without the offensive line blocking and the backs and everybody being accountable and being where they are supposed to be. I thought it was great execution on those two plays and we’d love to have that on every play.”
Pryor flat out blew by Falcons cornerback Desmond Trufant, ran under the football and strolled into the end zone for a 7-0 advantage.
“I continue to get better,” Pryor said. “I don’t want to shoot too far with what I am or what I am not. I am going to continue to get better and make plays when I have the opportunity. That’s it. I control what I can control. I just try to do the best that I can.”
The deep ball is Griffin’s favorite weapon and he’s shown it off in back-to-back weeks.
Griffin can still run too. He ran twice – for 14 and 22 yards – in addition to completing 6-of-8 passes for 96 yards and the 2 TDs before calling it a night.
Jackson said after the game that both runs were called and he liked how Griffin protected himself by sliding and getting down quickly to protect himself.
“It’s something that coach has emphasized to me,” Griffin said. “It’s something I’ve learned over my career just with situations that I’ve been in. I can’t thank everybody who has helped me get to that point where it’s hammered in. I’ve learned my lesson from mistakes in the past.”
In 6 offensive series through the first 2 preseason games, Griffin is 10-of-16 for 163 yards including 2 TDs and an interception. He’s rushed a total of 4 times for 36 yards.
While it’s only preseason, it’s a nice start and a solid foundation to build upon. And he’s done it without rookie Corey Coleman or veterans Josh Gordon and Andrew Hawkins on the field. It goes without saying the thought of what could be excites him.
“It’s hard not to imagine it,” Griffin said. “It brings a smile to your face, but we have to make that a reality. It is just potential. Everyone can have potential, but you have to actually make it happen. It’s not what you say, it’s what you do.
“When we get those guys back, I know they’ll be excited. They’re itching to play. We’re itching to have them, but the guys that are in there right now are doing a great job of helping us move the ball and have consistent plays.”
If his first 2 appearances of the preseason are any indication, the Browns’ offense will definitely be something – if not fun – to watch.
“It gives us confidence,” Griffin said. “That’s what the preseasons about. New coach, new quarterback, new system, new mindset, we’re trying to erase the tape and record a new message. I think it gives everybody confidence that we know what we can go out and do. Click on all cylinders. We can run the ball, we can throw the ball and make plays happen.”