And on Thursday, Griffin won’t have his yellow non-contact jersey on. The Browns will come after him. He must show he can continue to improve and remain cool under pressure.
The offense also must find greater consistency in the run game. The results were mixed last week. But during practices, where full-on tackling is scaled back, it’s tough to truly evaluate running backs. Would Alfred Morris and Matt Jones have fought through tackles and picked up additional yards after contact, or would defenders have stopped them? A productive run game will serve as Griffin’s best friend because it’ll put the quarterback in more manageable situations.
And, you can’t have success in the run or passing department without quality play up front. The offensive line experimentation also will continue this week. Will Morgan Moses remain at right tackle, and Brandon Scherff at right guard? Coaches wanted to see more of this tandem on Saturday against the Texans; the brawl between the teams foiled those plans. We’ll see if offensive line coach Bill Callahan continues with this paring this week in practice, and if he does, those two will make their debut together in Cleveland.
Defensively, the top priority is regaining health. The secondary likely will remain mismatched this week. DeAngelo Hall could miss additional time as he continues to heal from a groin injury. David Amerson will try to return to action following the AC joint sprain in his left shoulder, however. Fellow cornerback Chris Culliver had a groin injury, and safety Jeron Johnson a hamstring strain. It could be another week or two before Joe Barry’s projected top unit returns to full force.
However, the front seven do remain in good health, and they will continue to build their chemistry in this final stretch of practices leading up to Cleveland.