- Associated Press - Wednesday, December 14, 2016

BEREA, Ohio (AP) - RG3 is running out of time and excuses.

After a rough and rusty outing last week in his first game since getting hurt in the season opener, quarterback Robert Griffin III is confident he’ll show more Sunday when the 0-13 Browns visit the Buffalo Bills.

“I will play better,” he said Wednesday. “I know I can.”

The Browns are counting on it.

Making just his second start since 2014, Griffin was expectedly unpolished in a 23-10 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals . He completed only 12 of 28 passes for 104 yards and added 31 yards rushing and one touchdown.

Griffin, who broke a bone in his left, non-throwing shoulder on Sept. 11, had some timing issues and there were a few plays where he either made the wrong read or simply missed his target.

It was far from perfect, which is just what coach Hue Jackson anticipated.

But now that Griffin has played once and is getting another week of practice to prepare, Jackson expects him to be much more refined.

“There needs to be a jump in performance,” said Jackson, who pushed for the Browns to sign Griffin as a free agent in March.

“I can understand last week. Last week, I tried to temper this whole (media) room that it may not go well because I know that could happen.

“Now this week, I can’t say that. You have a game under your belt. You have practices under your belt. Now, you need to go play well. I expect that everything will be better from that stand point.”

In search of their first win in more than a year, the Browns are also continuing their endless quest to find a long-term solution at quarterback and are spending these final few weeks making a detailed look to see whether Griffin can be that guy.

His early season injury may have delayed the process, but Jackson is determined to see the RG3 experiment to its conclusion.

“I am not giving up on it,” he said. “I am going to work through it and see where we are. That is the whole part of him playing so we can evaluate where we are and have a good feel about it when the season is over.”

Griffin’s return came on a blustery, snowy day, not exactly optimal conditions for passing the football.

However, there were other reasons for his low completion percentage, including the Browns falling behind 13-0 in the first quarter and being forced to play catch up.

Griffin didn’t put the blame on anyone but himself for his poor statistical output.

“We had a number of throwaways, just broken plays and to just get the ball out and avoid sacks,” he said.

“That accounted for a lot of the incompletions. I probably missed about three check-downs that I would normally hit and just fundamental technique issues that have been fixed and will be on display next Sunday.

“I think that is really what it came down to. We want to be more efficient throwing the ball, I want to be more efficient throwing the ball, and we will be.”

If anyone can appreciate Griffin’s challenge in playing for the first time in 11 weeks, it’s Browns wide receiver Terrelle Pryor. He’s played quarterback in the league and understands how hard it can be to step back in after a lengthy break.

Pryor expects Griffin to improve as well.

“I have a lot of belief in Rob,” he said. “Last week, a lot of stuff was going on, a lot of snow and wind and a lot of different things were going on and it was his first game playing in a while.

“He hasn’t played for two years prior to that besides the Eagles game, so you’ve got to be light on him and I think he’s going to come out and have a lot better game this game.”

NOTES: The Browns began practice outdoors before Jackson took a spill on the frozen field. “We started outside, and I took a fall and got up and said, ‘OK, we are going inside,’” he said. “Browns Pro Bowl left tackle Joe Thomas laughed when he heard that Bills DT Marcell Dareus guaranteed Buffalo would not give Cleveland its first win. “I hate that guy,” Thomas joked. “I’m going to kill him.” … The Browns claimed RB Darius Jackson via waivers from Dallas. They waived LB Corey Lemonier.”

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For more NFL coverage: https://www.pro32.ap.org and https://www.twitter.com/AP_NFL

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