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5 things: What Hue Jackson and the Browns learned during the bye week

  1. It's "too soon" to tell if Robert Griffin III will start against the Bengals, head coach Hue Jackson said Monday after the team's first practice since the bye week. "We're just knocking off the rust from being gone," he said.

Griffin, who hasn't played since the season opener because of a broken bone in his shoulder, was cleared to play last week after being designated for return from injured reserve.

​2. After a chance to recharge and refocus, Jackson described Monday's session as a "spirited" one. [

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"It was good to get back on the grass after being gone for a while," he said.

Jackson, who said he expected the team to handle the bye week like "pros," added he's pleased with how the players went about their time away from Berea.

"I think that's the most important thing as a head coach," he said, "that, when the guys are gone, that everybody returns safely and everybody's OK and there's no late-night phone calls."

  1. Speaking of the bye week, Jackson and the coaching staff took the week do some "self-scouting" ahead of the final month of the season.

"There were some things that were glaring on all three sides," he said.

On offense, Jackson pointed to a stagnant run game and the need to protect the quarterback better (Cleveland has given up 45 sacks through 12 games). By that same token, Jackson said he thinks the defense has improved, though it needs to improve its pass rush and takeaways.

"There's some things that we need to do better and do better fast if we want to have the results that we want," Jackson said. "I found some answers to some things that I needed to find out and I think we can get better."

  1. With veteran right guard John Greco on injured reserve, Jonathan Cooper — whom the Browns claimed off midseason waivers — has received reps with the first-team offense. Jackson described it as a chance for the former first-round draft pick to etch a new chapter in an injury-marred career.

"That's what he's here for, to get another opportunity," he said. "We'll see if he can go out there and do what he's capable of doing."

Cooper was selected seventh overall by the Arizona Cardinals in 2013 and spent time in New England this season before coming to Cleveland.

  1. Safety Derrick Kindred sat out Monday's practice because of a foot injury, Jackson said. "We'll know more as we go," he said.

The Browns recently inserted the rookie from TCU into the starting lineup, creating continuity in the secondary thanks to the stability he and third-year safety Ed Reynolds II have provided on the back end.

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