Robert Griffin III's first season in Cleveland didn't play out the way he envisioned it back in August. The Browns starting quarterback didn't foresee missing three months with a broken shoulder. He also didn't expect a 1-15 season that came to an end this past weekend after an overtime loss to the Steelers.
After the game, Griffin — who was named the team's starter in training camp before breaking a bone in shoulder in the season opener — reflected on a season of highs and lows and his future with the team.
"I think the objective when I came back, with the broken shoulder, was to play and try to help my team to have a better chance to win games," said Griffin, who started the final four games of the season, including a win over the Chargers on Christmas Eve.
"It didn't go as well the first go-around. For that point, it's just about getting better every day and getting better every game. When you look at it that way, not just myself, but I felt like our team got better every single week the past four games. I'm proud to be a part of this team. I'm proud I fight with these guys. My job was to get better and I think I did that."
Both Griffin and head coach Hue Jackson spoke of "jumps in performance" in that span, something that was evident as the quarterback's production improved after an admittedly rough debut against the Bengals in December.
But as the Browns prepare for what they hope will be a "big offseason," they made it clear they're still searching for a long-term answer at the position.
"We haven't established 'the guy' at the position so we are going to look at all options, and we will continue to work to develop the guys that we have on our roster," executive vice president of football operations Sashi Brown said.
That, of course, includes Griffin, who joined the team as a free agent from Washington last spring. But before any decisions are made, Jackson wants to dissect the tape from the 2012 Offensive Rookie of the Year's five games this season.
"I haven't had a chance to really sit down and go back and watch it all. Today was just the day after the game and getting the players out of here and meeting with them and those things," Jackson said. "I think there is still work to do that way, and I am going to have a lot of internal discussions with (Brown and chief strategy officer Paul DePodesta) and (vice president of player personnel Andrew Berry)."
Jackson also outlined the characteristics they're looking for in a quarterback, making clear that person may or may not already be on the roster.
"The guy has to be able to win and win consistently and elevate the play of their team. That is what the real good ones across the league have done for years. We will be no different here as we move forward and continue to build our team," he said.
"We will build it with a guy that has that kind of mindset. We are still not sure that he is not on our team right now. We have to continue to evaluate and go through it, but I know that position, that is what it has to have in order for us to be successful here."
Griffin, who combined for 1,076 yards, four total touchdowns and three interceptions in his first year of playing since 2014, said he wants to be a part of Cleveland's future.
"You have to play the cards you're dealt. For me personally, getting hurt early in the year was not part of the plan and not part of my plan," Griffin said, adding, "I'm grateful for the guys in the locker room helping me get to the point where I could play at a high level. You walk away and you to say, 'Let God take care of the rest.'
"It is out of my hands now. There is nothing I can do from this point forward. Just know I want to be here. I want to be here with these guys and turn this thing around."