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Robert Griffin III reflects on debut as Browns starting QB

On the first offensive play from scrimmage, Robert Griffin dropped back, planted his feet and launched a 49-yard pass to Terrelle Pryor that jumpstarted the Browns offense in a 17-11 loss to Green Bay on Friday night.

But as the ball left his hand, the Packers defense crashed into the quarterback and dropped him to the grass. Griffin snapped right back up and made light of the moment in postgame interviews.

"I haven't been hit in a long time," Griffin said with a laugh, "and I was telling Coach and some of the guys, you don't want to get hit. But it feels good to just be back playing football and it's truly a blessing. Going out there on the field, there's no nerves or anything."

Griffin, who was named the Browns starting quarterback last week and made his first appearance atop the depth chart in a year, reflected on his Browns debut, a brief outing characterized by highs and lows.

In two series, Griffin accounted for 67 yards on 4-of-8 throws.

The good? The three-year Redskins starter and 2012 Offensive Rookie of the Year appeared poised in the pocket and his passes looked crisp.

"I thought he had great poise. I think everything was great. Obviously, that first play was outstanding," head coach Hue Jackson said.

The bad? In the red zone, he tossed an errant ball to tight end Gary Barnidge that was intercepted over the goal line by Green Bay safety Micah Hyde.

"I thought our operation, in and out of the huddle, on the line of scrimmage and making our calls, we never really had a problem with the game clock at all and I thought that was great. When you come out in the preseason you want to make sure all of those kinks are worked out," Griffin said.

The Browns face the Packers in the first game of the preseason at Green Bay.

"I felt like we hurt ourselves a little bit too much. I can't throw an interception; I've got to protect the ball. Outside of that, I thought the execution was there, but there is definitely potential for more on big plays out of us and we know that."

Indeed, the Browns offense — in particular their first-team unit — proved it could move the football. It also played without a handful of potential impact players in wide receivers Corey Coleman and Andrew Hawkins while running backs Isaiah Crowell and Duke Johnson Jr. saw limited action.

"We have the potential to be an extremely explosive offense," Griffin said, "but that's just potential at this point, so we need those guys to get back out there and we've got to continue to work to make sure we're not hurting ourselves. When we didn't hurt ourselves, we ended up moving the ball up and down the field and that was encouraging to see.

"That offense that coach Jackson has put in along with Pep Hamilton is an extremely fun one to play in and it's got a lot of options. It gives us opportunities to make plays and we have to make sure we're smart about it and play winning football. And we didn't do that tonight. But it starts with me and Ii'll make sure we get the group ready to roll."

To be sure, Griffin won't approach that task alone. Jackson said it'll take a team effort after the Browns committed two turnovers and surrendered two safeties against the Packers.

"I just think there are some things that we've just got to continue to harp on. Not just him, just our whole offensive football team. We're used to just kind of starting fast, and we had the chance to do that and we didn't capture that," Jackson said. "We just need to get better as a unit. It's not just him, it's all 11 guys."

The Browns return to the practice field Sunday for Day 12 of training camp to build on the good and address shortcomings.

And Griffin, who spoke of the chance to lead Cleveland's offense as an 'honor' last week, as much as anyone is looking forward to getting back to work.

"It's just excitement to be back out on the field playing the game that you love with great people," Griffin said. "I'm excited about it and I can't wait to get back to practice."

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