BEREA, Ohio -- One way of looking at the Cleveland Browns as they embark on their 2016 season is it will be nearly impossible for them to fall below expectations.
The Browns, 3-13 a year ago, open the season on Sept. 11 on the road against the Eagles in Philadelphia. Many preseason predictions have them failing to even match last year's dismal record.
RG3 spent the previous four seasons with the Washington Redskins. Theoretically that experience could give him inside knowledge of the Eagles since Washington and Philadelphia meet twice a year, but the Browns can't count on that as Griffin was inactive every game in 2015 and the Eagles, like the Browns, have a new head coach in Doug Pederson.
Griffin knows the perception is the Browns are going to have another miserable year -- they are on a streak of eight straight losing seasons -- but he is not discouraged.
"I think we're all confident (heading into the regular season) because we know what we've done," Griffin said. "Even in the preseason, we've been a big play offense. We have hit those. We just have to be more consistent and sustain drives.
"We have guys on this team that have won Super Bowls, and it's about using their leadership and what it takes to win the big games and apply that to our team. We've taken that to heart."
Cornerback Tramon Williams was with Green Bay when the Green Bay Packers won Super Bowl XLV in the 2010 season.
Williams and the rest of the Browns' secondary will face a stern test from Eagles quarterback Sam Bradford in the opener. A weak pass rush in the preseason strained the Browns' secondary -- Tampa Bay quarterback Jameis Winston passed for 256 yards and two touchdowns in the first half of the third preseason game when starters faced starters for two quarters.
The defense looked better against Chicago in the final preseason game, but the Bears used backups the entire game. The Browns' starters played two series.
"We still have a lot of improvement that we can do, but I don't think it's as far away as everybody else thinks," cornerback Joe Haden said. "With the group that we have as far as people just being willing and ready to do whatever it takes, I think we have people that are able to make plays. We're on the right path. We just have to get our communication (better). The more time we get on the field, the more time we get to playing together, it's going to be better."
Haden played only five games last season. He suffered two concussions and then had ankle surgery in March. He will likely be matched against Eagles wide receiver Jordan Matthews. Matthews missed most of the preseason with a knee injury. He returned to practice Aug. 29. Matthews led the Eagles with 85 catches for 997 yards and eight touchdowns last season.
The Browns should be better in the second half of the season than they will be in September if they can stay healthy, but that has always been a problem. Backups that might not make other teams make the Browns and then get thrust into starting roles if the starters are injured. The Browns won just one of their last 11 games in 2015 and one of their final seven games in 2014.
--Defensive end Armonty Bryant will begin serving his four-game league-mandated suspension at 4 p.m. Saturday -- the deadline for cutting rosters to 53. Bryant was arrested early Christmas morning during a traffic stop when he was a passenger. He was in possession of Adderall.
--Running back Rajion Neal, a longshot to make the team, suffered a right knee injury in the fourth quarter of the 21-7 loss to the Bears on Thursday. He left the locker room on crutches.
--Fullback Malcolm Johnson suffered a biceps injury against the Bears. Coach Hue Jackson said it is not serious.
--Wide receiver Josh Gordon begins his four-game suspension at 4 p.m. Saturday. He is permitted to be with the team for meetings and conditioning. He can't practice or play in games.