BEREA, Ohio -- The Cleveland Browns (0-12) have a boatload of problems to fix and four games to fix them before going quietly into the 2017 offseason.
Near the top of the list as they resumed practice Wednesday for their home game Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals (4-7-1) is rediscovering their ground game.
The Browns rushed for more than 100 yards only once in the last eight games, and that happened on Oct. 23 in a 31-17 loss to the Bengals in Cincinnati.
"Offensively, we are not running the ball as well (as early in the season) and not protecting the quarterback, and that is a unit issue," head coach Hue Jackson said.
"It's not just the line. I'll be the first to tell you that. That was very apparent to me watching the tape."
The Bengals went 0-3-1 after beating the Browns and then ended their slide by beating the Eagles, 32-14, last Sunday. The victory put them back in the race in the AFC North. The Steelers and Ravens are tied for the division lead at 7-5.
The Browns look at this game as a chance to finally break into the win column. The Bengals look at it as a must-win game to stay on the heels of the Ravens and Steelers with a quarter of the season to play.
The Bengals were content to let Hogan run while making sure he did not get the Browns back in the game with a quick strike touchdown pass.
Hogan probably won't play against the Bengals in the rematch in Cleveland and there have been reports that Robert Griffin III will start. Griffin is ready to return to at quarterback after missing 11 games because of a broken bone in his left shoulder, although Jackson is holding off naming him the starter.
"We're going to practice guys and see where they are, but no decision today," Jackson said. "(Griffin) looked good. He's moving around and throwing the ball. It's hard to get four guys reps."
Kessler, Hogan and Josh McCown are competing for the starting job along with Griffin.
Jackson is being cautious with Griffin. He concedes protection problems might make him hesitant to activate RG3, who is still on the injured reserve/designated to return list.
Griffin was cleared for contact on Nov. 29, practiced that day, and practiced again Monday and Wednesday.
Griffin said he will go along with whatever decision Jackson makes, but he's talking like he expects to start. He did not take a single snap in 2015 with the Redskins and is eager to prove he can still play -- if not to for Browns than for another team that might be willing to give him a chance even if it doesn't come until 2018. Griffin is under contract with the Browns next season.
"I get an opportunity to go out, put my skills to the test with this team to try to open up some new things, some new holes and figure out what our game plan will be this upcoming week," Griffin said.
"But I've played Cincinnati before. I know they know a little bit about me. It's not like there's no tape on me but whatever surprises that we have, hopefully we execute them to the best of our ability. This team (Bengals) is an extremely physical, really good defense, and it'll be a challenge. But we're up for it."
Griffin faced the Bengals as a rookie with the Redskins on Sept. 23. He completed 21 of 34 passes for 221 yards and a touchdown in a 38-31 loss.
87th regular-season meeting. Bengals lead series, 47-39. The Browns have lost four straight games in the Battle of Ohio. They have been outscored, 129-30, in those games.
--Browns quarterback Robert Griffin III and his girlfriend will probably be more cautious when they leave their car to be parked for the home game against the Bengals.
The couple allegedly had cash stolen from their wallets, which they left in the car to be parked by a valet in a parking area designated for family and friends of team members when the Browns played a home game against the Giants on Sept. 27.
"Everything's been taken care of, so I trust it will never happen again," Griffin said.
--There is nothing mysterious about the Browns' 0-12 record. They rank last in the AFC defensively in seven categories -- total defense, rushing yards per game, passing net yards per play, sacks per pass play, first downs per game, third down efficiency and points allowed.
"I'll step in and do the best I can to help the team however I can," Cooper said. "Do I feel like the weight of the world is on my shoulders specifically? No. I'm only one person. I know as long as we work together and continue to improve as a unit, the sky's the limit."
Cooper is starting because John Greco is out for the rest of the season with a foot injury.
--Rookie wide receiver Corey Coleman might see some time as a punt returner over the last four games, but Coach Hue Jackson isn't making guarantees.
"There is potential that can happen, yes," Jackson said. "Corey is very talented. We would love to see him go out there and catch them, but again, he is such a huge part of what we do on offense. I would like to get him back there before the season is out just so he can do it."
LT Joe Thomas (knee) did not practice. He has been taking Wednesday and Thursday off since October.
TE Randall Telfer (thumb) did not practice. He had surgery last week during the bye.
S Derrick Kindred (ankle) was placed on the non-football injury list. He was injured in an unspecified way during the bye.
DB Tramon Williams had full participation in practice Wednesday. He missed the last two games because of a knee injury.
CB Jamar Taylor was limited in practice because of a groin injury.