BEREA — The good news is Joe Haden is back.
The bad news is Dimitri Patterson is most likely out.
In the first game against the Cincinnati Bengals, the Cleveland Browns did a pretty good job of shutting down the Bengals’ rushing game. However, they were beaten in the passing game and by an 81-yard punt return by Adam Jones early in the game.
Haden will step in at left cornerback opposite Sheldon Brown on the right side. However , Patterson’s ankle injury will likely result in Buster Skrine, Trevin Wade or Johnson Bademosi taking over on the slot receiver. Bademosi has played almost exclusively on special teams leaving the third cornerback to be either Skrine or Wade.
In the first game with the Bengals, A.J. Green wasn’t the receiver that hurt the Browns the most, but rather the trio of Armon Binns, Andrew Hawkins and Brandon Tate, as they combined for 10 receptions for 193 yards and two touchdowns. Green did have seven catches for 58 yards and a score.
Patterson spent much of the first game on Green. Haden is expected to draw the assignment this week.
Pat Shurmur said he expects Haden to immediately be ready to play.
“I think he’ll be extremely sharp,” Shurmur said. “In talking with him about how he spent his time away and knowing the kind of condition and the kind of shape he keeps himself in, I anticipate physically, he’ll be sharp. It’s just a matter of going out there and practicing and getting his sea legs back this week, so he’s ready to go on Sunday.”
He also expects him to be able to handle Green or whoever he covers.
“I think he’s back in the lineup and he’s playing and he’s one of our better defensive players,” Shurmur said. “By the essence of somebody’s presence sometimes that can happen and I anticipate he’s going to go out there and battle just like all of the other guys.”
Dick Jauron is glad to have Haden back in the lineup.
“It’s great to have Joe back,” he said. “It’s never good to have a starter out.”
Jauron said having Haden back does allow him a little flexibility.
“Scheme-wise, it helps us a little bit.”
The bigger concern is in nickel situations and who will play the slot. Skrine and Wade will most likely spend the majority of the game trying to cover the receivers who hurt them last time.
Last week against the New York Giants, Skrine was the whipping boy for Eli Manning. He gave up big plays and had a key penalty. He has 26 tackles and leads the team with seven passes broken up.
“Buster has played inside for us and has practiced there,” Jauron said. “He can move inside and is familiar with it, but Buster doesn’t have a lot of experience in the league.”
Jauron likes Skrine and his mentality.
“I have a lot of admiration for him,” he said. “He’s learning a lot. He’s making plays. I respect he’s learning a lot and he really wants it badly. He works so hard in practice and he listens. He will keep developing.
“He’s going to keep (making mistakes) and he’s got to clean that up,” Jauron said. “But, I have a strong belief in him.”
Jauron said he doesn’t think Skrine has lost his confidence after his recent outings.
“I think he’s all right,” he said. “He’s OK. Nobody wants to have a ball caught on him, but I really do think he’ll be all right.”
The other choice is Wade, who is a rookie. Wade has two tackles on the season.
In that first meeting last month, Hawkins broke loose in the fourth quarter on a 50-yard touchdown on a blown coverage by Wade, who was forced into action when Brown went down with an injury.
“Definitely Trevin can be used inside,” Jauron said. “Clearly one of the big plays in that game came in a broken play where he lost track of his man and unfortunately that’s one of the ways you learn. Trevin is aware and is a young player who will develop. He’s ready to go if he goes in there.”
Jauron knows that covering the slot receiver is a tough task and that is what Patterson was best at. He said there are options to give whoever it is help.
“Things happen quickly (in the slot),” Jauron said. “You can get help for him quicker. It’s always tough inside because there’s field all around you.”
Jauron knows the reality of dealing with injuries in the NFL.
“There are not limitless options, but I do have faith in Buster,” he said. “Trevin is also there.”
Birthday Boy: Browns rookie QB Brandon Weeden will turn 29 years old on Sunday as the Browns take on the Bengals. He would like a win for his birthday.
“It’d be a heckuva birthday present.”
Weeden said Wednesday that his ego might have got in the way of his performance in being too aggressive sometimes. He’s thrown nine interceptions, including two big ones against the Giants last week.
“There’s a fine line,” Weeden said. “Guys who have been aggressive throughout the past, it has resulted in turnovers. I don’t need to be as aggressive as I have been in the past, it has resulted in turnovers. I don’t need to be as aggressive as I have been in the past.
“I need to be smarter,” he said. “I need to take what they give me. I think when you’re in college, and guys are open all the time, it’s easy to be aggressive because you’re throwing to open guys. In this league, not everybody’s open.”
Shurmur said he wants Weeden to be aggressive.
“That’s his way of phrasing it (ego), but I want an aggressive quarterback who’s willing to admit mistakes,” he said. “That’s the starting point of correcting it. If you make a mistake, you have to be willing to admit it.
“Just throw it out of bounds and let Phil (Dawson) kick the field goal and move on,” Weeden said. “Since Sunday I’ve watched every game we’ve played so far. Just areas where I can throw the football away and move on to the next play.”
Brad Childress is glad that Weeden is learning from his mistakes.
“To have him learn from it and come back is encouraging,” Childress said.
Weeden said he’s beyond the rookie excuse.
“I’ve played five games. I can’t play the rookie card. It’s long gone,” Weeden said. “When you’re in college and guys are open all the time it’s easy to be aggressive. In this league, not everybody’s open.”
D’Qwell Back: Good news for the Browns is the fact that LB D’Qwell Jackson was back practicing during the time open to the media. Jackson was listed as doubtful with a head injury on Wednesday’s injury report. DL Ahtyba Rubin did not practice.
Before practice, Shurmur said there was a chance Jackson and Rubin could practice.
Six players listed as doubtful on the injury report that didn’t practice Thursday were: WR Travis Benjamin (hamstring), DB Tashaun Gipson (knee), WR Mohamed Massaquoi (hamstring), WR Jordan Norwood (foot), DB Dimitri Patterson (ankle) and DL Ahtyba Rubin (calf). Questionable are LB Scott Fujita (shoulder), TE Alex Smith (head), DB Ray Ventrone (hand/calf) and DB T.J. Ward (hand). Fujita wasn’t on the field during the open media time.
Little Up: With only three receivers practicing, the Browns need WR Greg Little to have more production. Last week against the Giants, Little had zero catches and was just targeted twice.
Weeden said it wasn’t intentional.
“It was just a coincidence,” Weeden said. “I talked to him about it. He’s a guy that’s capable of making a bunch of plays. You’d be crazy not to throw it to him.”
Little said he knows his time will come.
“I just know there’s been games where I didn’t have a catch until the two-minute drill and it was three catches to move the ball down there and win the game,” he said. “I just know you got to stay into it whatever it is.”
Little had five catches for 57 yards, including a 24-yard touchdown against the Bengals in the first game.
Taylor Back: Last year’s top draft choice DL Phil Taylor suffered a torn pectoral muscle in the off-season program and missed all of the off-season program and training camp. He was placed on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list and is eligible to come off after this week’s game.
Shurmur was asked if he would return next week.
“He looks great,” he said. “Let’s say this. I think he’s right on schedule.”
Originally, speculation was he could return in October.