BEREA – The disappointment of the 34-31 overtime loss to the Philadelphia Eagles showed on Browns coach Butch Davis during his Monday press conference.
Davis was clearly in a down mood as he answered questions. He knew he had what would have been one of the team’s biggest victories in hand, only to watch it slip away.
“I’m not down. I don’t like losing,” Davis said. “It makes me sick. I don’t know if anybody recognized it, but these guys fought their guts out, even when we weren’t playing well.
“When it was 21-10 and we turned that ball over, they absolutely could have gone into the tank. When you have two catastrophic turnovers on kick offs, usually the bottom caves in and the other team just beats your brains out.”
What bothered Davis were the big plays allowed on defense. In particular, big plays allowed in the passing game have been telling.
“We have to eliminate the big plays,” Davis said. “A year ago everyone was on a crusade that you can’t stop the run. We’re doing a good job of stopping the run, but we have to stop the big pass play. That has been the number one thing we have to eliminate.”
Mental mistakes were another problem. Defensive end Kenard Lang estimated that the defense committed at least 20 mental miscues.
“There are degrees of severity of mental errors,” Davis said. “You don’t want any mental errors. You’d like for everybody to have stone-cold confidence that they know the game plan and the concepts that we’re trying to get accomplished. The ultimate is no mental errors. I’m not going to say we would accept 10 or six or 12.”
HAPPY WITH GARCIA: Davis agreed that quarterback Jeff Garcia had his best game of the season against the Eagles.
“He told me after the game that it really clicked,” Davis said. “He knew when the hots (blitzes) were coming. He knew where the hot guys were. He felt like he had a lot of confidence going out there. Things were meshing well.”
THE KING IS DOWN: Receiver Andre King was admittedly concerned when he fell to the ground with an ankle injury. King, who started in place of the injured Andre Davis, went down after breaking the huddle in the first quarter.
“I didn’t know what it was,” King said. “It felt real weird. It felt different. That’s why I took myself out. I didn’t want to mess up the offense.”
TIME TO RECUPERATE: The bye week comes at a good time on the schedule.
“This is a perfect time for it,” offensive tackle Ryan Tucker said. “We have some guys that are banged up.”
Tucker, who recently missed three games because of a quadriceps injury, has a sore right knee. Guard Kelvin Garmon has also had to deal with a quadriceps injury, and offensive tackle Ross Verba has had a groin problem.