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Browns adjust personnel in secondary

Posted Oct 11, 2012

Due to injuries and the conclusion of a suspension, the Browns have adjusted their personnel in the secondary.

The Cleveland Browns lost one defensive back in Dimitri Patterson in their 41-27 loss to the New York Giants last Sunday, but they gained another when third-year pro, Joe Haden returned to the team after serving a league-mandated four-game suspension.

Haden played in the opener, but missed divisional games at the Cincinnati Bengals and Baltimore Ravens. He returns to the lineup in time for Sunday’s home game against the Bengals.

“It’s great to have Joe back, there’s no doubt about it,” Browns defensive coordinator Dick Jauron said. “We’ve talked about it almost every week since he’s been out. It’s just never good to have a starter out of your lineup. Scheme-wise, it helps us a little bit. It doesn’t change a lot of stuff significantly, but it does change some things.”

One change will come in the Browns’ nickel package.

For the better part of two seasons, Patterson has been the team’s nickel back in charge of defending the opponent’s slot receiver in the middle of the field. Having been a defensive back with the Detroit Lions and Bengals before beginning his coaching career, Jauron knows the challenges are different for a cornerback in the slot than they are on the outside of a defense.

“Things happen very quickly,” Jauron said of the slot. “You may be able to help that inside guy a little bit more, a little bit quicker. It all depends on who else they have and really, they have a lot of weapons on offense. You can get help to him quicker in terms of doubling, but there’s a lot of field around him. I always thought it was very hard to play in the middle of the field. Not everybody can go in there, even if they’re terrific outside players. It’s just a different deal in there.”

Without Patterson, the Browns have the option of turning to second-year pro Buster Skrine and rookie Trevin Wade for the nickel situations.

“Buster has played inside for us before and he’s worked there,” Jauron said. “He practiced there a good deal last year and I would say a significant amount this year, so he can move inside. He’s fairly familiar with it. Clearly, he doesn’t have a lot of experience there, but Buster doesn’t have a lot of experience in the league.

“Trevin is aware; he’s very aware. He’s played well for us most of the time. He’s another young player that will develop over time and just get better. He’s tackled well when he’s been called on to tackle. He’s ready to go, if he needs to go in there.”

Skrine has played in 21 games with two starts in his time with the Browns. He has registered 36 total tackles, including 34 solo stops, and intercepted one pass, while defending nine others.

“I just have a lot of admiration for the way he plays and the toughness he plays with,” Jauron said. “I have a lot of respect for his toughness. Clearly, his speed and his quickness are things you can’t teach. He’s gifted in that regard and he’s a guy that really does want it badly. He prepares as well as you can prepare. He works so hard at practice every day and he listens. Guys that battle like that and guys that press like that, they’re going to get (penalized), so we’ve got to clean that up. I have a strong belief in him. He’s a terrific young man. He’s just a tough player that likes the game and is going to get better.”

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