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Browns aim to keep momentum rolling

Posted Oct 11, 2013

The Cleveland Browns enter Sunday’s game winners of three straight, and hungry for more success before setting out for back-to-back road games.

One meeting, one snap, one practice, one game at a time.

That is the formula the Cleveland Browns have approached every day with under the direction of first-year coach Rob Chudzinski since the start of the offseason program in April. And it is that mindset that has helped the Browns overcome an 0-2 start and build a three-game winning streak heading into Sunday’s game against the Detroit Lions.

And since the plan has worked so far, Chudzinski sees no reason to change it.

“The best way is taking the approach that we have, just treating every, single week as a brand new week and resetting after the game’s over, knowing the challenges that are ahead,” Chudzinski said. “You look at a team like Detroit, and the type of team that they are, it’s a great challenge for us in every area, individually, and as a team.”

Following Friday’s practice, Chudzinski said he was “pleased” with the work the players put in throughout the week.

“We had three good days of practice,” Chudzinski said. “Our guys, I like their attention to detail, and they recognize the challenge that Detroit is, an outstanding team, very talented. We’ll need to be sharp and on top of our game in all three phases.

“It presents a great challenge for us. We’re excited about the challenge, and we’re also excited about being at home and having our fans out there for the game.”

After a slow start to the season and the trade of starting running back Trent Richardson, the Browns fought their way to three wins, two of which they earned with fourth-quarter comebacks at the Minnesota Vikings and at home, against the Buffalo Bills on NFL Network’s Thursday Night Football last week.

Because of the three-game winning streak, the Browns find themselves in a first-place tie atop the AFC North Division with the Baltimore Ravens and Cincinnati Bengals.

“The foundation we’re built on, it was too early in the season to have all our dreams completely fall apart,” said defensive captain D’Qwell Jackson. “We’ve got a good group of leaders, a good group of guys from top to bottom that understand this game and understand how important this game is.

“Two games weren’t going to determine the rest of the season for us. I had total faith in the guys we have in this locker room.”

Chudzinski echoed those sentiments when talking about the desire of the players to keep fighting when outside distractions could have spoiled five months of hard work before the end of September.

“I think it says a lot about the leadership in the locker room, and those guys that have been here for a while,” Chudzinski said. “You know about the D’Qwells and Joe Thomases, but there’s some other guys, Quentin Groves, the Joe Hadens, T.J. Ward, some guys stepping up, Phil Taylor, Davone Bess. There are a lot of good guys in that locker room that keep it level whether things are going (well) or not so (well). I give those guys the credit.”

THE DIRTY WORK

The Browns signed tight end Gary Barnidge during the offseason after he spent the first five years of his career with the Carolina Panthers. During his last two years with the Panthers, Barnidge worked under Chudzinski, who was the team’s offensive coordinator.

Since coming to Cleveland, Barnidge has been on the receiving end of only three passes, but has been a contributor in run-blocking and on special teams.

“He does a lot of the ‘dirty jobs’ for us, so to speak,” Chudzinski said. “He’s blocking. He’s pass-protecting. He’s making some catches, here and there. He has a background in the system, so that helps with guys around him, being out there and being a traffic cop. He never complains, does his job, no matter what that is, and comes to work with a smile.”

HOYER SCHEDULES SURGERY

According to Chudzinski, quarterback Brian Hoyer will have surgery to repair the torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee next Friday. If all goes well, the Browns expect him to be back on the field well ahead of the 2014 season.

“Typically, you want to get all of the swelling,” Chudzinski said of the surgery taking place two weeks after the injury. “The more swelling you can get out before the surgery, the quicker the rehab on the back end. We’re hoping that he would be back during the spring, OTAs and all those things.”

GETTING HEALTHY

Outside linebackers Jabaal Sheard and Quentin Groves were able to return to the practice field on a limited basis this week, and both players were listed as “questionable” ahead of Sunday’s game against the Lions.

“I thought they moved around pretty well,” Chudzinski said. “We worked them back into the team things. We’ll see how they respond tomorrow after a few days of hard work, where they're at, and if they’re ready.”

 

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