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Browns look for extended drives

Posted Oct 17, 2013

Cleveland Browns offensive coordinator Norv Turner knows the key to extending drives is getting multiple first downs on every possession.

On their first offensive possession in last Sunday’s 31-17 loss to the Detroit Lions, the Cleveland Browns gained 12 yards on a run from Willis McGahee, but after that initial play, the team went three-and-out.

The team went three-and-out on their second offensive possession of the game, and had three more three-and-outs during the second half of the loss.

Browns offensive coordinator Norv Turner said the lack of first downs early in the game can come just as much from the defense as it can from the offense.

“I’d love to start and put out a 15-play drive in the first drive, but again, I looked at the last couple weeks, and we were three-and-out the first two drives,” Turner said. “With Brian (Hoyer), we started our drives on the eight-yard line and 10-yard line.

Sometimes, it has as much to do with who you’re playing as it does who you are. We don’t want to do something in that first drive that has a major, negative effect on the game. In that first drive, we want to get first downs, and that’s what we’re trying to do.”

During the course of the game, the Browns converted five of 14 first downs (35 percent), while the Lions went eight of 14 (57 percent) in similar situations. The Browns also experienced a seven-minute deficit in time of possession.

“It still gets back to third down, and if we can convert third downs,” Turner said. “(Browns coach Rob Chudzinski) said it earlier in the week: ‘We’re working hard this week on third downs.’ There was some extra emphasis on third downs with our offense, with our defense, and then, you’re able to keep the ball a little bit longer.

“Where we are as an offensive football team, we’ve got to take care of ourselves. We’ve got to do the things that we do best. We’ve got to eliminate negative plays, whether it be a sack or interception.”

When taking care of the Browns’ offense, while Turner wants to convert third downs into first downs, he also expects his players to challenge the defense, but do so cautiously and avoid turning over the football.

“We coach off of every, single play,” Turner said. “There’s something that they can learn from on every play. You coach the quarterbacks that way. It’s frustrating for me, as it is everybody else. I see a guy that’s getting better in a lot of areas, but we have to eliminate the big, negative play.

“We’ve had a run of teams that are very good at pressuring and hitting the quarterback, so it makes it that much tougher, and we have the same types of teams ahead. The biggest thing for us is get everyone playing as well as they can, and help each other out.”