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Browns to count on fan support Sunday

Posted Sep 27, 2013

Cleveland Browns head coach Rob Chudzinski is ready to play in front of the home fans in Sunday’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals.

“There’s no place like home. There’s no place like home. There’s no place like home.”

Although Cleveland Browns head coach Rob Chudzinski did not need to click his heels together to return home after two consecutive road games at Baltimore and Minnesota like Dorothy did in The Wizard of Oz, the Browns are back at home for Sunday’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals. And that is exactly where Chudzinski wants to be for the Battle of Ohio.

“I look forward to the Battle of Ohio and being back with our fans here at home in the stadium,” Chudzinski said. “I need them to get there early and be loud and prepared for a great game.

“I’m pleased with the week of practice. This is a tremendous challenge for us. The Bengals are a very talented group, as we all know. We’ll need all hands on deck. It’ll be a team effort on Sunday, and that’s what we’ll need to play the game.”

Chudzinski is not the only native Ohioan returning to Cleveland in a prominent role for Sunday’s game.

Two weeks ago, quarterback Brian Hoyer found himself third on the Browns’ depth chart, but was elevated to starter when Brandon Weeden suffered a sprained right thumb in a 14-6 loss to the Baltimore Ravens on Sept. 15. Now, Hoyer leads the Browns into FirstEnergy Stadium on the heels of a 31-27 come-from-behind victory over the Minnesota Vikings last Sunday.

“I know he’s excited about his opportunity,” Chudzinski said. “We’ve talked mostly just about focusing on what we need to do and all the other things, blocking those things out and not worrying about those things. Just based on the game and last game, he’s shown the ability to do that.

“He’s a pro, and he understands that once the ball is kicked off, it’s football. He’s playing the game that he’s played his whole life. He knows what expectations are, and he’ll get into the course of the game and we won’t be thinking a thing about that.”

LITTLE RESPONDS

Following the first two games of the season, Chudzinski moved Davone Bess and the returning Josh Gordon into the starting wide-receiver spots, which put third-year veteran Greg Little into the role of reserve. In addition to his new role on offense, Little dropped back to return kickoffs, which he did once for 26 yards in the victory over the Vikings.

“Greg is a hard worker to begin with,” Chudzinski said. “I think it’s given him the opportunity to refocus on some things. Obviously, we’ve been able to get him on the kickoff, which has been a good thing. As I’ve seen this week, he’s making plays, so that’s step one. Let’s carry it over to the field, and I expect Greg to do that.”

INJURY UPDATES

After Friday’s practice, Chudzinski declared that Weeden (right thumb), linebacker Quentin Groves (ankle) and defensive lineman Billy Winn (quadriceps) are out for Sunday’s game against the Bengals. Offensive lineman Shawn Lauvao (ankle) and kicker Billy Cundiff (right thigh) are questionable, and outside linebacker Jabaal Sheard (knee) is doubtful.

“He kicked,” Chudzinski said of Cundiff. “He seems to have no problems with that. We’ll see tomorrow how he feels. We have a plan and we’ll stick to that plan going forward. We have possibilities with (punter) Spencer (Lanning), as well as other guys that are out there.”

Of Weeden, Chudzinski said “He’s throwing. He’s going to throw again tomorrow, but he’s progressing. Today was the first day with a football.”

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