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Haden to do what's best for team

Posted Dec 17, 2013

Cleveland Browns defensive back Joe Haden said he will play Sunday at the Jets only if he can help the team.

Cleveland Browns defensive back Joe Haden suffered a hip pointer with 3:59 to play in the third quarter of Sunday’s 38-31 loss to the Chicago Bears at FirstEnergy Stadium, and was unable to return to the game.

On Monday, Haden underwent further evaluation, and Browns coach Rob Chudzinski said the X-rays came back negative.

“We’ll take it day-by-day, and we’ll see how he is Wednesday,” Chudzinski said.

Haden said he will go through treatments over the next two days and see how the injury responds before it is determined whether or not he will be able to practice ahead of Sunday’s game at MetLife Stadium.

“If I can play, I’m going to play,” Haden said. “If I can’t, I won’t. I would love to definitely finish out the season and play, but I’m not going to go out there if I’m not ready or if I’m going to hurt the team in any way.”

After talking about the plan for the next few days, Haden described what was going through his mind while he laid on the ground in front of the Browns’ sideline.

“I knew I wasn’t able to get up at the time,” Haden said. “It was just hurting. I just felt pain, and I knew it wasn’t bad bad. I knew I was going to be okay, but I just knew at that very moment, I couldn’t get up.

“It’s tough, but I didn’t want to go out there and hurt my team either. I went to the back and I was trying to see if I could move. If I would’ve gone out there, I would’ve hurt them way more than I could’ve helped.”

In Haden’s absence, Julian Posey and Leon McFadden saw their roles expand on defense. Posey and McFadden each finished the game with two total tackles, as well as a 1/2 sack of Bears quarterback Jay Cutler.

“They’re fighters,” Haden said. “They’re competitors, and they work hard every, single day in practice with technique. They’re working hard and making plays in practice. The main thing I’d tell them is, ‘You can’t go out there and be afraid. Just go out there and leave it all on the line.’ As long as they know the calls and know the checks, they should be okay because they’re talented players.”

Chudzinski added, “I thought Posey came in and did a nice job. He got a number of snaps, and as I mentioned before, Chicago presented a number of tough matchups with their receivers. Posey has gotten a lot better. He was on the practice squad a few weeks ago and we moved him up. He needs to step up. He’ll get his opportunity, and I look forward to seeing him.”

THIRD-DOWN DEFENSE

The Browns struggled with third-down defense earlier in the season, and the problem returned Sunday, as the Bears converted nine of 14 (64 percent) of their third-down attempts.

“I felt like we had made some improvements through the course of the last number of weeks, but it’s been too inconsistent,” Chudzinski said. “We had some busted coverage issues early in the game. We gave up too many big plays on third downs and we struggled, at times, with some of the matchups Chicago presented us.”

GORDON SHY OF 100 YARDS

After the most productive four-game stretch in NFL history, Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon caught only three of the 10 passes that were thrown his way against the Bears. He turned those receptions into 67 yards, including a 43-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter, but failed to reach the 100-yard plateau for the first time in more than a month.

“We had some things up for him early,” Chudzinski said. “It just didn’t work out to get him the ball in the first half. We never really were able to get into a rhythm, didn’t have a lot of snaps in the first half. We had some misses on him, a near-miss right there before the half that would’ve been a big play. I think that was a big play in the game.

“In the second half, we got him a few balls early, and I think there were a couple near misses again. We just weren’t able to make the connections with him, and sometimes, it’s going to be that way. We’re always going to work to get him the ball, and certainly, he’s a big part of what we’re trying to do.”

ANSWERING A CHALLENGE

After watching film of Sunday’s loss, Chudzinski was direct in the way he challenged the players and coaches to turn three consecutive one-score losses after having fourth-quarter leads into victories over the final two weeks of the regular season.

“We were unable to put all the pieces together, play a complete game and close it out,” Chudzinski said. “Simply, we did not execute well enough. We’re not going to just hope we get better. We’re going to make good things happen. We’re going to be proactive. I’ve challenged our players and coaches to be part of the solution.”

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