Unlike a typical week in the National Football League where there are seven days between games, the Browns had just 100 hours between the end of Sunday’s 24-14 loss to the Buffalo Bills at Cleveland Browns Stadium and Thursday night’s matchup against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium.
Instead of film study and a day off before resuming practice on Wednesday, Browns coach Pat Shurmur will hold two practices, one each on Monday and Tuesday, travel to Baltimore Wednesday and play the game in front of a national television audience on NFL Network’s Thursday Night Football.
“We sped up the process of correcting yesterday and we’re, right now, working on playing Baltimore Thursday,” Shurmur said. “We’ll be out there on the field and we’ll have to amp it up and get ready to go down there and beat Baltimore, who won a game last night on the last play. We all know they’re a good team and they’re even better when they play at home. It’s a big challenge for us, but we need to go down there and do it.
“You’ve just got to amp it up and get your plan in. You tend to see teams doing things -- I wouldn’t say fundamental or basic -- but things they’ve been working on all year and we’ve had all year to watch Baltimore. It’s not like we’re surprised by a Thursday night game. We know it’s here.”
After Sunday’s loss to the Bills, the Browns are 0-3, while the Ravens come into Thursday’s game on the heels of a last-second home win over the New England Patriots on Sunday night.
Shurmur sees Thursday as another opportunity for the Browns to show progress on the field and take that next step of finishing an opponent.
“You’re always disappointed when you lose because there’s a great deal of effort that goes into it and I’ve said it before, gameday never gets old,” Shurmur said. “You go out there with the idea that you’re going to play well for 60 minutes and win a football game, so they’re disappointed.
“The professional reality of it is, you have to put that aside, make your corrections and move forward and that’s where I want them to be. Should they be upset? Absolutely. Should they be discouraged? Absolutely not. You cannot be discouraged. You just keep fighting. We’ve got 13 games left and nobody in our division -- and it’s about winning your division so you can get into the playoffs -- has won all their games. We’ve got a division opponent on the road with a great opportunity to get the ship righted Thursday night.”
DEALING WITH INJURIES
Less time to prepare for a game also means less time to heal from injuries sustained earlier in the season.
“That’s something we all deal with,” Shurmur said. “I think injuries are a part of it and they hit teams in different ways. The schedule falls the way it is and you’ve got to deal with it. There’s no excuses and that’s the way it is, next man up.”
BUILDING OFF SUCCESS
In Sunday’s loss to the Bills, Weeden completed 27 of 43 attempts for 237 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions. Richardson totaled 51 yards of offense (27 rushing, 24 receiving) with his 18 touches.
“I wanted to build and win a game,” Shurmur said. “That’s what winning is and we didn’t get that done. That’s what disappoints me. We didn’t win. I think you saw probably the end of a lot of games where the coaches could say they didn’t play well and they won. Then, there’s some games where teams felt like they played well and lost. It’s about winning games and that’s how you build.”
FINDING A COMBINATION
The Browns made just one change to the projected starting lineup in Sunday’s loss when they deactivated
Young responded by making six solo tackles, which tied for the second-most on the team in the game.
“We consider everything, but I thought Usama Young did a very nice job and I thought (Tashaun) Gipson did well when he was in there. Those were the two changes there.
“A player needs to learn every way possible. Unfortunately, you have to deactivate certain players and he knew ahead of time that it was going to happen and he needs to learn from that. When you put a roster together, you consider everything: their reps as a starter, their reps as a backup and then, how they contribute on special teams. We’re trying to find that winning combination and that’s why we did it.”
MAKING THE MOST
With Smith still out of the lineup due to injury, second-year Brown,
His longest catch went for 18 yards.
“I thought he showed up and did some good things,” Shurmur said. “By the way they played defense, we felt like there were some tight end throws that we could make. I thought he made progress.