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Shurmur: Players 'had good week'

Posted Oct 12, 2012

After Friday’s practice in Berea, Browns coach Pat Shurmur said he felt the players had a good week of preparation.

With Friday’s practice at the Berea training facility -- the final session before Sunday’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Cleveland Browns Stadium -- the Cleveland Browns completed their sixth week of game preparations.

Having watched practice on the field and again on videotape, Browns coach Pat Shurmur said he was pleased with the way his players prepared for the second game against the Bengals this season.

“Practice was good and the guys have had, once again, another good week,” Shurmur said. “I think we’re ready to go out and play hard. Now, we’ve just got to go play better.”

While installing the game plan for the Bengals, the Browns practiced without seven injured players during Wednesday and Thursday’s on-field work. However, the Browns did get defensive back Joe Haden back from a league-mandated, four-game suspension.

Haden played in the season-opening loss to the Philadelphia Eagles before serving his suspension. He registered six total tackles and returned an interception 50 yards. Haden is one of five Browns with at least one interception this season.

Shurmur said he saw “the same, old Joe” in practice.

“When you add a very fine player back to your defense, it helps,” Shurmur said. “With him being out of there, we’ve had to juggle some things, but now, we’re back to more of a lineup that we’re used to seeing.

“His presence is felt when you see him out there, when you watch him challenge balls and challenge receivers in practice. He got his hands on a couple balls and picked one off today. When you add a good player to the lineup, it’s obvious, just watching him play. I think the other players around him feel that and then, I think you build from there.”

In addition to Haden’s return, the Browns have been able to use rookie linebacker James-Michael Johnson on defense more than they were a week ago. Johnson returned to the field last week after missing the first four weeks of the season because of an injury to his ribs/oblique area.

“I think he’s prepared to play outside backer, as well as inside linebacker,” Shurmur said. “I would anticipate that he has a pretty darn good shot to play. Last week, we used him pretty much as a special teams player. It was his first game back and he hadn’t had a great opportunity to work in scrimmage downs, but this week, he’s much more ready.”

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