For the second straight week, the Cleveland Browns had an opportunity to watch their next opponent play live on NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” broadcast after completing a game earlier in the week.
Two weeks ago, the Browns played a 1 p.m. ET game on Sunday against the Buffalo Bills at Cleveland Browns Stadium and watched as the Baltimore Ravens hosted and defeated the New England Patriots at M&T Bank Stadium. This past Sunday, the Browns -- who played the Ravens on NFL Network’s “Thursday Night Football” -- watched as the New York Giants fell to the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field.
Browns coach Pat Shurmur said he watched the Giants-Eagles game last night and this morning.
“Just like a lot of games this weekend, a lot of games come down to the very last play, so you just keep playing,” said Shurmur, a former Eagles assistant coach. “At no point in the game do you get discouraged. You just keep playing hard. You just never know what’s going to happen. Two very good teams played one another and I was involved in a lot of those contests and I remember the feeling of those games.”
When asked whether it was better to play the Giants coming off of a win or loss, Shurmur said he expects a tough matchup inside MetLife Stadium Sunday afternoon.
“Each week, you reload and do what you can to get your team as good as they can be and match up against the opponent in a way that you can go out and win a football game,” Shurmur said. “Regardless of whether you win or lose, you try to reset and move forward.”
Following the loss to the Ravens on Thursday night, the Browns broke down the game film and went through their corrections. Then, the focus quickly shifted to this week and the game against the defending Super Bowl champion Giants.
Over the past five seasons, the Browns have defeated the defending Super Bowl champion three times. They started the streak with a win over the Giants on Oct. 13, 2008, in front of a national television audience on “Monday Night Football.” The Browns continued that run when they split the season series with the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2009.
They followed the Steelers win with a 30-17 victory over the New Orleans Saints at the then Louisiana Superdome on Oct. 24, 2010.
“It was good for the players to get away for a day or so and it gave us a chance to go through what we’ve done to this point in the year,” Shurmur said. “At this point, we’re not where we want to be at and so, we’re putting all our energy and our focus into beating the Giants. It was a good practice today. Guys ran around and we were working more on fundamentals and doing all the things right and we snuck a peek at the Giants.”
DEALING WITH INJURIES
The Browns practiced Monday without several players in the lineup due to injuries sustained during the first four weeks of the 2012 regular season. When asked about practicing without a full complement of players, Shurmur said the team will do what it has to in order to succeed on game day.
“We’ll make the roster as good as we can make it and we’re going to put the guys on the field that can play and give us the best opportunity to win,” Shurmur said. “If we’ve got to use three tight ends, if we’ve got to use two receivers, whatever the combination is, we’ve got plenty of plays and a lot of ideas. We’ll put the guys out there that give us the best chance to win.”
During his post-practice press conference, Shurmur was asked how rookie quarterbacks have adjusted to the professional level quicker than in years past. He felt it had to do with how they were taught at the collegiate level.
“A lot of these guys have been involved in the spread offenses; a lot of guys have been in a lot of pass-first offenses,” Shurmur said. “When I was at Michigan State, we had five plays and some of the guys only knew four of them, so you weren’t getting the same training that you get now coming into this league. I think it helps jumpstart their performance.”