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5 observations: Browns know run defense 'not good enough'

The Browns' first Victory Monday of 2015 isn't over yet, and plenty of coaches are sticking around to break down Sunday's performance and start preparing for the Oakland Raiders.

Mike Pettine and a couple of key defensive players met with reporters during the afternoon. Here's what we pulled away from it.

1) Picking at the negatives after a win centers on run defense

Pettine said he likes to find the positives after a loss and locate the negatives after a win, and Monday's day at the office fulfilled that mindset.

"We knew yesterday and it was certainly validated by the film. There's a lot of stuff to get cleaned up," Pettine said. "Just like last week we'll take today to learn from it but the same drill, compartmentalize it, put it in a box. This box is a little nicer looking than the one from a week ago but then we move on."

Two big things stood out to the Browns head coach: Ball security at quarterback (two balls put on the ground) and the run defense, which surrendered a couple of big plays and 166 yards on the day.

Through two games, Cleveland has allowed 320 rushing yards, a total that ranks last in the NFL.

"Not good enough," Pettine said. "When you get multiple guys that get minuses on a play, you are going to give up a run like that. We know it needs to be better. We got to the point in the game with the lead where we were more pass-conscious than we were run, so we were willing to concede some yards later, but early in the game there were several plays that need to be better."

Speedy scat back Dexter McCluster was a thorn in the Browns' side throughout the game. For a second consecutive week, an opposing running back was able to do damage on the edge, and McCluster was able to use his quicks to finish with a career-high 98 yards on just 10 attempts.

The focus on improving the run defense was a central topic in the team's meetings Monday.

"We have to play more consistent," linebacker Craig Robertson said. "We had a lot of plays where we played great Browns defense. Then, we had some plays where we slipped a little bit. We have to be consistent if we want to be a consistent winner in this league."

2) Diagnosing Manziel's fumble issues

Pettine said the solution to Manziel's recent issues with fumbles is fairly simple.

"He just needs to be stronger with it," Pettine said.

Of the two balls Manziel put on the ground Sunday, one came when Manziel "definitely" had two hands on the ball. The others featured sloppy technique.

Browns quarterbacks have put the ball on the ground five times in two games and lost possession on three of them. Pettine's focus centers on the ones that can be prevented.

"I think most quarterbacks when they get tomahawked like that from the backside, the ball's going to come out," Pettine said. "When you see it coming, when you sense it, I think he's got to do a better job of protecting."

3) Pettine explains 2nd-half play-calling

The Browns attempted just one pass on first or second down in Sunday's second half.

That wasn't by accident, Pettine said.

"When we got up 21, we were run first," Pettine said. "I wanted to make sure we got the run established, that we kept the clock moving … We wanted to make sure that we were methodical with our approach and we didn't want to get careless with the lead and start to throw the ball. Did we get predictable? Absolutely we did, but we wanted to make sure that we kept the clock moving. I thought our guys responded well. At times the run game did show up."

The payoff came on Cleveland's final scoring drive, as Isaiah Crowell and Duke Johnson Jr. combined for 30 yards on six plays to kill some clock and set up Manziel's second touchdown pass to Travis Benjamin.

"We talk of we want to have the rushing attack that we talk about having. Those are the times of the game where you have to," Pettine said. "They knew we had to run."

4) A light injury report

The Browns had just four players inactive because of injuries against the Titans and that number likely won't grow Sunday against the Raiders.

Pettine didn't have much of an update on linebacker Barkevious Mingo (knee) or defensive lineman Desmond Bryant (shoulder) but stressed both players are dealing with injuries that didn't warrant much long-term concern.

5) Quote to note

Browns linebacker Armonty Bryant on how the constant pressure and hits caught up to Tennessee rookie quarterback Marcus Mariota:

"We saw him get up a little bit slower every time."

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