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5 Observations: Browns looking for more out of red zone offense

The Browns landed back in Berea early Monday morning and were back to work soon thereafter.

Here's what's happening.

1) Red-zone offense

The Browns offense had a good day Sunday. Their 27 points were the second-most they've scored in the last 15 games dating back to last season and the 432 yards of offense was the most since last year's late-November win at Atlanta.

Still, Browns coach Mike Pettine and quarterback Josh McCown saw room for so much more on a day in which the team moved the ball effectively through the air and on the ground.

While pleased that Travis Coons made all four of his field-goal attempts, Pettine was frustrated by the fact he had to attempt so many in the first place.

"We need to do a better job finishing some drives in the end zone," Pettine said. "Throughout the season, not just yesterday, we had some penalties in the red zone that has forced us to take field goals over touchdowns. It is hard to win that way."

In 11 possessions that reached the opponent's 20-yard line, the Browns have come away with three touchdowns and six field goals. Cleveland actually has more offensive touchdowns of 20 yards or longer (five) than the three that came from inside the red zone.

On Sunday, the Browns had a touchdown and three field goals in its four trips inside the 20-yard line. One of those possessions can be discounted because the Browns drove 70 yards in 1:33 and kicked a field goal on first down to come away with points at the end of the first half, but McCown stressed it's an area where the Browns can be better.

"Sometimes it just doesn't go your way," McCown said. "The fact that we are getting down there and getting points, that is a good thing. Certainly want to punch some of those in, for sure."

2) Injury updates

When the Browns return to practice Wednesday, they could have two injured players back and working in team drills.

Linebacker Scott Solomon and running back Robert Turbin, both of whom are recovering from ankle injuries, are anticipated to take that next important step toward returning to action at practice this week, Pettine said.

Pettine hopes cornerback Joe Haden, who did not play Sunday against the Chargers because of pain in a broken finger, will "get more comfortable" with the injury as he works back for the Ravens game.

Wide receiver Brian Hartline, who was sidelined through most of Sunday's game with a rib injury and thigh contusion, could be limited in practice early in the week, Pettine said.

Pettine did not have an update on safety Tashaun Gipson, who injured his ankle during Sunday's second half and did not return.

3) Better tackling

Pettine's Monday press conference centered heavily on the problems the defense experienced during the first quarter of the season, but the Browns coach felt better about how the team tackled Sunday compared to a Week 3 performance that included 14 missed tackles.

Pettine didn't have an exact number of missed tackles but called it a "marked improvement."

"I think the tackling improved because there were fewer tackles that were required in the run game to be made in open space," Pettine said. "When you have someone bottled up, it is a lot easier to make a tackle when it is more in a phone booth than it is out in open field."

4) More kudos for special teams play

Lost amid the scrutiny of Tramon Williams' offsides penalty on San Diego's late field goal attempt was another strong performance from the Browns special teams units.

Pettine provided that Monday, highlighting the recent performances of Coons, punter Andy Lee, Travis Benjamin and Justin Gilbert.

Benjamin logged another long punt return (31 yards) that was set up nicely by a block from Gilbert, who excelled in his first full game as a kickoff returner. All three of Gilbert's kick returns went for more than 35 yards.

Coons, whom Pettine called a "big question mark" heading into the season, made all four of his field goals to move to 7-for-7 on the season. Lee averaged 48 yards on his four punts with an average net of 46.8.

5) Austin Davis active while active

Third-string quarterback Austin Davis was made active for Sunday's game against the Chargers when Haden was scratched shortly before the inactive list was due.

Active for the second time since he joined the Browns, Davis was engaged from start to finish and was seen interacting frequently on the sidelines with McCown.

McCown said that's par for the course.

"He loves the game and he is studying the pictures all the time and trying to give me as much feedback as he can," McCown said. "That is part of what we do. We get over there on the sideline and talk through it as quarterbacks so everyone is on the same page with what is going on. I think it is more a reflection of that is how he is wired. He loves to study those pictures and see what is happening, so he can not only help himself get prepared, but also be able to give whether it is me or (offensive coordinator John DeFilippo) any little tidbits of feedback that you can get."

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