Hue Jackson was in good spirits Friday afternoon as the Browns march forward past a handful of injuries that have piled up over the past two weeks. Earlier this week, Cleveland's first-year coach said he wasn't "blinking," and neither are his players.
"They've had a great week. These guys are resilient. I haven't sensed one guy that's fallen off the boat. These guys are working hard. We know we have a big game this week," Jackson said as the Browns travel to Miami this weekend. [
"Again, I give a lot of that credit to our veteran players. Those guys have done a great job in the locker room. Again, our coaches, I think in our organization, we've done a good job of making sure that our guys understand that next week's another opportunity. I think that's what this is all about. It's still so early in the season. We're just heading into Week 3. Like I said, we're just starting out. We have a long way to go."
Feed the Crow
After an 18-carry, 133-yard outing against the Ravens, the Browns will continue to try and establish the run behind Isaiah Crowell.
"I think the more we hand it to him, I think the more comfortable he gets, the better he's going to be. I want consistency from him," Jackson said. "But again, he needs to get the ball in his hands. So does (RB) Duke (Johnson Jr.). So does all of our playmakers, but I think he's getting better."
Crowell has rushed for 195 yards and two touchdowns on 30 carries through two games.
Chris Tabor is well aware of the youth that currently makes up the Browns special teams. But that's no reason, he said, for why the unit should suffer breakdowns as it did against both the Eagles and Ravens.
"I'll be honest with you, they might be young players but they are Browns players. We will not use that as an excuse in our room," he said.
"They understand what the standard of that room should be. We are not there, but we have to get better. I won't answer that question. They are in the National Football League. They have to play at a higher level. We have to coach them at a higher level. To be honest with you, that's the fun part of coaching. It is a challenge."
And as the Browns travel to Miami, they'll have to contain dynamic returners in Pro Bowl receiver Jarvis Landry, Jakeem Grant and the speedy rookie Kenyan Drake.
"Miami's going to present some challenges for us. When you see the results the way you want them to be, you get excited about that. That's what we are looking forward to," Tabor said.
"I will say this. They might be young, but I have confidence in those kids. Because there's things on tape that maybe other people don't see where you can see them getting better. We have to put back to back better plays together. That's what we have to do."
The hot hand
Out of necessity and by design, Browns defensive coordinator Ray Horton said the team will shuffle players in and out of the lineup at Hard Rock Stadium on Sunday.
"We will really play everybody that probably has a hat," Horton said, citing the heat and humidity Cleveland will have to adjust to in South Florida.
"We're giving guys opportunities and some of it is the guy that has a hot hand will get more opportunities depending on who that guy is. That's going to help us in the long run, it's going to help us develop talent, it's going to help us develop depth and obviously it's going to give guys an opportunity to show that we're looking for talented young men who can play in this league."
Through the air
With quarterback Ryan Tannehill and a receiving corps that includes Landry, DeVante Parker and Kenny Stills, Horton said the Dolphins offense is built to pass the ball.
"Oh boy," he said, "they have weapons on the outside."
Indeed, Miami currently ranks 13th in passing offense with almost 270 yards a game. And against a Browns pass defense that allowed more than 300 yards against the Ravens and Joe Flacco last weekend, Horton figures the Dolphins — who have struggled to run the ball — will try to air it out.
"I assume they're going to try and challenge us in the air," he said.