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5 things to know the day after the Bengals loss

1. Major, minor injuries hit Browns offense

On top of losing offensive lineman Joel Bitonio for the season, the Browns also could be without fullback Malcolm Johnson for an extended period.

Johnson injured his groin during Sunday's first quarter against the Bengals. The rookie did not return, and Browns coach Mike Pettine said the injury could be "severe."

Wide receiver Travis Benjamin (shoulder) is considered day to day. X-Rays on wide receiver Marlon Moore's ribs came back negative, Pettine said.

"He's one of the toughest guys we have on the team," Pettine said. "I'd be surprised if he doesn't find a way to be back out there."

The status of the four players afflicted with concussions -- WR Andrew Hawkins, WR Taylor Gabriel, DB Joe Haden and DB Justin Gilbert -- has not changed.

2. What's next at left guard?

Asked if Cameron Erving would continue to play at left guard in the spot typically occupied by Bitonio, Pettine said a number of positions would be discussed in the coaches' upcoming meetings.

Erving, who started the previous two games while Bitonio was sidelined with a different ankle injury, filled in for Bitonio through most of Sunday's game. Austin Pasztor played the final nine snaps after Erving went through some noticeable adversity.

The Browns added former Bills offensive lineman Gabe Ikard to the active roster after placing Bitonio on injured reserve. Ikard is considered an interior lineman.

3. Pettine, Browns 'upset' with defensive performance

The Browns' defensive numbers aren't good no matter how you look at them, and Pettine acknowledged the reasons for them are multiple.

That they're "a lot of little things" doesn't make it any easier for the former defensive coordinator to stomach in the wake of Sunday's 37-3 loss.

"For people to question the want-to and the passion to get it fixed, we're upset with it," Pettine said. "Maybe I don't show it outwardly, that's not my personality. I don't know whether people want me to start flipping out on the sideline. I did break one headset this year. I did that in St. Louis but I guess the TV cameras didn't catch it … I'm more likely to do that behind the scenes when it calls for it. But we know what it's supposed to look like and it's frustrating for a variety of reasons why we can't get it there.

"We have a plan to get it fixed and that plan's based on simple things: passion, hard work, rolling up our sleeves. We're going to use this time. We're going to use this time to find out who's in with us to get that fixed and who potentially isn't."

Rookie defensive lineman Danny Shelton said Monday's film review sessions were "disappointing" because the Browns defense didn't accomplish any of the goals it set for itself against the Bengals.

"We are struggling right now," Shelton said. "All anyone can think about is trying to win a game. It is tough when things don't go your way and you get beat at home, especially."

4. A test on Browns' 'mental toughness'

Pettine said the Browns, at 2-10 with four games to play, face "as big a test of our mental toughness that we'll face."

"That doesn't change how we have to approach things. We preach control the controllables and I think that's certainly appropriate as the negativity continues to mount," Pettine said. "I said it before, we're going to use this to get stronger. We're going to look back on it and use the knowledge that we gained. It is a tough time for us.

"Losing is the worst feeling, especially when you know that you're letting others down, people that spend their money to come see us play. Our fans, not just in this area but all over. That weighs heavy on us but we're going to do our best."

Pettine said he has not seen an increase in "loafs" or mental errors from players that he would correlate with a decrease in effort. He cited the play of center Alex Mack and tight end Gary Barnidge, both of whom have the ability to play elsewhere next season, as prime examples of giving maximum effort regardless of the situation.

"My indication on that and the biggest test of it is when you watch the film," Pettine said, "and I don't see it."

5. No surprise

By the end of Sunday's game, the Browns were down to two healthy wide receivers who were active: Brian Hartline and Darius Jennings. The latter was appearing in his first NFL game after spending the first 12 weeks on Cleveland's practice squad.

Hartline, who praised Jennings throughout the preseason, wasn't surprised to see Jennings play with comfort and finish with five receptions for 35 yards.

"I knew he was able to play since camp. It was just a numbers thing and opportunity given," Hartline said. "A lot of the plays he made were no surprise to me, specifically in the receiver room and the offense. Good for him. I think he definitely brings a lot to the table."

Pettine said both Dwayne Bowe and Terrelle Pryor had the potential to be active Sunday against the 49ers.

"The guys in the concussion protocol (Gabriel and Hawkins), there is a chance. You can't say they are out this week. There is a chance," Pettine said. "At this point with the roster and who is up and who is down, it is still a little bit too fluid to say who in that receiving room is going to be up."

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