1. RG John Greco to miss final 2 games
Browns right guard John Greco will miss the final two games of the season because of an MCL injury, Browns coach Mike Pettine said Monday.
Greco went down on the second play of Sunday's loss at Seattle. The injury likely won't require surgery but is significant enough to keep him sidelined for Cleveland's games at Kansas City and against Pittsburgh on Jan. 3, at FirstEnergy Stadium.
Rookie Cameron Erving filled in for Greco on Sunday and will more than likely remain in that spot against the Chiefs. Earlier this season, Erving replaced Joel Bitonio at left guard but had his spot assumed by Austin Pasztor after a couple of games.
"Overall, Cam did some good things. There were a couple times where he got beat," Pettine said. "Overall, coming in cold in the first series; again, his effort, his energy is not the issue. Sometimes it's a physical thing and that's why it's encouraging to get him out there and play and hopefully we can get his confidence back up."
2. More words of encouragement for Erving
Veteran Joe Thomas said he's seen improvement from Erving throughout his rookie season and, similar to Pettine, has been encouraged by his energy and willingness to absorb everything that's been thrown at him.
"That is the No. 1 thing we are asking of him right now. Just keep getting better," Thomas said. "I think we are seeing that improvement. All guys mature at different times. It takes a little bit of time to get used to the NFL. It is a different game, schematically the players are different, they are bigger, they are stronger and they are faster. I see a guy that is willing and eager to learn and a guy that is getting better."
Thomas said Erving should focus most on his footwork and "technique with your footwork" during his first full NFL offseason. From his personal experience, Thomas said he considers himself "one of the weakest offensive linemen in the NFL," but is able to thrive because of his footwork.
"It doesn't matter if you have good feet and you are constantly in good position. You are using leverages. You are using angles. You are winning the science of your position," Thomas said. "The young players, it is something that takes time to learn. It really isn't about weight room strength. It is more about the positions you get your body in to be strong."
3. Pettine likes team's 'attitude' heading into final stretch
A review of the film showed the Browns' level of play Sunday at Seattle "just wasn't good enough," Pettine said, but he didn't see a dropoff in attitude or "fight" from the players.
"I think the players are still very much focused and intent on finding a way to end the season the right way," Pettine said. "I see that in how they practice, I see that in how they prepare and I see that during games. I see the emotion, the passion that you want to see in your team and we're going to continue to be that way for the next two games."
Veterans Gary Barnidge and Thomas affirmed as much Monday on earlier conference calls.
"We have no problem being the underdog," Barnidge said. "Nobody thinks anything of us. Nobody thought we were going to drive down the field the first drive against Seattle either and we did it. We relish that opportunity and we're looking forward to the games."
4. Secondary decisions
Pettine said he'd meet with his staff tonight to discuss how they plan to arrange the secondary in the event K'Waun Williams (shoulder) is forced to miss a second consecutive game.
Rookie Charles Gaines, who made his third straight start, moved to the inside on downs when the Seahawks deployed three wide receivers. His spot was primarily occupied by Johnson Bademosi on those downs. Later in the game, Pierre Desir took over for Bademosi.
"That situation where K'Waun is will probably have some impact on where we are with Pierre," Pettine said.
5. Pryor talk
Pettine said a review of the film showed a Seattle defensive lineman partially deflected the pass Johnny Manziel threw to Terrelle Pryor in Sunday's first quarter.
The pass was a fastball from Manziel and ultimately bounced off Pryor's hands. Pryor started Sunday's game and was targeted twice. He took a direct snap and was dropped for a 1-yard loss.
Pettine said there was no direct initiative to play Pryor more in the first half than in the second.
"Those substitutions are more between how Flip (offensive coordinator John DeFilippo) is calling the game, what personnel groups we are using and then (wide receivers coach) Joker Phillips having a sense for when one of his guys needs to come out and go ahead and get him a break," Pettine said. "I am on the offensive headset. There was nothing as far as, 'Hey we need to decrease (Pryor's) reps.' I just think that is just a function of how the game played out."