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News & Notes

News & Notes: Browns look to overcome more injuries to star players

QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson still in concussion protocol


With the Browns 36-19 loss against the Rams on Sunday, the team dropped to 7-5 on the season and is now seventh place in the AFC. It was the first time all season the team lost back-to-back games.

The Browns are feeling disappointed after their recent losses, but they are still optimistic about their future. To boost morale, the team will rely on their leadership players, who are the spokespersons in their respective groups. Coach Stefanski trusts that the team will get back on track in Week 14.

"Yeah, I think we have really good leadership on this football team," Stefanski said. "I see it every day. I see it at practice. I see it on the sideline. Yesterday. We'll just continue to work. That's what we're about. So we'll get back to work on Wednesday."

As we head into Week 14, when the Browns return home to face the Jaguars, let's look at some of the news and notes from Monday.

Injury Updates

Stefanski said on Monday that he did not have any real updates. However, he provided clarity on WR Amari Cooper and QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson's statuses in the concussion protocol.

WR Amari Cooper

According to Stefanski, Cooper is in the concussion protocol. Cooper took a double hit in the second quarter of Sunday's game that ruled him out for the game. More updates will come on Wednesday.

QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson

Stefanski said on Monday that Thompson-Robinson is still in concussion protocol. Thompson-Robinson did not practice last week while the team was out in Los Angeles and was ruled out for Sunday's game against the Rams.

QB Joe Flacco's first game with the Browns

QB Joe Flacco made an impressive debut Sunday against the Rams. The offense looked very different with him under the helm than any other quarterback who has taken a snap this season for the Browns.

Unlike the three other quarterbacks who played this season for the Browns, Flacco doesn't possess the mobility ability they have, but his arm and experience make up for it.

On Sunday, Flacco completed 23 of 44 passes for 254 yards and two touchdowns. It was the second-most yards thrown in a game this season, and Flacco became the first Browns player to complete a pass to nine players in their first start.

"I would just tell you with Joe, he's been in great shape," HC Kevin Stefanski said. "He's worked hard off the field to stay ready. I'd say just throughout the course of the last couple of weeks, just watching his workout, watching him practice, felt confident that he had the ability to move, had the ability to make the throws. I think you saw his physical ability was obvious through the workout, through the practices."

Stefanski did not announce if Flacco will remain the starter moving forward for the Browns.

Check out photos of the Browns against the Rams in Week 13

Overcoming injuries this season

As the season continues to progress, more injuries are coming forth for the Browns. The Browns have been dealing with significant injuries since Week 2 when RB Nick Chubb went down.

The Browns have had a "next man up" mentality all season, and with more injuries coming forth, they will have to continue the mantra. DE Myles Garrett and CB Denzel Ward have both been dealing with shoulder injuries for the past two weeks. Both have been the top players on the team this season, consistently performing at a high level and backed up by impressive stats.

According to Pro Football Focus, Ward has allowed a passer rating of only 26.8 in single coverage this season, which is top three in the league. Garrett has 13 sacks – which is second in the NFL – and has 32 tackles this season.

On the offensive side of the ball, with Cooper in concussion protocol, the Browns receivers and tight ends will have to step up if he can't go on Sunday. Cooper has been one of the top offensive weapons for the Browns this season. He leads the team with 50 catches for 799 yards.

In Sunday's game, WR Elijah Moore had his best game this season with four catches for 83 yards. But as a team offensively, everyone will have to take their games to a new level if Cooper is unable to go against the Jaguars.

"Yeah, that's what it is, step up," Stefanski said. "Some guys when you lose a player, it opens up opportunities for other guys. (Cedric Tillman) got some opportunities, obviously Elijah slid into some of Amari's role and that's why it's really important for all of our players to be ready to step in any role. Sometimes you're playing out of position, so to speak. So those guys have to be ready to roll."

Looking for balance in the run and pass game

In back-to-back weeks, the Browns failed to establish the run effectively. Once again, the team had under 25 rushing attempts. For the first time this season, the Browns attempted almost twice as many passes as rushing attempts.

"We're always just trying to move the ball any which way we can," Stefanski said. "Felt like there were some opportunities in the run game. I think it was tough sledding early, but it opened up there in the second half and I think we'll just continue to look at ways that we can be explosive as an offense."

The Browns were only able to rush for 87 yards in their game against the Rams on Sunday. This marks the fourth game this season where they have rushed for under 100 yards. In Sunday's game, the Browns attempted to rush only 23 times, which is the lowest number of attempts they have made in a game this season.

RB Jerome Ford rushed for only 19 yards, which is his second-lowest total of the season. The Browns' run game was abysmal and one of their worst performances this season.

Meanwhile, the Browns pass game had one of the better outings, with 44 pass attempts for 254 yards. Nine different players caught a pass. Moore was targeted 12 times in Sunday's game, and the leading rusher, RB Kareem Hunt, had 12 attempts rushing.

Browns defense made little impact against the Rams

For the first time this season, the Browns defense didn't record a sack in a game. It was also the first game this season. The defense only had one tackle for loss.

They had no interceptions, no forced fumbles, and allowed four touchdowns. The Rams were able to score points every quarter.

They allowed 279 yards receiving and 120 yards rushing. It was a game the Browns' defense didn't do much overall. They will look to clean up a few things this week at practice and try to get back to being dominant.

"Obviously, there's things that we can do better on defense," Stefanski said. "We know that. There's plays that we can clean up, and that's really our focus. Our focus is finding those ways in game to make a play here and there. Credit to the Rams, they did a nice job. We really got our hands on, really one throw by (Matthew) Stafford there down in the red zone, but he took care of the ball. They got the ball out quickly and then there's plays that we feel like we can do a better job. And that's what we're going to do. We're going to identify it and correct it this week."

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