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Keys to Victory: What we're watching in Detroit

  1. The Browns hope their bye week gave them a chance to refocus and recharge after a frustrating 0-8 start. If Cleveland is to turn things around, it starts this weekend in Detroit.

"Our players walked in this building with the right frame of mind the last several days getting ready to compete and play and see if we can put some of our challenges behind us and go win a football game," head coach Hue Jackson said.

"We know it will be tough playing on the road, playing against a team that I think is playing good right now. We have to go play our best football game, but I think we are very excited about the opportunity."

  1. After playing without four defensive starters in a loss to the Vikings two weeks ago, the Browns should be at full strength for the first time in a month. Notably, Myles Garrett (concussion), Jason McCourty (ankle) and Jabrill Peppers (toe) all returned to practice and are expected to play. It comes at a good time, too, as Cleveland prepares to face one of the league's top passing offenses with quarterback Matthew Stafford, wide receivers Golden Tate and Marvin Jones and dynamic running back Ameer Abdullah. 'Those guys are really good players," Jackson said. "We have to make sure that we slow them down."
  1. Rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer, who's set to make his eighth start in nine games, will look to take a step forward after growing pains in the first half of the season. Jackson on Friday expressed confidence in Kizer, who has been through highs and lows since taking over as Cleveland's starter. "I'll still go on record saying I think this guy is going to be a really good player in time, but there is work to be done," Jackson said.

Kizer has struggled (three touchdowns, 11 interceptions) and been benched at halftime twice because of turnovers, especially in the red zone. Both Jackson and the youngster, however, believe he's poised to improve after using the bye week to self-reflect.

"This was a long break for us to re-evaluate some of the things I do well, some of the things I don't do well and try to attack them," Kizer said.

"We all want the instant success, but it's going to take a little bit of time because I think it's not just him," Jackson added. "I think the whole offensive team has to do their part, too, but does he have to play better? Yes, he does. I think he recognizes that, so there's no question about that."

  1. It was a busy week off the field in Berea as the Browns watched receivers Corey Coleman return to the practice field and Josh Gordon, who was reinstated on a conditional basis last week, reunite with the team for the first time in more than a year.

While Coleman, who broke his hand against Baltimore on Sept. 17, and Gordon, who hasn't played since Dec. 21, 2014, because of multiple violations of the league's substance abuse policy, won't play this weekend, the potential return of both playmakers created a buzz and was an encouraging development for an offense that ranks 31st in points per game.

In the meantime, Cleveland will rely on a group of skill players that have struggled to produce through the first eight weeks of the season.

"Let's have our skill players play some dominating football. If we can do those things and really shore up the issues we have had, which were turnovers and penalties, then I would feel better about where we are headed," Jackson said. "Obviously, the score is going to take care of itself. The ultimate in this thing is we want to win. That is what it is all about. That is why they keep score. That's what we're chasing, but there are some things that lead to winning that we need to do better."​

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