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Need to Know: No regrets on fateful punt, but Browns’ execution lagged vs. Packers

Browns coach Hue Jackson thought the effort Cleveland showed on a fateful punt return met his standard, but the execution did not.

After a successful day of pinning the Packers deep in their own territory, the Browns allowed a big punt return Sunday at the worst possible time. Trevor Davis broke a number of tackles and zigged and zagged his way across the field for a 65-yard return that set up the Packers deep in Cleveland territory late in the fourth quarter. The play preceded Green Bay’s game-tying touchdown.

“I thought us being in the proper lanes and taking the necessary shots, as we call it, across the bow of the returner wasn’t as good as it could have been,” Jackson said on a Monday conference call. “Obviously, the guy was able to make a play, but I think we have to go take our shots when we have those opportunities to get the guy down. So, obviously, it wasn’t as good as we like at a real important time when it needed to be, so we have to grow from that.”

Jackson said he had no regrets about the decision to punt to Davis rather than booting the ball out of bounds. Earlier in the game, Britton Colquitt pinned the Packers at their own 8-, 19- and 3-yard line on previous punts.

“I think we had done a really good job of hemming that guy up pretty good all day,” Jackson said. “So we felt like we were going to get this guy inside of the 20-yard line. I mean, we had numerous opportunities inside the 20 to get him down, and obviously, he made a play and we didn’t. But no, that was not the thought.”

-- Jackson said the Browns came out of Sunday’s game healthy. Now, the hope is Cleveland will be even healthier in the home finale against the Ravens.

The Browns were without three defensive starters Sunday, as DL Danny Shelton (chest/ribs), DB Jabrill Peppers (knee) and DB Briean Boddy-Calhoun (knee) were all inactive. Boddy-Calhoun and Shelton were considered questionable heading into the game.

-- Jackson said he’s not worried about the health of rookie defensive end Myles Garrett, who has battled through ankle injuries all season. Instead, Jackson pointed to the offensive approach teams are using to get the ball out before Garrett is able to apply pressure.

Garrett, who missed the first four games of the season and was briefly sidelined last week against the Chargers, did not register a sack and was credited with one quarterback hurry against the Packers. He remains the team leader with five sacks on the season.

“People were throwing the ball quickly,” Jackson said. “He gets two steps up the field and the ball is gone. They made a huge effort as you saw in the second half to do just that, but then he is going to have to find other ways to combat that to be able to be more of a factor in the game. That is just part of it. He is learning so many different things that the National Football League teams do to nullifying him so that he can’t make the impact plays that we all want him to make. He has to continue to find ways to do that.”

-- Jackson didn’t have an issue with his wide receivers donning sunglasses after they scored touchdowns Sunday. Both Josh Gordon and Corey Coleman put them on following their respective scores in a game that saw DeShone Kizer throw for a season-high three touchdowns. 

Coleman said it was an idea to perk up the group amidst a trying season.

“I’m sure it comes off the [turnover chain] thing that the University of Miami did,” Jackson said. “Hey look, if that means those guys are going to keep scoring touchdowns, I will buy them some Ray-Ban glasses.”

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