The list of mistakes Jacoby Brissett has made since he stepped under center as the Browns' QB for the first time in Week 1 is a small one.
Aside from a few pre-snap issues and some missed deep balls in the opening game, Brissett has largely been one of the Browns' top players the last two weeks. He's completed 66 percent of his passes for 596 yards, four touchdowns and one interception and ranks 11th in the league with a 94.3 passer rating. He built a game-winning drive in Week 1, only had five incompletions in 27 pass attempts in Week 2 and executed a big win against a tough division rival in Week 3.
Because of Brissett, a seventh-year QB whose career has been built on finding success as a backup quarterback, the Browns are 2-1 — and should be 3-0, if not for for a frustrating late-game collapse in Week 2. He's delivered the football to the top playmakers, efficiently commanded the offense and avoided game-costing mistakes and turnovers.
"(He's) made some throws and made some big throws in big moments," head coach Kevin Stefanski said Thursday. "(He) battled. He's doing a nice job."
Asked Monday if he saw Brissett's confidence rise at any point as the Browns mounted a win Thursday, Stefanski shook his head.
"I don't think so. I really don't," he said. "I think a lot of what we see on Sundays or Thursdays is the culmination of work. Pretty simple."
That's been the sentiment most players have echoed about Brissett, too. No one in the locker room is surprised to see the Browns hold a winning record after three weeks, and no one is surprised at how much Brissett has done to help them get there.
WR Amari Cooper and TE David Njoku, the top two receiving targets, each led Browns receiving totals Sunday against the Steelers. With 101 yards, Cooper became the first Browns player to top 100 receiving yards in consecutive games since Josh Gordon in 2013, and Njoku caught a career-high nine receptions and had one of the best games of his six-year Browns career.
Those feats align with what the Browns hoped to achieve in their pass game this offseason, and that's a credit to Brissett. The top playmakers have been heavily involved, and the stout run game led by Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt has made it a challenge for defenses to defend against both areas of the offense.
The Browns have sustained several long drives as a result and lead the league with an average possession time of 35:36 per game. The next closest team, the Jaguars, are a full minute behind.
"For an offense, that's a great thing," Cooper said Thursday. "Sometimes you want to have an explosive offense that can score in a couple of plays. If you wear that defense down, it gives everyone on offense the opportunity to make plays the more first downs you get. Obviously to finish strong with seven instead of three [points], that is how you win in this league."
The offense has full faith that Brissett can help them keep it going — and with the results from the last two weeks, why shouldn't they?
"He's just being a good leader and making the plays that we need," RB Kareem Hunt said. "He's just coming in and leading us, and that's what we need — a guy like that. He can make the throws and do his part."
Check out the best photos from the Browns win over the Steelers yesterday by the Browns photo team
No update on Clowney, other injuries
Stefanski didn't have any specific updates on DE Jadeveon Clowney (ankle), DT Taven Bryan (hamstring) or LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah (quad), although he didn't rule out the possibility that Clowney could play Sunday against the Falcons.
Clowney and Bryan were not at practice Monday, a bonus practice day for the Browns after they took Saturday and Sunday off. G Joel Bitonio (biceps) and Owusu-Koramoah were each using the bike in the open portion or practice available to the media.
"I have to get to Wednesday to see where everybody is," Stefanski said when asked about Bryan and Owusu-Koramoah.
Rogers looks the part at PR
The Browns used WR Chester Rogers at punt returner Thursday night, a chance from the first two weeks when the role belonged to Demetric Felton Jr.
Rogers returned two punts for 11 total yards and made two fair catches, and Stefanski complimented him for his ability to cleanly catch punts despite the breezy conditions at FirstEnergy Stadium.
"I thought he did a nice job in some tough conditions the other night in the wind," Stefanski said "Overall, did a nice job. We will see where we go this week."
Stefanski also re-emphasized his confidence in Felton, who was among the Week 3 inactive players.
"(We) wanted to give Chester an opportunity as the punt returner there," Stefanski said. "That was for that week. We will see if that is the direction we go this week. Demetric is a good football player. He's going to make a bunch of plays for us this season."