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What we learned from Hue Jackson's post-Falcons conference call

'Too many' missed tackles

In the moments after Thursday's 24-13 preseason loss to the Falcons, Browns coach Hue Jackson said he couldn't wait to watch the tape to see how many missed tackles the Browns notched.

So how many were there?

"Too many," Jackson said with a chuckle Friday on a conference call with reporters. "We had too many to my liking, so we have to do a better job of tackling. That's pretty obvious."

The Browns defense was on the field for 79 plays and surrendered 498 yards to a balanced Falcons offense. Cleveland's run defense struggled on Atlanta's opening drive and was out of sorts in the second half with second- and third-teamers playing on both sides of the ball.

Jackson called the tackling issues a "sore thumb."

"I think it's something we just need to continue to improve on. I'm not going to say it's a consistent problem," Jackson said. "We've only played two games, but obviously, it's a sore thumb right now and we need to work through it. We'll go back out to practice here soon and we'll get back after it."

Asked about specific players perhaps contributing to the defense's struggles against the run, Jackson repeatedly talked about the entire unit as a whole.

"I just think overall as a defensive unit, myself and (defensive coordinator) Ray (Horton) and all of us talk about it, we have to tackle better," Jackson said. "We have to do some of the fundamental things better, and that's going to be our charge this week."

Offense improvement beyond the QB

Jackson reiterated Friday he liked what he saw from Robert Griffin III, saying the quarterback "did a nice job protecting the ball and taking advantage of some nice opportunities."

His feelings of optimism about the offense, though, went well beyond one player.

Jackson was encouraged by the offensive line, which "battled a lot harder" and provided Griffin with more time than the previous week. Members of the first-team offensive line, which was without Joe Thomas, played five series and logged 22 snaps.

Jackson also doled out some unsolicited praise to wide receiver Terrelle Pryor and running back Isaiah Crowell. Pryor hauled in another long pass, this one for 50 yards and a touchdown, while Crowell gained 28 yards on seven carries after attempting just one run in the preseason opener.

"To me, that's something of a pretty good offense and obviously, you couple that with the quarterback, who doesn't turn the ball over and who keeps us in good situations, then you have potential to have good things happen," Jackson said.

"We want to be a dynamic offense that can score rather it's by land or air, anytime. I think we have those kind of players."

The Browns played the Falcons at FirstEnergy Stadium for the second game of the preseason.

Changes coming?

Jackson was asked if there could be changes on the way, such as more of rookie Carl Nassib or more four-man fronts from the defense, in the coming days. His answer came back to the same underlying principle he's stressed since the start of training camp.

"We'll continue to look at different combinations," Jackson said. "Again, I don't think that we have all the answers just yet or else we would've slowed some other teams down. But I think our guys understand what we need to fix and I think they'll come back in here chomping at the bit to get better.

"Our team attitude right now remains the same. We're going to focus on and continue to work hard and improve each and every day. We get a nice long week ahead of us competing against Tampa Bay, and that's going to be a great opportunity for us to get better."

Uplifting injury update

Jackson said there were no new injuries to report after Thursday's game and the team was in good shape heading into a physical week of joint practices in Tampa.

The Browns had 12 players miss Thursday's game because of injuries or recent inactivity at practice: QB Austin Davis (concussion), DB Trey Caldwell (hamstring), WR Corey Coleman (hamstring), WR Josh Gordon (quad), DB Joe Haden (ankle), WR Andrew Hawkins (hamstring), DL John Hughes III (scheduled to return to practice on Sunday), DL Nile Lawrence-Stample (shoulder), WR Ricardo Louis (hamstring), WR Dennis Parks (knee), OL Joe Thomas (back) and RB Glenn Winston (shoulder).

Jackson was asked if the upcoming week was particularly big for Coleman and Haden, who worked during a handful of periods in practice this past week.

"I think it's a huge week for both, and you said it best, we have to make sure these guys have some time under their belt before we get ready to go into the season because we haven't had an opportunity to see them versus live competition," Jackson said. "This will be a big week for both."

Snap leaders

Because of the disparity in plays between the Falcons and Browns, all of Cleveland's leaders in snaps Thursday were on the defensive side of the ball.

For a second consecutive week, rookie Emmanuel Ogbah was near the top, leading the way with 49 of a possible 79 snaps. Close behind him were defensive back Tracy Howard (46), Nassib (43), defensive back Justin Gilbert (39) and linebacker Cam Johnson (36).

Rookie offensive lineman Spencer Drango led all players on offense with 28 of a possible 40 snaps.

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