BEREA, Ohio—Most Browns fans would’ve thought the team would have more struggles on the offensive side of the ball than the defense.
Based on the preseason and the offense’s perceived lack of playmakers, especially with the loss of wide Josh Gordon to a suspension.
However, the offense has been the least of the team’s worries. The Browns have done something they haven’t done in 45 years. That is, score at least 21 points in the first three games of a season. The last time the Browns accomplished the feat was in 1969 when they did so in the first seven games.
Part of the success has been the efficient play of quarterback Brian Hoyer. Many thought by the bye week after the third game, the coaching staff would be turning the reins over to rookie quarterback Johnny Manziel.
However, Hoyer had statistically the best game of his career against the Ravens. He had a rating of 127.1 as he was 19-of-25 for 290 yards with a touchdown. Hoyer completed 14 straight passes during the game and has now not thrown an interception since the third quarter of the Vikings game last season when Hoyer started his first game for the Browns.
On the season, Hoyer is 61-of-95 for 716 yards (64.2 pct.) with three touchdowns and no interceptions. His rating is 97.5.
“I’m just always trying to get better,” Hoyer said Monday. “You’re always trying to make improvements. I think as an offense as a whole, we have gotten better. We need to improve. Obviously, right now what we’re doing isn’t enough. As long as you’re always trying to get better – you’re always coming out and working and trying to fix things – you put yourself in position to get better each week and win more games.”
Despite the offense playing better, Hoyer doesn’t think the offense is where it can be.
“Yeah. No doubt. It’s small things,” he said. “We have to a better job paying attention to detail. Like I said, it’s the little things that add up to the big things. All three games came down to the last play. That’s what this league is about. When it comes down to it, it doesn’t matter how well you play; if you don’t win the game, it’s all for nothing.”
Hoyer isn’t concerned the Browns will lose their focus during the bye week, despite a 1-2 record.
“I think as a group, we’re committed to this,” Hoyer said. “We realize where we’re at. We realize how close we are. I think guys realize that. Having the bye week so early…I mean yeah, it’s good to get away, but do you really need to get away? It’s only been three weeks. I know I’ll be in here and focused on Tennessee, and I’m not worried about that. We’re a mature enough team to handle that.”
More Miles: Miles Austin had six receptions for 51 yards and a touchdown. He has touchdowns in back-to-back games for the first time since the first two games of the 2012 season when he played for the Cowboys.
Austin is second on the team behind WR Andrew Hawkins with 14 receptions for 115 yards (8.2 avg.) with two touchdowns.
New Snapper?: Pettine was asked if the Browns will look at possibly making a change at long snapper. LS Christian Yount had a couple of low snaps against the Ravens. After one snap on a 36-yard field goal attempt by K Billy Cundiff was blocked.
“I talked with (special teams coordinator Chris) Tabor,” Pettine said. “That’s something we’ll look to address. I don’t know if it calls for a change but it is to be discussed.”
Yount took over for LS Ryan Pontbriand during the 2011 season and handled the duties for the final five games of that season. He snapped in all 16 games in 2012 and 2013.
“Bottom line business didn’t put game away when we had chances.”
Bye, Bye: Pettine said the Browns will practice Wednesday and Thursday before getting a long weekend off over the bye weekend. The Browns return to play the Titans on the road on Oct. 4.
Injury Update: It appears the Browns head into the bye in pretty good shape health-wise. LB Barkevious Mingo (shoulder) and TE Jordan Cameron (shoulder) played against the Ravens and Pettine didn’t mention that either suffered any setbacks.
RB Ben Tate (knee) was the only player that was injured that missed the game. Pettine was asked if he’d be the starter when he returns from the injury.
“We’ll have a much better feel (when he returns),” Pettine said. “We are looking forward to getting Ben back.”
Dawg Pound Special: Pettine said the play that QB Brian Hoyer threw to QB Johnny Manziel was the “Dawg Pound Special” because the play was run toward the side of the Dawg Pound.
The pass was completed for a 39-yard gain but RB Terrance West was called for an illegal shift.
Haslam Sr. Accident: Jim Haslam, Sr. the founder of Pilot Flying J and the father of Browns owner Jimmy Haslam was in a car accident in West Knoxville, Tn. on Monday afternoon according to the Knox News Sentinel.
Haslam Sr., 83, condition was unavailable.