Coaches confident in Haden

Browns expect Pro Bowl cornerback Joe Haden to play better as the season ramps up following the early bye week.

BEREA, Ohio—Joe Haden has given up some big plays thus far this season. One of the more glaring plays was the 32-yard pass from Joe Flacco to Steve Smith that set up the Ravens game-winning field goal.

Secondary coach Jeff Hafley was asked if Haden is struggling in this defensive system.

“It’s kind of hard to say,” Hafley said. “This is the first time I’ve seen him play in our system, and this is what we keep talking about. Joe’s playing man coverage or some form of man coverage.

“He’s in for 69 snaps,” he said. “He’s playing man for just about every one of those snaps. OK? For 64 plays, he’s taking away the best receiver on the other team. What everybody’s seeing is three balls caught here and there. Unfortunately, they haven’t been in very good times. Joe will tell you he needs to make those plays. We’ll tell you he needs to make those plays.

“He holds himself accountable,” Hafley continued. “We hold him accountable, but to say he’s not playing like everybody thinks he should, I don’t want to say that just yet. I think he’s doing some really, really good things, but we’ve got to hold him accountable.”

Mike Pettine said on Monday that Haden has to play better.

“He’s played well at times, but as you can see, at some inopportune times he’s not played well,” Pettine said. “I think he’ll admit that, as well. That’s what we talk about. The great ones are going to make big plays when it’s needs, and I think that’s one area where Joe will look to improve.”

Hafley said he thinks Haden will respond to Pettine’s challenge.

“I do because I think if you ask Joe, Joe believes he’s a great player,” Hafley said. “I believe he’s a great player, and Joe believes that he needs to make those plays, just like we do. I’ll take it every time. Put him in with the game on the line, and Joe Haden will make the play. I have not lost one bit of confidence in that at all.”


Will Tate Start?: RB Ben Tate (knee), OL John Greco, DL John Hughes and DL Calvin Barnett were on the stationary bikes during the part of practice open to the media.

Pettine mentioned that he wasn’t sure that Tate would be ready for when the team plays the Titans.

RB Isaiah Crowell took reps with the first team during the portion of practice open to the media. However, Pettine said RB Coach Wilbert Montgomery rotates the backs around and nothing should be read into it.

Montgomery was asked if Tate would be the starter when he returns.

“We brought him in to be the starting running back.”

Proud Papa: LB Craig Robertson was not at practice Wednesday and Pettine said for good reason that Robertson “welcomed an addition to the family.”

Shaw Ill: Practice squad QB Connor Shaw was not at practice due to an illness, according to Pettine.

Still Here: LS Christian Yount was at practice on Wednesday. Pettine was asked about the long snapper and said they would evaluate the position during the bye week.

“It’s still being evaluated,” Pettine said. “(Special teams coach) Chris (Tabor) challenged him.”

Pettine did say the team was bringing in a couple of guys to work out.

“It’s a performance based position.”

Stat Change: On the play that QB Brian Hoyer was tackled behind the line of scrimmage against the Ravens and was credited with a sack was changed to a rush by Hoyer. That was the only sack of the game for the Ravens, so with the change, the Browns gave up no sacks last week and only four on the season.

Both Ways: OL Karim Barton practiced with the defensive line early in Wednesday’s practice during individual drills. He then switched back to the offense’s brown jerseys and went back with the offensive line.

Full Go: Despite it being the bye week, the Browns were in full pads for Wednesday’s practice. The Browns are scheduled to practice Thursday morning and then be off until resuming practice next Tuesday in preparation to play the Titans in Nashville on Oct. 5.

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