BEREA—It’s beginning to sound like a broken record.
Week after week, various members of the coaching staff and the players continue to say the defense is close to turning it around.
However, the defense gave up 442 yards to the Broncos in the 26-23 loss in overtime to the Broncos. The Browns gave up 152 rushing yards to a team that have been struggling running the ball. The Broncos are still ranked 30th in the NFL in rushing.
Once again, the biggest weakness was stopping the run. The Browns are ranked 30th overall in defense giving up over 400 yards a game at 407.3 a game. They have slipped to 32nd against the run giving up 149.8 yards a game.
The Browns finished last season ranked 32nd against the rush and made a concerted effort to improve.The lowest yardage totals the Browns defense has given up through six games is the season opener when they gave up 333 yards to the New York Jets.
Mike Pettine said he still sees improvement.
“We’re seeing strides,” Pettine said. “You have 10 run plays and eight might be good, but it’s when multiple guys get minuses when we give up chunk runs.”
Karlos Dansby insists the issues with the defense are correctable when asked what can be done.
“Technique, technique issues,” he said. “We just have to continue to work hard and get better. It’s something we have to put more emphasis in order to win.”
When asked if the defense hasn’t been emphasizing stopping the run, he backtracked.
“A lot of emphasis has been put on (stopping the run), but we have to continue to work in order to be great,” he said. “It does not happen over night.”
Dansby said the reasons for the lapses in defense are not the same that have plagued them each week.
“Everything is different,” he said. “Different situations, different opportunities missed. It’s part of the growing process.”
Despite all the deficiencies in the defense against the Broncos, the Browns had multiple opportunities to win the game. The defense took the ball away three times from the Broncos via interception of Peyton Manning, including two from Dansby. Through the first five games, the Browns had just one interception.
Barkevious Mingo’s interception in overtime might have been the biggest opportunity of the game as he returned it to the Broncos’ 39, just a few yards from giving Travis Coons an opportunity to kick the game-winning field goal.
However, the offense went back 18 yards on three-straight plays, including giving up two sacks to punt the ball back to Denver.
“We didn’t make enough plays,” Dansby said. “We had opportunities and we let some of them slip away.”
Dansby is confident the defense will turn things around, sooner than later.
“We have to find a way to win,” he said. “(We need to) dig deep. There’s a lot of football to play. We’re a tough group of men and have our character tested and we have to respond. (If we) just keep working, the ball is going to bounce our way and once we get the win we just have to strive to be consistent and get wins any way we can.
“Were taking steps and we have to be great to reach our goals,” he said. “We’re pressing right now, but there’s a lot of football to be played.”
“We’re not going to push the panic button,” Pettine said. “Our guys realize how close we are,” Pettine said.
Mum on Manziel: Pettine opened his press conference stating he would not speak about QB Johnny Manziel and his incident last week. However, the first 10 minutes of the briefing with the media was questions regarding Manziel.
“Don’t think for a second we’re not concerned,” Pettine said.
Pettine was asked why Manziel was active for the game.
“(It’s the) decision we made.”
Housler Hurt: Pettine said that TE Rob Housler’s injury to his hamstring was the only injury to come out of the overtime loss to Denver. He did say that DB Joe Haden is still in the concussion protocol.
“We’ll see how (Haden) is in the next couple of days.”
LB Craig Robertson (ankle) and DB Tashaun Gipson (ankle) also missed Sunday’s game. RB Duke Johnson (head) and LB Tank Carder (shoulder) also left Sunday’s game. Johnson returned after he was checked.
Craig’s Vision: LB Karlos Dansby said that fellow LB Craig Robertson told him he had a dream last week that Dansby would intercept QB Peyton Manning.
“Craig told me he dreamed it Thursday night that I was going to get ’18’ (Manning),” Dansby said. “He didn’t say I was going to score, but he said I’d get ’18’ twice.”
Dansby intercepted Manning in the first half and then in the fourth quarter returned his second interception for a 35-yard touchdown.
Dansby said one of his goals is to join the 20/20 club, players who have at least 20 sacks and 20 interceptions in their careers. Dansby added two on Sunday and now has 18 for his career. He has 41 sacks.
“I’m trying to get in the 20/20 club,” he said. “I think only 14 players have got into the 20/20 club. I’ve had a goal since Adrian Wilson did so. I might be the last guy to get this opportunity the way the league is going.”
Dansby is aware of his stats and in his 12th season thinks he can get there. Dansby will turn 34 on Nov. 3. Against Denver, Dansby played 98 percent of the snaps (82-of-84 plays).
“I need two (interceptions) and already have the sacks with 41.”
Dansby said he thinks there are only 14 players who have accomplished the feat, including Ray Lewis and London Fletcher.
“The way the game is changing it’s hard for guys to get the opportunity to get sacks now a days,” he said. “That would be a blessing (to get it).”
A report from ESPN said that Dansby might be the only player that has intercepted both Peyton Manning and Eli Manning.
“It’s an honor, as well,” he said. “Hopefully, I can go to the (Manning’s passing) camp and get Archie (Peyton and Eli’s father and former Saints quarterback).”
Turbin’s First Game: RB Robert Turbin had 27 yards on 10 carries in his first game with the Browns, including a long of eight yards.
“Very physical,” Pettine said. “He’s a very down hill runner. He runs angry.”