BEREA—The Browns were expecting to have a top tier defense in 2015, but they have been anything but that.
Ranked at the bottom or near it in most major defensive categories, the Browns are searching for answers.
The Browns have allowed 30 points or more in five-straight games and on eight occasions in 12 games. Only once has the defense held an opponent to less than 24 points.
Top pick Danny Shelton said the Browns defense has been disappointing to say the least.
“I am just disappointed, really," Shelton said. "We have a lot of expectations for each other and this season. We haven’t been able to produce the way we wanted to. You have to continue to work and finish the season off.”
Shelton said he believes in the scheme and what the Browns are trying to do when asked if they are doubting what the Browns are doing on defense.
“Not at all,” Shelton said. “We believe in the coaches and what we’re doing. We just have to continue to work.”
Shelton said the Browns, particularly on defense, have to find a way to shut their opponents down and help produce a win as the Browns are in the midst of a seven game losing streak.
“We are struggling right now," Shelton said. "All anyone can think about is trying to win a game. It is tough when things don’t go your way and you get beat at home, especially.”
Shelton, who had four tackles against the Bengals, said each player has to look within themselves and play better.
“We didn’t get any of our goals," Shelton said. "We didn’t meet any of our goals that we set for the game. Personally, I played not as well as I wanted to. I missed two tackles that could have helped the team out. It is just something we have to learn and continue to grow with.
“It is more of everybody taking accountability for their actions," Shelton said. "We are just trying to figure out why we can’t win a game or why we can’t complete the goals that we set.”
Shelton said the defense is going through some trying times, to say the least.
“That’s the way it goes, you win some and you lose some,” Shelton said. “Right now, we’re losing all of them.”
Hartline Clarifies: WR Brian Hartline declined interviews after the Browns 37-3 loss to the Bengals, when he said he “wanted to keep my job”.
“Coming off a loss, coming off an embarrassing loss, I didn’t have anything necessarily positive to say in my mind at that point so if I didn’t have anything positive to say, I really didn’t want to talk and that’s all it was," Hartline said. "Got a little dinged up. Coming out of the training room, I was already kind of frustrated about that. That’s all. Don’t read into it too much, but again, there really wasn’t a whole lot for me to say.”
Bitonio Boot: OL Joel Bitonio was in a walking boot on his left ankle in the locker room. Bitonio left the game in the first quarter after re-injuring the same ankle that sidelined him for two games. Bitonio said he watched the remainder of the game from the locker room. Later in the day, the Browns placed Bitonio on injured reserve and signed OL Gabe Ikard.
Kirksey Confused: LB Christian Kirksey said he doesn’t understand why he received a personal foul for trying to pull Bengals RB Jeremy Hill out of the stands after he scored a touchdown.“I thought it would be an unsportsmanlike penalty on him for jumping into (our) stands,” Kirksey said. “ I was told they called it on me for pulling him out.”