BEREA, Ohio--Was it real or was it just 'smoke and mirrors'?
That is the question about the Browns rushing offense the last two weeks. After leading the NFL after four games with an average of 149.8 yards a game on the ground, the Browns have totaled just 67 yards on 37 attempts the last two games for an average of just 1.8 yards per carry. They've dropped from first to 11th in the NFL in rushing offense with 110.7 yards a game. The Browns had 27 yards on 22 carries (1.2 avg.) against the Patriots, while gaining just 40 yards on 15 attempts (2.7 avg.).
The Browns put up between 120 and 169 yards in each of the first four games.
The Browns have had multiple offensive line groups the last two games, but they had to deal with that, as well in the first four games. Cameron Erving returned to center after missing three games with a bruised lung and Alvin Bailey replaced Joel Bitonio at left guard.
"I'll give New England credit and I'll give Tennessee credit, too," Hue Jackson said. "I think finally for me, and I'm being very honest. We've had some new pieces, The center position, having a guy who hasn't played in a while is a little different and having a new left guard is a little different.
"I'm not going to make excuses, we can do better than what we did," Jackson said. "We have to get our run game re-established somehow, some way. We've been off the track the last two weeks and the teams that have played us have done a decent job. We're stumbling in that area. As I said after the game it's an area we have to get fixed and I'm confident that we will."
Individually, Isaiah Crowell, who was second in the NFL in rushing after four games has slipped to 10th. HIs 5.2 yard per carry average is still respectable. Crowell had just 16 yards on nine carries (1.8 avg.) against the Titans, who are ranked seventh in the NFL against the rush. Two weeks ago, against New England, Crowell had just 22 yards on 13 carries (1.7 avg.) The Patriots are ninth in the NFL against the rush. Duke Johnson didn't fare much better. Against the Patriots, Johnson had one yard on four attempts (0.3 avg.). Against the Titans, Johnson had 18 yards on four carries for a 4.5 avg.
Crowell still has 432 yards on 83 carries (5.2 avg.) with three touchdowns. Johnson has 167 yards on 32 carries (5.2 avg.) with a touchdown on Sunday against Tennessee.
Kessler Remains Starter: Jackson said that QB Josh McCown's status is unchanged and still has not been cleared to play. He will practice this week, but Jackson expects Kessler to continue to start.
"He's our starter," Jackson said.
Telfer, Cooper Should Return: TE Randall Telfer (ankle) and DL Xavier Cooper (shoulder) missed Sunday's game but Jackson said he expects the pair to return to practice Wednesday and should be able to play next week. Jackson also said that DB Marcus Burley suffered a hamstring injury and will be out for some time. Jackson also said that WR Terrelle Pryor suffered a hamstring injury but is day-to-day.
Poyer Update: DB Jordan Poyer suffered a lacerated kidney in the loss to the Titans and spent the night in a Nashville hospital.
"Hopefully, he'll be released soon (from the hospital)," Jackson said. "It's going to take some time."
Jackson was asked if he thought Poyer had a chance to return this season.
"I don't know that."
Coleman, RG3 not Cleared: Jackson said that WR Corey Coleman (hand) and QB Robert Griffin III (shoulder) have not been cleared and their status remains unchanged.