Coach Romeo Crennel is using the time to "self-scout" his own team rather than get a jump on the Chicago Bears, the Browns' opponent Oct. 9. The Browns are 1-2. No major lineup changes are likely.
"We're going to look at these first three games and see what areas we need to improve on," Crennel said. "We're going to try to get better as a team and try to get our players better for the long haul. That's where we are."
The Browns are healthier at this point of the season than they were in any of the six previous seasons, but some key players will still benefit from another week off, starting with tight end Aaron Shea.
Shea has not played a down this season because of a pectoral strain suffered in the final preseason game. He practiced for three days prior to the Colts game, but Crennel decided it would be better to give him one more game off so Shea could be ready for the final 13 games.
Kick returner Josh Cribbs has targeted Oct. 9 as his return date, and linebacker Matt Stewart hopes to be back for the game against the Bears, though his return might be delayed until Oct. 16 in Baltimore. Both players suffered knee injuries in the first quarter of the season opener, and both were out of knee braces by the end of last week.
Crennel wants more consistent run blocking over the last three months of the season. The revamped offensive line with L.J. Shelton, Joe Andruzzi and Cosey Coleman as new players has been a major improvement in pass protection, despite giving up four sacks in Indianapolis, but so far they have proven to be technicians more than mashers.
Critical mistakes cost the Browns 11 points in a 13-6 loss to the Colts. An 82-yard punt return for a touchdown by Dennis Northcutt was negated by penalty, and Antonio Bryant failed to hold onto a pass in the end zone with the score 13-3.
A 22-yard field goal by Phil Dawson with 14:09 to play cut the Indianapolis lead to seven The Browns had only one more possession the rest of the game. The Colts kept the ball for the final 7:40.
After keeping Trent Dilfer clean the first two games, the Browns allowed four sacks, all in the first half. They had the ball only twice in the second half.