Rob Chudzinski said that there is no reason to push the panic button after a disappointing 27-6 showing to the Colts in the third preseason game.
“With the first two preseason games and the Colts’ game, I want to make sure we put this into perspective,” Chudzinski said in a conference call with the local media on Sunday. “It was a preseason game and a real good learning
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opportunity for us playing against a really good team.”
Chudzinski said most of the mistakes made were brought on by themselves.
“We can do a better job of limiting our self-inflicted mistakes,” Chudzinski said. “The turnovers we had, the penalties and some of the mental mistakes that we had and some of the communication issues we had out there, as well.
“In looking at the tape, the things we can address are correctable and that’s encouraging going forward,” he said. “We’re going to work toward being more consistent and build a foundation of what we feel is young team that has a chance to get better and make progress.”
The Browns stopped themselves on the first drive with a holding penalty on Joe Thomas. Later in the half, Greg Little turned the ball over on a fumble after making a catch on third down which would’ve picked up a first down.
“I think (the Colts) are a good football team and they played good defense,” Chudzinski said. “The were inspired, but I don’t know if anymore so than any of the other teams that we’ve played. We had some opportunities, especially in the first half where we had a penalty when we were in scoring range and probably would’ve scored points and then the turnover on the third down.”
Chudzinski said one of the more disappointing statistics was the Browns lack of third down conversions, particularly in the first half.
“One of the things we didn’t do as well was on third down,” he said. “In the first half, we were one for six. There were definitely some opportunities for us to have made plays and things we can improve on there.”
Brandon Weeden had his worst outing of the preseason. After posting a rating of 139.8 through the first two games, he slid back to the type of performance he had in 2012, but Chudzinski didn’t want to lay the blame all on Weeden.
“I don’t see it as any sort of comparison of 2012,” Chudzinski said. “I think it was a combination of things. We had some protection breakdowns. There were some pressures where he got hit a couple of times when he was actually delivering the ball. He started out 6-of-6 early in the game. He was going through his progressions and it was mostly shorter passes at that point of the game.
Weeden finished just 12-of-25 for 105 yards with no touchdowns and a passer rating of 59.6.
One of the reasons for the poor offensive showing was the wide receivers couldn’t get separation from the defensive backs often.
“(The Colts) covered very well and there were a number of times guys weren’t open,” Chudzinski said. “(Weeden) had to work on his check downs or throw the ball away at times. We had some drops and some missed opportunities. He’s played better and we’ll continue to help him.
“(The receivers) had played much better in the first couple of games,” Chudzinski said. “Indianapolis has a really good secondary. They did a good job of covering our guys, but we need to keep working and improving on our technique and then making the plays when we have opportunities.”
Right Guard Update: With the injuries to Shawn Lauvao (ankle) and Jason Pinkston (ankle) the Browns have been trying to find a replacement at right guard until one of the two are able to return. OL Oniel Cousins started against the Colts and Chudzinski said he played pretty well.
“I thought Oniel did a good job going in there and playing,” he said. “Again, he hasn’t played a lot, he’s played some there. For not having much time there during the course of training camp and he’s still coming back from his (ankle) injury.
“He’s coming at it from a couple of different fronts, but I thought he did a good job,” he said. “He gives us a physical presence and he’s one of our more physical guys. He played hard and assignment wise he was pretty solid. There were some technique things that we need to continue to work on him playing in there and combination blocks and the guys he’s next to he just needs to get used to that.”
Cousins has been alternating with rookie OL Garrett Gilkey.
“Garrett played a significant amount of snaps, some with the ones and some with the twos,” Chudzinski said. “I feel like Garrett is getting better ever week and just needs to continue to make progress.”
Chudzinski didn’t rule out bringing in another veteran guard.
“We’re looking at any and all positions,” he said. “I have been comforted by Oniel’s performance in the game and by Gilkey’s development.”
Da Bears: Chudzinski was asked how much the starters might play against the Bears this Thursday.
“Our approach is that the guys are going to play and we’ll make a decision later this week.”
Mingo Update: Chudzinski said there is really no update with LB Barkevious Mingo and his recovery from a bruised lung.
“He’s doing well, he’s riding the bike and we have a lot of faith in the doctors, who are some of the best in the world at the Cleveland Clinic,” Chudzinski said. “We’re following their advice on it and we’ll get him out there as soon as he’s cleared.”
Chudzinski was asked if he would do more this week.
“There’s improvement, but there’s no specific or definite timetable (for his return).”
Graham/Lanning Leading: Chudzinski said that K Shayne Graham is leading in the kicking position. He has made all three of his field goals in the preseason, including a 44- and 50-yard attempts against the Colts. P Spencer Lanning rebounded from a slow start and averaged 40 yards a punt.
“Those guys would be the leading candidates in those areas,” Chudzinski said. “I was pleased with the way Spencer bounced back. it was good to see him do that.”
Lanning is the only punter currently on the roster after T.J. Conley was released. K Brandon Bogotay has been missing time with a groin injury.
Rookie Reps: Rookie CB Leon McFadden saw his first action of the preseason after missing the first two games with a groin injury. Chudzinski said he had some problems, but he gained valuable experience that will help him down the road.
“Just him getting out there for the first time against a good group on the road, it was good experience for him,” he said. “There are definitely things for him to improve upon, but as the game wore on he was more comfortable playing and it was good for him to get a number of reps.”
McFadden was credited with three tackles.
Campbell OK: Chudzinski said that the Browns appear to have come out of the Colts game with no significant injuries. QB Jason Campbell appeared to have hurt his leg/knee during the game, but Chudzinski said he was “OK”. DB Josh Aubrey injured his hand but returned to the game. Rookie DB Jamoris Slaughter pulled a groin muscle and he will be limited.
Troops Returning: Chudzinski said that several players will return to practice Monday, including TE Gary Bardnidge (shoulder), LB Jabaal Sheard (knee), WR Davone Bess (knee) and WR Jordan Norwood (hamstring). He also said that WR David Nelson (knee), who has been practicing will play against the Bears this week in the preseason finale.
Cuts Looming: The Browns must cut their roster to 75 by Tuesday. Chudzinski was asked if the Browns would release any players before then.