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Greatly improved.Two weeks after coach Hue Jackson’s long
03.04.2019, 04:16
Beitrag: #1
Greatly improved.Two weeks after coach Hue Jackson’s long
CLEVELAND (AP) — From disorganized and dysfunctional to disciplined — and according to rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield , dangerous.The Cleveland Browns are looking a lot better these days.Not great, but improved. overdue firing, the Browns showed a glimpse of a brighter future with their best all-around game in several seasons, a convincing 28-16 victory on Sunday over the Atlanta Falcons.Taking their cues from Mayfield and interim coach Gregg Williams, whose odds of becoming Cleveland’s next full-time coach may not be as ridiculous as they once seemed, the Browns (3-6-1) took apart a team with playoff hopes.Cleveland was balanced on offense, sound defensively and the Browns’ special teams avoided the kind of fatal mistakes that led to so many tough losses earlier this season.“We just finally put four quarters of football together,” said safety Damarious Randall. “Just to see us put it together now shows where this team is pointing and the direction we are going. We are going to keep on building on that and keep fighting.”Mayfield’s leading the charge.Matched up against one of the NFL’s best in Matt Ryan, Mayfield was nearly perfect while outplaying his more celebrated quarterbacking counterpart. Mayfield completed his first 13 passes, finished 17 of 20 for 217 yards and threw three touchdown passes as the Browns posted their largest win since Dec. 13, 2015 — a span of 44 games.When it ended, with the rare sight of Cleveland fans actually still in their seats cheering and not heading toward the exits, Mayfield met Ryan and shared a hug with Atlanta’s star at midfield before filming a promotional selfie video for the team’s website and then sprinting off like a 10-year-old and leaping and bumping with Randall in the end zone.Moments later, Mayfield playfully told reporters he woke up feeling “pretty dangerous.” He’s been scary over the past four weeks, throwing nine TD passes with just two interceptions and making better decisions.It was Mayfield’s second game with offensive coordinator Freddie Kitchens, the team’s running backs coach thrust into the coordinator’s role when Todd Haley was fired after Jackson on Oct. 29. Kitchens has catered Cleveland’s offense to suit Mayfield’s strengths, and his quicker throws have been effective in moving the ball and keeping him safe.For the first time this season, the Browns did not give up a sack.Williams said the Mayfield-Kitchens pairing will only get better.“Both of their styles and both of their personalities, they respect each other Denzel Ward Jersey ,” Williams said. “They both understand each other. When that respect is well enough, maybe they might even like each other later on, but there has to be a respect of those and us together with coaches and players that we both are on the same page and we know what we are doing for things to grow. I think Freddie and Baker are doing a great job with that.”Williams, too, should take a bow. In no time, he’s made the Browns better.Sometimes brash and boastful, Williams has toned down his public personality while providing strong, needed leadership to a team that had tuned out Jackson after two losing seasons. The Browns are responding to the 60-year-old Williams, who coached Buffalo from 2001-03 and worked his way back up the ranks after he was suspended by the league in 2012.Williams laughed hard when asked if the past two weeks have reminded an “old timer” he still had what it takes to be a head coach.“I never thought it left,” he said.But as far as his future in Cleveland, Williams insists he’s not campaigning for the job. At this point, the Browns’ play is doing the lobbying for him.When pressed about whether he would like to be the next coach of the Browns, Williams showed a politician’s elusiveness.“You know what?” he said on a conference call as the Browns began their bye week. “I like being employed. I enjoy the head coaching part of it. I enjoy all these parts of it, but understand the big part of what we are doing is we get the players the focus, get me to focus on one day at a time and we have to keep on moving on in the right direction.”NOTES: Williams only planned to give his players Tuesday off, but “threw them a bone” following the win and gave them Monday as well. The players are free this week with the exception of medical treatments and phone meetings. … Williams said LT Greg Robinson “played well” in his second start, but that doesn’t mean he’ll stay in the lineup following the bye. Rookie Desmond Harrison started Cleveland’s first eight games before being sidelined with an unspecified illness. CINCINNATI (AP) — A jogging Hue Jackson didn’t break stride as he left the practice field. The recently fired Browns head coach was trying to outrun questions about what it’s like being on the opposite sideline this week.Jackson left Cincinnati after the 2015 season and spent two-plus seasons trying — futilely — to get the Browns to win. Now he’s back in town , trying to beat them in a pivotal game.He’s hoping his insights give the Bengals (5-5) an edge Sunday in the intrastate rivalry. The stakes are high for Cincinnati, which has dominated the series lately and wants to keep it that way.“Everybody wants to count us out right now Trevon Coley Color Rush Jersey ,” center Billy Price said. “Everybody wants to put us in the dumpster and light us on fire, but we still have a lot to accomplish. We have a lot of things going on. We have a lot of winnable games coming up here.” The Browns (3-6-1) merely would like a victory away from the shore of Lake Erie.Cleveland has lost 25 consecutive road games, one shy of the NFL mark held by the Detroit Lions from 2007-10. The Browns’ last win on the road came at Baltimore, where Josh McCown led them to a 33-30 overtime victory on Oct. 11, 2015 — back when Jackson was the Bengals’ offensive coordinator.Whether the streak endures or ends will come down to whether the Bengals figure out a way to stop Cleveland’s rookie duo on offense.Last week, Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson and running back Gus Edwards became the first rookie QB/RB duo to run for at least 100 yards in the same game, leading Baltimore to a 24-21 victory over Cincinnati. The Bengals have given up more than 200 yards rushing in each of the last two games.By contrast, Cleveland beat Kansas City 28-16 before heading into its bye week. Rookie Baker Mayfield tied a club rookie record with three touchdown passes, and rookie Nick Chubb ran for a career-high 176 yards, including a 92-yard touchdown that was the second-longest by a rookie in NFL history.“I think it is our guys believing in it, knowing that we do not need anything else besides what we have in this locker room, blocking out the distractions and coming together,” Mayfield said. “Things happen, and you can use it for good. We did.”Can they do it again against their former head coach?Some things to watch at Paul Brown Stadium:HUE KNOWSHow much can Hue Jackson tip the outcome? Sure, he knows the Browns’ systems intimately and the players personally, but having the bye week allowed Cleveland to change some things.“In all honesty, there are no secrets anymore in the league with how all the film is out there to show everybody exactly what you’re doing,” Brown interim coach Gregg Williams said.OH THAT DEFENSEThe Bengals fired defensive coordinator Teryl Austin after becoming the first team in the Super Bowl era to allow 500 yards in three straight games. Coach Marvin Lewis assumed the job of defensive coordinator as well as hiring Jackson as a special assistant on defense. The change didn’t make enough of a difference as the Bengals got run over in Baltimore. Their main focus this week is stopping Chubb.“We know that’s their emphasis right now and that’s what they’re going to try to attack us with because that’s our perceived weakness right now,” defensive end Carlos Dunlap said.SERIES-LY ONE-SIDEDThe Bengals have won seven in a row against the Browns , the longest winning streak by either team in the intrastate series. The Bengals have won the last seven by 30, 21, 34, 14, 13, 24 and 24 points. The Bengals are 7-1 against Browns rookie quarterbacks under Lewis, who is in his 16th season. The only loss was 34-24 at Cleveland in 2012 behind Brandon Weeden.ONE, TWONot only are the Browns hoping to avoid infamy with their 26th straight road loss, they’re trying to start a winning “streak.”Cleveland hasn’t won two straight games since 2014, when the Browns reeled off three in a row while improving to 6-3 under then-coach Mike Pettine. That seems like an eternity ago for the Browns, who have gone 8-56-1 since that modest run.“Any time a team (starts) to win a couple in a row, it builds momentum, it builds belief and that can have a positive impact on your team,” right guard Kevin Zeitler said. “It’d be real nice if we can get that going.”PLAYOFFS?While the game has significance for Cincinnati’s playoff hopes, the Browns aren’t yet finished ruminating about the postseason. They’d likely have to win their last six games to end a playoff drought dating to 2002.“If you can’t and don’t believe that we can make a playoff run, then you’re on the wrong team,” cornerback T.J. Carrie said. “And I feel like from that standpoint we all have that feeling and that emotion about we can definitely do something very special and we’re capable of doing it.”
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