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November 19, 2012 - Mike McLain
BEREA -- Browns coach Pat Shurmur stood firm as he expressed confidence in the embattled secondary after a poor showing in a 23-20 loss to the Dallas Cowboys.
The defense gave up 10 penalties that led to first downs for the Cowboys. Cornerback Buster Skrine, who replaced the injured Joe Haden, was penalized three times for illegal contact.
"We did give up some plays in the passing game, but that happens against every team,” Shurmur said. “I was proud of the way our guys in the secondary battled. As we move forward, when we’re in base we’ll put two corners our there; when we’re in nickel we’ll put three, and when we’re in dime we’ll put four. Whoever those guys are, I have trust they’re going out there to do a good job."
In addition to being without Haden, the secondary lost the services of Skrine in the fourth quarter with a head injury. Late in the game the corners were undrafted rookie Johnson Bademosi and drafted rookie Trevin Wade.
Haden will likely be a late-week decision as he tries to return from an oblique injury. Cornerback Dimitri Patterson, who hasn't played since Oct. 7 because of an ankle injury, is doubtful.
The loss to the Cowboys was another one that easily could have been a win. It's obvious that the Browns haven't figured out how to finish games, which could be a because of the youth factor.
"Every game is a different story," Shurmur said. "We get ahead; then we get behind and we get ahead. We talk about starting fast. We talk about fighting throughout, and we talk about finishing. We do that all the time."
The Browns are now 2-8 and have lost 12 straight road games dating back to the second week of last season. With two more losses they will have reached double digits in losses for a franchise-record fifth straight season.
The losing would seem to be wearing on the nerves of the players. Haden reacted strongly on twitter to comments that he should have played with his injury.
"These guys love playing football," Shurmur said. "They believe in what they're doing, and I see them getting ready to play Pittsburgh."
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