BEREA — Joe Haden has a lone regret following Sunday’s loss to Jacksonville.
Haden admitted to being too aggressive on the final defensive snap when he was beat by Cecil Shorts III for the winning 20-yard touchdown. He bit on a pump-fake by quarterback Chad Hanne as Shorts ran a slant-and-go and easily got behind Haden.
“I would’ve not went for the slant on third-and-9. Like what am I doing?” Haden said Monday. “It was on me, I made a mistake. I was just thinking that he runs a slant, catch it, tackle, boom, fourth-and-5, field-goal attempt. I wasn’t thinking double move, trying to go up top for the touchdown.
“That’s just me, I gotta think things through.”
Haden is having an excellent season, but has given up a touchdown in the last two games after one in the first 10. The winner to Shorts still stung Monday.
“I put so much pressure on myself just to be one of the best, be one of the best in the league, and I hold myself at a different standard,” he said. “So no matter how the game went down, no matter what happened, I feel like I was so upset because it was me against another player at the end of the game, I’m supposed to make that play. I work hard enough to make that play. I should’ve made it.”
What Haden doesn’t regret is his emotional outburst minutes after the loss.
“Everything I said I was trying to be honest,” he said. “I was being truthful. I was a little upset, emotional. I was emotional, but I don’t take back anything I said. I meant everything I said. We play with passion, we play with everything we got, but we just have to … we gotta do better. We just gotta do better.”
Haden came close to tears, his voice cracked and he used multiple profanities after the game as he discussed the frustration.
“I (bleeping) can’t stand losing,” he said. “It hurts. I go out there and put my (bleeping) heart out there every time. Every time. And we end up coming up short.”
Coach Rob Chudzinski appreciates Haden’s passion and believes in his shutdown corner.
“He cares a lot. It’s important to him,” he said. “I think you saw that in his reaction and I want guys that are like that and feel that way.
“He’s a great player. He made a mistake. It happens to everybody and the important thing is how he reacts to it. He’ll learn from it.”
ATTACK, ATTACK, ATTACK
Despite Brandon Weeden’s three turnovers in the final 2:47 of the first half that led to 13 Jaguars points, Chudzinski defended his decision to keep passing. The Browns got the ball with 2:47 left on their 19, with 1:19 left on their 20 and with 48 seconds left on their 20. They turned it over each time and went from up 14-7 to down 20-14 at halftime.
“Those were not good decisions, they were tight coverage,” Chudzinski said, referring to Weeden. “The last drive, I felt like we threw a couple of short passes and put ourselves in position at midfield. The last play there (a strip-sack) was a matter of protection. We actually had Josh Gordon open for about a 25-yard gain on the sideline that would have put us in field-goal range. The opportunity to get a field goal there would have been huge going into the half and then having the ball (to start) the next half.
“I think it’s a philosophical thing. Generally, I want our guys, and we’re going to continue to develop that type of mentality, to be aggressive mentally. We’re going to play to win. We’re going to expect good things to happen and make good things happen, as opposed to being concerned about the bad things that might happen. There’s going to be times where it works out and there’s going to be times where it doesn’t work out. Obviously, hindsight is 20/20.”
START NO. 1
Rookie inside linebacker Darius Eubanks held his own in his first NFL start, which came in only his fifth game. He had never played a defensive snap in the NFL until last week.
Eubanks played mostly in the base package Sunday and a bit in the nickel after nickelback Chris Owens was hurt. He played 46 of 74 snaps (62 percent) and totaled four tackles and two assists.
“It was pretty exciting,” Eubanks said. “We didn’t get the results that we wanted at the end. That’s the first thing that I’m always thinking about.
“But speaking about myself, I can always improve and after watching tape I see some stuff that I left on the field. Each week is going to get better and better.”
Tight end Jordan Cameron caught six touchdowns in the first seven games, and none over the last five. In the last four games, he has 14 catches for 108 yards, an average of 3.5 and 27 per game.
** Select players will be at Falls-Lenox Primary School in Olmsted Falls this morning to award a $10,000 grant as part of an NFL Play 60 contest. The players will speak to students about the importance of staying active.
** Nose tackle Phil Taylor played 36 of 74 snaps, 49 percent, as the Browns used a lot of their base defense. The previous week against Pittsburgh, the Browns used a lot of their nickel package and Taylor played only 25 snaps (36 percent).