After ‘disappointing’ start, Browns run game starting to come together

On the first play from scrimmage in Sunday’s loss to the Colts, Browns running back Isaiah Crowell received the handoff, followed his blockers up the middle and barrelled over a pair of defenders.

It ended in a 10-yard gain for a new-look offense looking to get its run game on track. And, perhaps equally importantly, it served as an example of what Cleveland hopes will be routine in the near future.

“I think we’re starting to move in that direction and grow in that direction,” head coach Hue Jackson said Thursday. “I think the guys are playing together. It has made a huge difference. I think our guys did some good things.”

With eight new starters — including three on the offensive line — Jackson stressed patience last week as the group builds chemistry early in the season. As had been the case in its first two games, Cleveland was undone by a slow start in Indianapolis but showed signs of progress after intermission.

In all, the Browns finished with 111 rushing yards on 21 carries from Crowell, Duke Johnson and rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer. While that performance almost doubled the team’s previous production on the ground, Jackson stressed Cleveland has ample room for improvement.

“I’m not disappointed in where we are. I was disappointed how we started with the run, but I think we are getting better at it,” Jackson said. “I think the more we do it, the more consistent we become at it and the better we will be.”

In their first two games, the Browns totaled 150 yards on 46 carries. Those numbers, of course, are partly because of circumstances that have forced the team to play from behind. Cleveland has yet to hold a lead in its first three games.

“I mean you guys know how the running games work. You keep running it, and then when you really run it a ton is in the fourth quarter when you have a lead and you are salting the game away,” Jackson said.

“We haven’t been in that situation yet. We hope to get in that situation. We…

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