BROWNS (0-8)

USA TODAY Sports Weekly - - LEADING OFF - Zac Jack­son

Most teams in the po­si­tion the Browns are in would try to sell that they see brighter days ahead, that they’re win­less but not hope­less. Af­ter last week­end’s 33-16 loss in London to the Vik­ings, coach Hue Jack

son said the Browns have to play a per­fect game to have a chance to win.

No­body ques­tioned that state­ment, but a per­fect game just is not pos­si­ble. And based on the first half of the sea­son, a lone win might not be pos­si­ble. A sea­son af­ter go­ing 1-15, they added tal­ent to the ros­ter but have re­gressed. Rookie QB DeShone Kiz

er has strug­gled with in­ter­cep­tions and other grow­ing pains, and the Browns have been sunk by penal­ties, missed op­por­tu­ni­ties and big plays by op­po­nents.

No. 1 over­all draft pick Myles Gar­rett, a de­fen­sive line­man, has shown flashes of bril­liance, but he was in the NFL con­cus­sion pro­to­col as the team be­gan its bye week. Gar­rett also missed four games with a high an­kle sprain, and the Browns played last week­end with­out four other de­fen­sive reg­u­lars be­cause of in­juries. The league’s youngest team doesn’t have the ex­pe­ri­ence or depth to over­come such losses. Likely fu­ture Hall of Fame LT Joe

Thomas was lost in Week 7 to a torn tri­ceps, leav­ing another hole on an of­fen­sive line that’s still try­ing to jell and al­low RB

Isa­iah Crow­ell con­sis­tent lanes. Crow­ell is run­ning for a con­tract and to al­le­vi­ate pres­sure from Kizer, who’s been twice yanked from games for poor de­ci­sions.

The Browns are a mess, and there fig­ure to be some dif­fi­cult de­ci­sions ahead if this team can’t grow up fast. Player to watch: Gar­rett. He has four sacks in three games but needs more ex­pe­ri­ence to re­fine his game and ul­ti­mately reach his true po­ten­tial. As­sum­ing Gar­rett

is cleared to re­turn, he needs to fo­cus on the op­por­tu­nity to de­velop the rest of the sea­son, gain con­fi­dence and prove to him­self he can han­dle a full work­load with­out get­ting in­jured.

Num­ber crunch­ing: 40. Headed into last week­end’s game, the Browns had al­lowed ei­ther no yards or neg­a­tive yards rush­ing on 40% of their op­po­nents’ rush­ing at­tempts. That’s a huge leap for a team that’s long strug­gled against the run, though the Browns are still giv­ing up too many big plays in the pass­ing game.

Up next: Nov. 12 at Detroit. It’s tough to see the Browns win­ning a game be­fore mid-De­cem­ber, if at all. They will be fresh and make a short trip to Detroit. But given the state of the of­fense, it will be hard to win on the road against a Lions team that’s fight­ing to get back to the post­sea­son.

Browns’ Myles Gar­rett KEN BLAZE, USA TO­DAY SPORTS

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