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Browns coach Shurmur battles on despite criticism

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Browns coach Shurmur battles on despite criticism

BEREA, Ohio (AP) Cleveland Browns coach Pat Shurmur still loves rookies Trent Richardson and Brandon Weeden - even in defeat.

Shurmur would prefer Richardson, his starting running back, to focus on regrouping rather than being critical, however. And the embattled coach also would like Weeden to be more consistent at quarterback.

All told, though, he will gladly take both of them as the Browns move past a disappointing 38-21 loss to Washington on Sunday, an effort that snapped a three-game winning streak.

``I'm not saying you never go to the backup quarterback,'' Shurmur said. ``But I didn't consider it (Sunday).''

Shurmur has directed a young team through a rollercoaster season that included a change in ownership. With a chance to finish strong, the Browns' flop Sunday ended their slim playoff hopes, raised more questions about Weeden and had Richardson contemplating his coach's decisions.

Richardson had two touchdown runs, but gained only 28 yards on 11 carries and said after that he thought Shurmur abandoned the game plan. Shurmur wasn't pleased by the comments, but said Monday, he is not angry.

``I'm not upset with him,'' Shurmur said. ``I did talk to him. I asked what he meant by what he said. I explained to him that when we're all in a state of disappointment because we lost, it is important to keep our focus and, No. 1, regroup and get ready to play the next game.''

Shurmur has two more chances to make a positive imprint, as new owner Jimmy Haslam III ponders offseason moves. Haslam bought the team over the summer, and together with new CEO Joe Banner, will evaluate all aspects of the organization after another largely disappointing season.

Cleveland began the season 0-5, and even though Shurmur's Browns have persevered through the troubles, they are still just 5-9 with two difficult games approaching - Denver (11-3) and Pittsburgh (7-7).

Shurmur expects better play from Weeden regardless of the opponent, saying the 29-year-old is not too old to develop.

``I've never thought about his age,'' Shurmur said. ``I think of him as a rookie and he'll be better his second year. I'm looking forward to him having a much better game this week against Denver.''

Weeden was 21 for 35 for 244 yards, one touchdown, and two costly interceptions against the Redskins.

``We had two turnovers turned into 14 points and you can't do that,'' Shurmur said. ``On the second (pick), he tried to put it over the linebacker and the ball didn't go where he wanted.''

Shurmur said he evaluates every throw by Weeden, but would not reveal his grading scale. Weeden, a first-round pick, was clearly outplayed by fourth-round choice Kirk Cousins on Sunday. Cousins, making his first start in place of injured Robert Griffin III, threw for 329 yards and two scores.

The Redskins picked up big chunks of yardage when Cousins rolled out and found open receivers. It appeared that the Browns simply did not adjust. Shurmur said that was not the case at all.

``We were prepared for their style of offense, but they did a very good job,'' Shurmur said. ``It was not the same play every time.''

Shurmur believes the Browns will benefit by Richardson refining his game, too. Picked No. 3 overall last spring, the former Alabama star leads the team with 897 yards on the ground. And with 11 rushing touchdowns, he has already surpassed Hall of Fame standout Jim Brown's 55-year-old team rookie record.

``He's getting the ball in the end zone,'' Shurmur said. ``His yards per rush could be better.''

Richardson is averaging 3.5 yards a carry, but Shurmur noted that has been accomplished while playing injured. Richardson has played with injured ribs since mid-October and missed the preseason after having minor surgery on his left knee.

``I don't think his style has been defined yet,'' Shurmur said. ``He's still learning to play in the NFL.''

NOTES: The Browns waived DB Dimitri Patterson, who joined the club as an unrestricted free agent in 2011. Patterson appeared in seven contests this season with four starts. He finished with 28 tackles. ... Shurmur did not have injury updates on DB T.J. Ward (knee) and DL Frostee Rucker (groin). ... Cleveland finished 0-4 vs. the NFC East.

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Need to Know: Five key moments from the Redskins' loss to the Eagles

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Associated Press

Need to Know: Five key moments from the Redskins' loss to the Eagles

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, October 24, five days before the Washington Redskins play the Dallas Cowboys at FedEx Field.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Jay Gruden conference call, 3 p.m.

Days until:

—Redskins @ Seahawks (11/5) 12
—Vikings @ Redskins (11/12) 19
—Giants @ Redskins Thanksgiving (11/23) 30

Injures of note: G Brandon Scherff (knee) will have MRI today; OT Trent Williams (knee) aggravated previous injury; OLB Preston Smith (groin); CB Fabian Moreau (hamstring); CB Josh Holsey (chest).
Postgame injury report here; Jay Gruden will update injuries in 3 p.m. media conference call.

Final thoughts on Redskins vs Eagles

Fred Davis 31-yard reception in the second quarter set up the Redskins’ first touchdown. His first one led to a field goal that opened the scoring for the Redskins. The fountain of youth continues to flow for the 33-year-old tight end.

—The Redskins were keeping Carson Wentz off balance by applying pressure and either getting to him with the sack or forcing him to get rid of the ball off balance. But on a second and 16 play in the second quarter they didn’t blitz and Wentz had all day to launch a 64-yard TD bomb to Mack Hollins to tie the score at 10. Greg Manusky has to mix things up but going away from what was working cost the Redskins here.

—Down by 14, the Redskins cobbled together a third-quarter drive after their defense had held the Eagles to a three and out for the first time since the second quarter. It got going when Cousins scrambled for eight years and took a hit to convert a third down. The drive was capped by two Cousins passed to Jordan Reed, the second on a five-yard touchdown pass to make it 24-17.

—But the momentum swing was very temporary. It looked like the Redskins had Wentz sacked on third down. But somehow, he popped out of a pile of pass rushers and bolted for 17 yards. The air seemed to go out of the balloon for the Redskins. The Eagles capped to drive with a TD to restore the two-touchdown lead in the fourth quarter. Redskins fans may want to avoid NFL highlight shows all week; you’ll see that play a lot.

—There still was time left for the Redskins to mount a miracle comeback. But Cousins threw a pass that went right to safety Cory Graham. It was nowhere near a receiver. To be fair, Cousins did get his but still it was a bad pass and it ended the competitive phase of the game.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerNBCS and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.

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Redskins leave Philadelphia with more injuries than they came in with, somehow

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Redskins leave Philadelphia with more injuries than they came in with, somehow

The Redskins went into Lincoln Financial Field somewhat banged up. They left in worse shape than they were when they arrived.

The most significant injury seemed to be to guard Brandon Scherff. Coach Jay Gruden said that he had an MCL injury and that he will get an MRI on Tuesday. He left the game late in the third quarter and did not return. Scherff rarely takes plays off and the feeling is that he could have a significant injury. He headed to the team bus to the airport with a brace on the knee.

OT Trent Williams came into the game with a patella injury in his knee and he aggravated it late in the game, missing the Redskins’ last couple of possessions. He did not practice all week to rest the injury. We will see as the week goes by if the injury will allow Williams to continue to play.

OT Morgan Moses sprained both ankles and he returned to the game after each injury. He undoubtedly will be very sore tomorrow and we will see how he recovers.

MORE: FIVE TAKEAWAYS FROM A DISCOURAGING LOSS

The other reported injuries were more minor in nature, although they could cost the players some games. CB Fabian Moreau had a hamstring strain and he left the game. OLB Preston Smith, who has been one of the team’s best pass rushers this year, left the game with a groin strain. He attempted to return but he had to go back out. CB Josh Holsey had a chest contusion and he returned after going to the locker room to be examined.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerNBCS and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.