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Cleveland Browns
INSIDE SLANT

  Inside Slant | Notes, Quotes | Strategy and Personnel | Player Wire

  QB Kizer loses his best pass-catcher

Rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer, trying to rebound from throwing three interceptions in his second NFL start, will have to do it without his best receiver when the Cleveland Browns visit the Colts on Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium.

Corey Coleman suffered a broken hand in the fourth quarter of the 24-10 loss Ravens. He underwent surgery on Monday and will be out indefinitely.

Coleman caught five passes in the opener against the Steelers and one against the Ravens. Rashard Higgins, in his second NFL season, could get the call to start in Coleman's spot. Higgins caught seven passes for 95 yards against the Ravens after catching six passes all of 2016.

"One of our star players on the team, he goes down in the game," Higgins said. "For us, it's the next man up. We don't know how long Corey's going to be out, but we are keeping him in our prayers. Hopefully, it heals fast.

"I really look forward to the Colts game. I've got to do better. I've got to get to the end zone."

Higgins was among players cut on Sept. 2. The 2016 fifth-round pick was signed to the Browns practice squad and elevated to the 53-man roster the day before playing the Ravens because veteran Kenny Britt struggled in the opener.

Britt started against the Ravens and caught one pass for two yards. He drew an offensive interference penalty on another play.

Head coach Hugh Jackson would not answer when asked whether Britt has to show more effort, starting Sunday. Instead, Jackson threw the blanket over the entire offense. The Colts, like the Browns, are 0-2, but the Colts defense held Arizona to 16 points in a 16-13 overtime loss to the Cardinals.

"We have to play better as an offensive unit," Jackson said. "I know we direct it at one guy. ... I know your question was about Kenny. We have to play better as an offensive unit, and that is the way I am going to leave it."

Kizer had developed a strong chemistry with Coleman in a short time. Now he is going to have to do the same with Higgins and Ricardo Louis, another wide receiver drafted in 2016. Louis had two catches for 27 yards against the Ravens.

Learning to work with new receivers and studying for a new opponent is a heavy load for any quarterback, especially a rookie, but Kizer is determined to put his four-turnover game behind him.

The Browns were charged with two delay of game penalties in Baltimore. They expect a loud crowd in Indianapolis and know getting the play off in time is going to be a challenge.

"We need to make sure that when we're out there that we're on it and that every time that it's time to hop in the huddle everyone is in their position and when we break that huddle to get to the line quickly," Kizer said. "When you're on the road and there is some communication things with noise, you're going to make sure that you're set as fast as you can and get the look as fast as you can."

The Browns haven't won on the road since beating the Ravens on Oct. 11, 2015.



SERIES HISTORY: 29th regular season meeting. Series tied, 14-14. The Browns and Colts have a knack for playing close games. Eight of their last nine have been determined by seven or fewer points. The only one in that stretch that wasn't as close was a 27-19 Browns victory in 2011.


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