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News, Scores, Teams, Stories & More on Northeast OH Sports on cleveland.com

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    Ohio State's defensive coordinator spoke on Monday to preview this week's game against No. 15 TCU. Watch video

    COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Everything Ohio State defensive coordinator Greg Schiano said on Monday previewing this week's game against No. 15 TCU. A video of Schiano's full news conference can be found above.

    Q. You've talked a lot about Jordan Fuller and his ability to erase plays; what is it about him in that role?

    Schiano: Well, he's a very good athlete, No. 1 and has good anticipation, about vision. You know, Jordan would be good whatever he did. He came here as a corner. He could play corner. He's got that kind of coverage skills. He could play receiver and he was a quarterback in high school. He has a real good spatial awareness and he's a good tackler.

    Q. You guys talked throughout the off-season about that other spot next to him being a big concern or maybe the biggest on the team. Do you feel like it's settled at this point or do you still have some questions about that going, even into Game 3?

    Schiano: Well, Isaiah, I thought he played well on Saturday. He's still a young guy. Doesn't have a lot of reps underneath him. You know, Shaun Wade is getting better and better, so he's kind of -- we're trying to find a place for him.

    But I'm encouraged by Isaiah, and I think Jahsen is going to continue, and other guys, too, at the position, that are kind of young. They are all the same age, so we're going to keep that thing going for a bit and see if one of them can pull away.

    Q. Switching over to the NFL, I don't know if you got to see Denzel play at all, what were your thoughts on his two interceptions in his first-ever NFL game?

    Schiano: I did not get to see it because we were working, but did hear from the players a lot. Really excited for him. There's not a nicer guy in the world and he's a tremendous athlete and to do it in his hometown has to be pretty cool for him.

    Q. Middle linebacker, you're doing some shuffling there. What's your assessment? Only two games. What's your assessment so far?

    Schiano: As I said throughout, I think we have more than three linebackers, so more than three will play. Both those guys I think are getting better and better. Tuf, obviously, coming back off the injury and Baron getting his feet underneath him as a middle linebacker. I anticipate that to continue; that they will both play.

    Tuf has got just such a sense for the football. He seems to be around the ball all the time, and Baron has an unbelievable ability to cover ground. If you look at him, for a big man, or for anybody, he runs extremely well.

    Q. Shaun Wade, can you explain what his role is, and how do you envision his role going forward?

    Schiano: We are just going to try to find ways to get him on the field. So he can play corner, he can play in the nickel as he did this week and I think eventually he'll be able to play at the safety position. That's good for him because that's as many opportunities as you can have in the secondary to play.

    Q. Tyreke, is he hurt? I don't think he's played yet.

    Schiano: No, Tyreke is just -- not everybody can play. It's a competitive environment. He's doing well, though, especially in the last ten days, I think he's really catching on. Hopefully somewhere down the road he will play.

    Q. What do you see in the TCU offense?

    Schiano: They are a really talented offense. It all starts with the offense and defensive lines. Their offensive line is as good as any in the Big Ten. It is that kind of offensive line, very, very good. Skill people. They are fast. It's a very fast football team. You look at their receivers, you know, it's one, it's two, and these are really athletic kids in the backfield.

    33 and 6 are really good running backs; and their quarterback, the guy is new this year. Johnson, No. 3, I mean, we recruited him. He's a really good player who is multi-dimensional, who can throw, he's a strong arm guy. He's a huge test for our defense. This is a very athletic, fast, productive offense.

    Q. He's the first real running quarterback you've faced this year. How does that challenge your defense?

    Schiano: Well, it's a big challenge. No. 1, it changes all the math. When the quarterback carries the ball and can do it well, then you know, the defensive math changes and really, playing good defense is getting people to the point of attack and then making the tackle.

    So when the quarterback runs it you need to get another guy to the point of attack and obviously he doesn't run it all the time. He reads it. It's like option football. So it changes.

    And on the passing downs, if he has the ability to scramble, you have to account for that, and what I've noticed, and it's really -- I think you had one start last year and obviously these two this year and -- he's a very good runner.

    But it's not where he just tucks it to run right away. We're going to have to hold coverage when he does start to move out of the pocket and be ready once he crosses the line of scrimmage to come up and try to come down which is easier said than done. He's a 230-pound man who runs very well.

    Q. With that said, Turpin their punt return guy, what special problems does he spent from a speed standpoint, etc.?

    Schiano: It's speed, elusiveness, he's as quick as a cat. Like I said, their three wide outs all present different issues but the common denominator is they all can run and that's usually not a good thing. We've really got to be on top of our game.

    Q. When you take a team back to where it just won a game, like nine months ago and stuff, is that better than going on a true road test, or road trip, to that other team's stadium? That's a chance that the stands could be half and half with the Buckeye fans. What's your take on that?

    Schiano: I haven't given that a lot of thought. It's a good point. It's a good question. Certainly there will be a familiarity with the stadium and having played there, the locker rooms, all that stuff. So I guess any time that you're more familiar with something, it's a little bit easier, but it's really a home game for them. It's 30 minutes down the road, so I wouldn't get too excited about it.

    Q. Chase Young, what lesson do you want him to learn out of a game like that with the emotions?

    Schiano: I don't want to make too big of a deal of it to be honest. I think just you need to control yourself so you don't get a penalty. Like I said after the game, if it were a tight ballgame, a penalty or losing a player of that magnitude could really hurt us.

    But I love the excitement that he plays with, the passion that he plays with. Just got to kind of harness it just a little bit. Let's not -- but my thing to the defense is I want us to play with that edge. You know, I think playing great defense, part of it is having an edge. So just got to be careful we don't overdo it in tempering it.

    Q. How have you seen opponents block Nick so far? Are they doubling him? Are they helping? Is he getting a lot of one-on-ones? What's the first two games?

    Schiano: He's not getting a ton of one-on-ones. If you saw Saturday, Rutgers started their tight end out wide and motioned him down and really cracked him once pretty hard. So Nick is going to have to be aware of that. We are going to have to be aware of that because I think it will get more and more creative every week because he is such a special player.

    We need to do a good job of moving him around and not just leaving him in one spot because then you can target him, right. But if you put your tight end out there to bring him in and all of sudden he's not there, it gets hard to block him. So we need to help him and he needs to be a little bit more aware; his teammates need to help him. When there's someone motioning that's in a position to crack him, we have to let him know because they are doing things special for sure.

    Q. Just as things progress, especially on third down packages, when they are performing do they make it harder for teams to put people on Nick?

    Schiano: As I was saying defensively, it's all about math, the numbers. It's the same thing in protection. If you commit six to protection or you commit seven to protection, it's less people in the route; and less people in the route means that you can cover them better because there's more people that are able to get in the throwing lanes and that kind of thing.

    It is a trade off in everything you do on offense, as well as on defense and so if they choose to keep a double on Nick and a double on Chase, then the single on Dre'Mont. And they have to kind of pick which ones they want to double on.

    But a lot of that is based on concept of passing game, how fast the ball is coming out and where the ball is coming out. You always want to protect the blind side of your quarterback. All that goes into it in the protection scheme and that's what we try to attack. We try to attack the protection scheme with the players we have.

    Q. Just context on Nick, he looks good through two games. What's the context on how much he is affecting games as a pass rusher and how good he's splaying?

    Schiano: He's playing at a high level, very high level. He affects -- as on offensive coach, you're going to know where he is all the time.

    But as you mentioned, there's other guys out there, too, and that's the beauty of it when it comes to rushing the passer; so what we are seeing is some things in the run game to try to slow him down.

    When you face a player of Nick's talents, it's not just that play where you've got to protect him and what people try to do is slow him down on other plays, on run plays and make him play off this block and that block and just try to distract him. So that, I'm sure Nick will see more and more of.

    Q. Not here to launch a Heisman campaign, but when a guy like Nick can change a game, is it time for a defensive guy to be in that discussion? What are your thoughts on the Heisman and a defensive player?

    Schiano: I'd love to say, yeah, let's get a defensive player in there but I think there's been one in how many years. The reality is it's more of an offensive award because it's easier to chart. It's easier to make a big deal of touchdowns and rushing yardage and passing yardage, and I understand that.

    Nick is a dominant player in college football right now for sure. There's awards for that, as well. Now, usually what happens in a year, when -- well, it's happened once -- what am I saying, usually, but it would take a year where no one really had tremendous stats offensively for a defensive player to win it, but --

    Q. Best player in America --

    Schiano: I like him on our team, I know that. Thanks, guys.


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    The Buckeyes head coach will be back in week four against Tulane.

    COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Urban Meyer's return to the Ohio State sideline will kick off at 3:30 p.m. against Tulane on Sept. 22. The Big Ten on Monday announced the kickoff time for the Buckeyes' fourth game of the season.

    The game also won't be on a major national state. The Big Ten Network will televise the game. Ohio State's opener against Oregon State was on ABC, as is this Saturday's game at 8 p.m. against Texas Christian in Arlington, Texas.

    Ohio State's win over Saturday against Rutgers was also on the Big Ten Network.

    What Big Ten games are getting a larger audience in the fourth week of the season?

    * Wisconsin at Iowa is an 8:30 start on Fox.

    * Nebraska at Michigan is a noon kickoff on Fox Sports 1.

    * Boston College at Purdue is at noon on ESPN2. 

    * On Friday night, Penn State at Illinois is a 9 p.m. start on Fox Sports 1.

    And the Big Ten Network is televising four games:

    * Minnesota at Maryland at noon.

    * Buffalo at Rutgers at noon.

    * Michigan State at Indiana at 7:30.

    And Buckeyes hosting Tulane at 3:30, with their national championship coach, who was wrapped in national headlines for months, fully back with Ohio State again.


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    Jackson will meet with the media on Monday at 2:30 p.m.

    BEREA, Ohio -- The Browns tied the Steelers on Sunday, 21-21. It ends their losing streak, but they, of course, still haven't won in their last 18 tries.

    Head coach Hue Jackson will meet with the media on Monday beginning at approximately 2:30 p.m. Follow along with our running diary of Jackson's press conference:

    * Jackson says he hasn't been part of very many ties (Who has?). Says he's proud of the fight even though the Browns didn't play a very clean game.

    * Emmanuel Ogbah suffered an ankle injury and played through it, but Jackson says he may end up missing time. Nothing definitive, though.

    Jackson said he didn't know if it was a "true" high ankle sprain.

    * Jackson also backs off comments from Sunday when he said he thought the Steelers might have been offsides.

    * Jackson chalks Josh Gordon starting up to a miscommunication, it is what it is and they're moving on from it. "I've dealt with it, we move on." He didn't want to elaborate on it at all.

    * On Desmond Harrison: I thought he did some good things ... There was one pressure I know for a fact he gave up. ... I was excited about it being his first game." ... Harrison will stay the left tackle.

    * How do you clean up the penalties? "You make it an emphasis."

    * On the block in the back penalty on Garrett: "Inexcusable."

    * Jackson says he challenged Myles Garrett by showing him how many snaps good defensive ends have been playing.

    Garrett played 84 snaps on Sunday. During the offseason, Garrett spent the offseason getting in shape to play more.

    * If you think a quarterback change is in order, it's not happening. Jackson stood by Taylor.


    Get the best Browns news and perspective in your inbox at lunch time every weekday. Sign up for our Browns newsletter.


    Go inside the Browns every week with cleveland.com's Orange and Brown Podcast, featuring Mary Kay Cabot and Dan Labbe. Listen and subscribe here.


    Want more Browns? Subscribe to our Browns YouTube channel for interviews, analysis and more.


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    Ogbah suffered the injury early in the game against the Steelers.

    BEREA, Ohio -- The Browns were hoping to unleash the pass rush tandem of Myles Garrett and Emmanuel Ogbah this season. They'll have to wait a little bit longer to really see the impact the duo can have.

    Ogbah suffered an injury to his ankle on the final play of the first quarter on Sunday.

    "We'll see how he responds, he may miss some time," head coach Hue Jackson said.

    Ogbah was able to return to the game but played just 27 snaps. Chris Smith handled most of Ogbah's workload, playing 57 snaps.

    "I don't know if it's a true high ankle sprain," Jackson said. "It might be something like that, I don't think it's the ankle ankle sprain that lasts six weeks or whatever that is, but we'll see exactly where it is here later on today."

    The Browns will count on Anthony Zettel, claimed off waivers from Detroit last week, and Smith to fill in for Ogbah.

    "I think we have some guys that can do it, we just got to go get them prepared and ready to do it."

    Ogbah played 16 games his rookie season, but his second year was cut short with a broken foot suffered against the Lions a season ago. He has 9.5 career sacks.


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    Bill Landis and Doug Lesmerises break down what the Buckeyes offense will face against TCU this week. Watch video

    COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Ohio State ranks second in the nation in scoring at 64.5 points per game. The Buckeyes rank second in yards at 650 per game.

    They've gained exactly 600 rushing yards and exactly 700 rushing yards.

    Pretty good. But TCU, Saturday's opponent, ranks sixth in the nation in total defense, its first two opponents averaging 3.44 yards per play while Ohio State has averaged 8.1 yards per play.

    So could Ohio State, somehow, be overconfident for Saturday?

    "I think that, you know, when the games get tighter, every play matters even more," acting head coach Ryan Day said when asked that question Monday. "And so the mistakes are still there. We talked about that in the meeting yesterday. The mistakes are still there.

    "For instance, the interception in the red zone two games ago, or, you know, a play with false starting or sack on third down; those plays in a big game are going to show up even more. They are still there and we have to correct them and that's the sign of a mature group."

    Day wants this attitude from the Buckeyes.

    "You can win a big game, kind of like we have last two games, but then come to work and be critical of yourself," Day said, "and take the coaching so that we make the corrections to keep building."

    He was also asked what might worry him about an offense putting up these points.

    "I don't think there's any one thing," Day said, because of course there isn't.

    "What makes good players great is when they do make a mistake, they can learn from it and it doesn't happen again. But we still have a lot of first-time guys on the team, so they are learning as it goes."

    In this video, Bill Landis and I pondered the idea of an overconfident Ohio State team - and summarily dismissed the premise.


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    Ohio State's acting head coach spoke with the media on Monday to preview Saturday's game against TCU. Watch video

    COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Ohio State acting head coach Ryan Day spoke with the media on Monday to recap a win over Rutgers and preview this week's game against No. 15 TCU. A full transcript of Day's news conference is below.

    Q. Ryan, I'm sure you have very high expectations for your offense. What about your offense maybe is even more impressive than you anticipated?

    Day: Probably our depth and just talent overall. You know, you look all across the board, we're pretty deep. A lot of playmakers. So when you get the ball to those guys in space and you can stretch the ball vertically and horizontally, you can really be explosive. That matched with the tempo and our ability to protect right now is good. Dwayne and Tate, they have a lot of time and can set their feet, so their rhythm has been good.

    Q. What about TCU's defense presents the most problems?

    Day: Coach Patterson has done a great job. They have all the answers. Any time a defense has been together that long, they have seen so many different things come their way. So they have adjustments. They make quick adjustments. They know exactly how you're trying to attack them, so very, very talented group, as well. A lot of veteran guys back there.

    They have been together such a long time that you are not going to get anything free. You're going to have to earn everything that you get.

    Q. How much input has Coach Meyer had on what to expect?

    Day: Like I said last week, everything in terms of week-to-week stuff with coach, we have been game planning all together so he's had a huge amount of input.

    Q. How many guys are involved in the playaction game with Dwayne at quarterback?

    Day: I think the combination of a great offensive line and J.K. and Mike, you have to account for them. Once you do that, if you can tie in the runs to make them look exactly like the runs, then they have to get somebody else into the front, whether it's a safety or a seventh defender and then at that point, whether it's with an RPO or play-action pass, we want to take advantage of that.

    So you saw John, you see Terry down the field, one-on-one situations with cornerbacks and then it's just a matter of making the throw and catch. So it all starts with running the football, and if we can force that seventh guy in the box, that opens up stuff in the pass game.

    Q. You mentioned a couple weeks ago when special teams meetings are happening, the running backs are often with you in the quarterback room. What have you learned about J.K. from a more personal side?

    Day: Great personality. Very, very competitive. Wants it really, really bad. But has a fun way about him. Kind of a happy-go-lucky. Always has a smile on his face. A lot of energy. He's a very likable kid.

    But he works really, really hard and he's got that edge to him. He's fun. He's always got something to say in meetings. Outgoing personality.

    But I think that, you know, they are pushing each other, too, in that room between Mike and J.K., so the competition is really good, but they also pull for each other.

    Q. Regardless of what's gone on this year, Urban's suspension, things have seemed to go rather smoothly. What do you attribute that to?

    Day: The culture of our team. We said from the beginning that this team has been trained for this -- for this type of adversity. We talk about winning the moment. We talk about E+R=O. We talked about that before. The training that's happened over the last year and obviously what Coach has done here for the six years leading up to this, there's been a foundation set here.

    So when you go through something tough, if you have a good, strong foundation, then you can make it through the other side and that's what's happened.

    Q. Are things going well without Urban, because of Urban?

    Day: Like I said, the culture Coach has set here with all these guys, it's amazing. The locker room and the character, not just with the players, but their families, you know, sticking together, our recruits, the whole thing. So because of that, we've been able to come through the back end of this thing.

    Still got a long season to go. But going through that stuff, like we said, makes us stronger, as well. But the leadership right here, the coaching staff, we have all stuck together. But there's no way you can get through that without a strong foundation to start with.

    Q. How much authority does Dwayne have to alter plays?

    Day: Yeah, he knows, whether it's in the running game, he has the ability to make a check or in the pass gale, he can change the protection and slide it one way or the other. He has a good handle on that. Sometimes we're playing fast and he has to make a decision where the ball goes. Sometimes it's to the running back and sometimes he has to run it and sometimes he gets thrown to the receivers. Whether it's before or after the snap, he has to make decisions.

    Q. Do you worry at all them getting too confident going into a game like this?

    Day: I think that, you know, when the games get tighter, every play matters even more. And so the mistakes are still there. We talked about that in the meeting yesterday. The mistakes are still there.

    You know, we can't -- like for instance, the interception in the red zone two games ago, or, you know, a play with false starting or sack on third down; those plays in a big game are going to show up even more. They are still there and we have to correct them and that's the sign of a mature group is you can win a big game, kind of like we have last two games but then come to work and be critical of yourself and take the coaching so that we make the corrections to keep building.

    Q. As well as Tate performed the other day, does that make you more inclined to want to get him involved in the offense in some way?

    Day: I think Tate showed what he can do. But we've seen that through camp and through practice. So nothing he did surprised us. He's done a great job running. He's done a great job passing. So his skill-set is excellent for, you know, attacking the defense. They have to account for him with his feet and then with his arm.

    So you know, like we said before, we plan to play Tate. How much kind of depends on the game moving forward. But it was great to see him go out there and have some success and see him running around and have some energy.

    Q. You hear about in a spread offense it's important to stretch the defense vertically -- who are your main deep threats?

    Day: I think that our main deep threats are Johnnie and Terry. Austin and Ben also have the ability to go deep, some of the younger guys, as well. We've also taken shots from the inside, as well, with Paris down the field and sometimes KJ. So any of those guys can be threats down the field.

    It just kind of depends sometimes on what the defense is giving us. They decided to kind of put the safeties down a little bit early in the game and so that opened up the middle of the field and so we connected on it. There's so much that goes into that. You have to be able to run the ball. You have to be able to protect and you have to be able to do those things to open up something like that. Otherwise they put the safety in the middle of the field and it doesn't open anything up.

    When those opportunities present themselves, we've got to capitalize and when you do, you look much more explosive. So then we get the effect of now they have to back up a little bit and the underneath stuff opens up. So that's kind of how the game works.

    Q. After the opener, Urban comes in and says, "What, you only had to punt once." What was his feedback this time?

    Day: It was kind of what we just talked about, how we have to make corrections and we have to be critical of ourselves moving forward; so that in a game like this, some of the mistakes being made don't catch up to you. When you think they are okay, they are not. You have to get those things fixed.

    Game week is usual. Went through the film. Made the corrections and now we are on to TCU.

    Q. Now that you're two games into this and have one more left, I was curious, you've spoken a lot about how the game plan and what happens on Saturday is done between Monday and Friday, with his first full week back, how did it go on Saturday in terms of staying within what you guys prepared for, and how does that change going into a game where there's a chance you guys could actually lose?

    Day: I think so much of the work that happens on Saturday is done during the week, like I said. We all sit in the meeting. Even today, sitting in the meeting room, everybody has input into what we are calling and if it makes it on the call sheet, then it's good enough to call and we all have to be behind that and understand that. I know we have to make adjustments in game and figure out what the defense is doing and what plays give us the best opportunity.

    But yeah, the input is strong from everybody in the offensive staff, including Coach, and if it makes on the call sheets, it's good enough to call. If it isn't, then we just take it off and don't call it that week.

    Q. No disrespect to your previous two opponents, but this is a big game and something that Ohio State fans have been waiting for for a long time. How is that different for you? Is it more nerve-wracking, being there alone without Urban and how are you anticipating handling this challenge, the biggest challenge you've faced?

    Day: I think when you play in big games, obviously you have to take care of the football. You have to run the football. You have to play good defense and you have to really follow the plan to win even more because every play is so much more important.

    In terms of preparing for it, we are going to be who we are and do what we are. I think when you start to stray and focus on other things, like it being a big game, that's when you get distracted. We've got to focus on us and if we play the way that we know we can play, then that's going to give us the best chance to win.

    If we start to overthink it or anything else, then we are not putting our best foot forward.

    Q. You referenced a couple times mistakes that you weren't happy about. I know coaches weren't satisfied. Are there things about the offense that you were actually legitimately concerned about at this point? Averaging 64 points a game; what is it that might worry you?

    Day: No, I don't think there's any one thing. I think it's just when you watch the film, our execution level has got to be high every play. It's got to be what we call 4 to 6, A to B, which is relentless effort every play. It can't be just on four out of five plays. If we are very, very critical of ourselves, then we have a chance to be as good as we want to be.

    But as you're going along, sometimes the defense gives you looks. Sometimes, you know, guys who haven't played a lot of football are put into situations where they haven't experienced that before. So what happens, usually the first time that happens, they fail and then they learn from it.

    What makes good players great is when they do make a mistake, they can learn from it and it doesn't happen again. But we still have a lot of first-time guys on the team, so they are learning as it goes.

    Q. The guys on the offensive line, you reshuffled that a bit. How have you evaluated that through two games?

    Day: Overall, it's been solid. I think the move that Mike's made in a short period of time, he's done a nice job of that. Communication is getting better and better. We're going to go into a hostile environment now on the road, so the communication will be at an all-time high.

    That will be a test for all of us on offense. It's going to be loud and it's not going to be at home where it's nice and quiet. We are going to have to go in that environment and go win a game, so we are going to be tested.

    Q. Dwayne in the read game, is he making reads there, or is that pretty much a straight hand-off for him at this point?

    Day: There are some plays where he reads the defensive end. There's some plays where he will read the linebacker and then there are some plays where he will actually read the safety based on a play.

    But typically we are having him read somebody on most of the run plays.

    Q. How often is the read that he keeps it or is he going to throw it as his read if he doesn't hand it off?

    Day: Depends on what the defense gives us really. If that guy is being aggressive, there's a chance he can pull it. If they are playing a little bit softer, it's more of a hand-off.

    Q. I've had Twitter fights with people. It seems like Tate has been in the fifth series both games so far. I think no matter who you are playing, he's the fifth series and it gives defensive coordinators something to think about, but people on Twitter think that in big games, he's not going to get in --

    Day: You shouldn't be getting into Twitter fights (Laughter).

    Q. That's modern journalism, man. Is the fifth series the Tate series?

    Day: No. It's kind of based on, again, what we are seeing in the flow of the game.

    Q. Where did you see improvement?

    Day: Throwing the ball, I thought he was accurate, 10 for 10. Missed that one throw that got called back on holding, but other than that he was accurate with the ball and made good decisions. Didn't put the ball in harm's way.

    Could do a better job with ball security, but other than that, ran the offense well, managed the offense. Get down in the red zone, instead of forcing the throw, he kind of scrambled and we get a field goal out of it. That's managing the game and that's important to do.

    Can't force the action, and he didn't do that. But that was good and then obviously coming back from taking that shot showed a lot of heart.

    Q. Touche moment we ran for the long touchdown but he didn't bite on that. When you look at TCU defensively --

    Day: First off, a veteran group, guys who have played a lot of football at a high level. These guys are top 20 defense in the country last year. They played some high octane offenses, so they have been up against it and battle tested.

    Their coach is battle-tested and one of the best coaches in the last 20 years of college football, especially on defense, in terms of what they have done. Have quick adjustments. If you get them with something, you're not going to get them twice. They do a great job of that. They fly around. Their team speed is excellent. In the back end, front end, they are constantly running to the ball, fast and play with an edge. So that's the challenge.

    Q. Your punt return situation, how would you describe it right now?

    Day: Always good to have two weapons like that. Demario has one for 26 yards the first week and then C.J. makes a bunch of guys miss last week.

    You know, still getting those guys the reps. They haven't done a lot of it. The more reps we can get on film, the more opportunities we have. But they are dynamic in different ways, so we think of it as more of a benefit that you have two guys you can put back there that can make a play.

    Q. Did it help in your mind taking a team somewhere?

    Day: I think there's obviously some familiarity, just that we were there and we practiced a bunch, I don't know how many months ago it was but not long ago. A lot of guys on the team know that stadium so that is good. A lot of guys on the team don't -- some of the freshmen coming in, and at the end of the day, it just comes down to going in to play. Obviously a beautiful stadium and they will have a great crowd, so it will be a hostile crowd.

    Q. Two games under your belt now. How much more comfortable did you feel Saturday than the first week?

    Day: There's a learning curve there, you're learning things for the first time. Some things you do well and other things you don't so well. You just try to regroup at the end of the day and try to figure out how you get better the next time do you it. You do something for the second time, you feel a little more comfortable in that role.

    It's been a huge learning experience for me just going through it on a day-to-day basis, but one more week here and then kind of back to normal.

    Q. Do you have specifics what was challenging and what came more natural?

    Day: Just so much that goes into the game day, talking to the team and also having the offense in the back of your mind, the quarterbacks. Just the full plate there and trying to prioritize your time.

    Q. Your role, how is that going to change a little bit? Are you able to focus on play calling? I assume you did it all, or are doing it all the last two weeks.

    Day: No, I mean, it's just, you know, obviously now that Coach is back, obviously it's lesson my plate. Coach is running the team and doing everything. He just wasn't there on Saturday.

    So that was good. That was great.

    Q. This is a high-level opponent. Do you feel any different this week? Is it business as usual or knowing that this is a big game on the road, do you feel any different as you prepare?

    Day: No. If you don't think it's a big game, try losing it, you know. So they are all big, and you've got to play hard. Every game you've got to be ready, you've got to be prepared and do a great job. That's just one of the things when you come to Ohio State and you play at the highest level of college football, you have to bring you're a game every week. That's not any different this week.


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    Boston and New York have asked Major League Baseball about the circumstances of Josh Donaldson's trade to Cleveland, per a report from MLB Network's Ken Rosenthal.

    CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Rival playoff contenders including the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees are upset about the August waiver trade that sent Josh Donaldson from Toronto to the Cleveland Indians, according to a report from Ken Rosenthal of MLB Network.

    Appearing on MLB Network's The Rundown on Monday Afternoon, Rosenthal said the Red Sox, Yankees and Houston Astros -- all in line for the MLB playoffs -- checked in with the league office regarding whether or not Donaldson was healthy enough to be placed on revocable waivers prior to the Aug. 31 deal.

    According to the report, Houston was satisfied with the league's response, however Boston and New York are still upset that the trade was approved. Donaldson is set to join the Indians in Tampa Bay tomorrow after completing his third stint on the 10-day disabled list this season.

    Donaldson has not played in a major league game since May 28 with the Blue Jays. A free agent at the end of the season, he was acquired in the wee hours of Aug. 31 after clearing revocable waivers while on a rehab assignment with the Blue Jays' minor league affiliate in Dunedin, Fla.

    Donaldson played one rehab game for Dunedin on Aug. 28 and then said that he would sit out the scheduled game on Aug. 29 with "leg soreness," but that game was postponed due to rain. He played for Dunedin on Aug. 31 before the trade to Cleveland went through.

    After arriving in Cleveland on Sept. 1, Donaldson was placed on the 10-day disabled list in order for him to continue playing minor-league games. In his first appearance for the Triple-A Columbus Clippers on Sept. 4, Donaldson hit a grand slam. Two days later he homered for Double-A Akron in the Rubberducks' Eastern League playoff opener.

    According to Rosenthal, the league warned teams that were interested in claiming Donaldson while he was on waivers that he may not be fully healthy. Players must be certified as healthy in order to be placed on revocable waivers, per MLB rules.

    Donaldson was on Cleveland's 40-man roster by the Sept. 1 deadline, making him eligible to appear in the playoffs. Whether or not a formal complaint from the other playoff teams could prevent him from playing for the Tribe come October is uncertain.


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    Josh Gordon starting vs. the Steelers was 'a mistake' and a miscommunication with Todd Haley, says Hue Jackson.

    BEREA, Ohio -- Hue Jackson said Josh Gordon starting the Steelers game against his wishes was 'a mistake' and attributed it to 'a miscommunication'' with offensive coordinator Todd Haley.

    Jackson had adamantly stated several times over the past two weeks that Gordon wouldn't start because he hadn't been here and other receivers deserved the nod.

    "The game's overwith now, so to talk about it, what's it going to do? Nothing,'' he said Monday in his press conference. "So I've dealt with it. We've worked through it. It's done with. We move on.''

    After the game, a 21-21 tie with the Steelers, Jackson revealed that he wasn't aware Gordon would start until he trotted out for the first play in a jumbo formation -- Gordon wide left and three tight ends stacked on the right. He's given Haley full control over the offense, both personnel deployment and playcalling.

    "The personnel group got him out there on the first play,'' Jackson said Sunday night. "I saw it just like you did. Not what I wanted, but we will get through that, too."

    Gordon disappeared from the lineup for the rest of that series and the next, almost as if Jackson had ordered him back to the bench for awhile.

    "As I said last night, again I don't want to keep elaborating on it -- the personnel, obviously as you guys saw, Josh wasn't in quite a few play after that,'' he said. "The personnel that we were using obviously called for him to be in the game (on the first play). We could've switched that up. That's all. That's all it was.''

    On the rest of that drive and the next one, the Browns were primarily in two or three receivers sets, with either Landry and Antonio Callaway, or Landry, Callaway and Rashard Higgins.

    On the third drive, Gordon went back in and played the rest of the game. In fact, he played 69 snaps for 78%.

    "Yeah, I wasn't surprised by that,'' Jackson said.

    Did Haley know that Jackson had stated several times that Gordon wouldn't start the game?

    "That game's over with,'' said Jackson. "To keep talking about that does nothing, nobody any good. He played the first play, didn't play for however many plays after that, there was a mistake in that and we've moved on from it. That's it.''

    What happened in the Browns 21-21 tie with the Steelers?

    Despite his 68 snaps, Gordon had only three targets and one reception - the 17-yard touchdown catch from Tyrod Taylor to tie it at 21 with 1:58 left in regulation. Was Tyrod Taylor just not seeing him?

    "I'm not going to say we're not seeing him,'' said Jackson. "We've got to play better offensively, just overall, everybody.  We've got to get him opportunities, where he can make plays, him, David (Njoku) all of them. I mean, we've got to get our skill guys going and moving in the right direction.

    "That's a whole unit issue. I don't think it's one particular player. I don't think it's just the quarterback or those guys individually. I just think it's a unit issue that we've got to continue to address and get better.''

    Gordon admitted after the game that he was as surprised as everyone else that he was in on the first play.

     "Yeah, when I was told, initially I didn't plan on it,'' he said. "But I just hopped in for one play and came back out, went right back to the game plan."

    He acknowledged, "sometimes the game plans change."

    Gordon's appearance in the starting lineup came after Jackson gave a several minute soliluquy on Wednesday about why he absolutely wouldn't.

    "I know that everybody maybe doesn't understand it,'' he said. "'Josh Gordon is back. He should walk right back out there and start.' I'm not about entitlement for players. I'm about work. I'm about when guys are here, the guys that have been here the whole time working and busting their tail - and they are on the team and they play receiver, too - that if a guy is ready and up for the game, why should I start him in front of them when they have done the most work?

    "Right is right. We have to have some form of how we do business here in our building. Our players know that. That's not new. I just wanted to make sure that you guys knew that he was not going to walk right out there first. It did not mean that he wasn't going to play. I never said that. He's just not going to start. I think that's the right thing to do. We have rules ofhow we go about our business in our locker room. Our players get it and understand it.

    "They know how this works. [Externally] we're making a little bit more about it than what it is.''

    Asked that day if Gordon could possibly play on the second snap, he said, "it depends on the personnel group.''

    The Steelers game marked the first time Haley, new this year after getting fired by the Steelers, called plays for the Browns. It's a obviously a work in progress between the two coaches, and will likely evolve over the course of the season. 


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    Check here for the FedExCup Playoffs 2018 standings. The Top 30, including Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, advance to the TOUR Championship next week.

    CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Rory McIlroy are among the Top 30 in the FedExCup Playoffs 2018 standings through completion of the BMW Championship on Monday, Sept. 10. Those 30 comprise the field for the TOUR Championship next week.

    Bryson DeChambeau, who won the first two of the four playoff events, is No. 1 in the standings. He is followed in the top five by Justin Rose, Tony Finau, Dustin Johnson and Justin Thomas.

    Keegan Bradley is No. 6. Bradley defeated Rose in a playoff on Monday to win the BMW -- the third postseason event. Sunday's final round had been postponed because of weather. Bradley opened the BMW at No. 52.

    Mickelson, 48, is No. 14 and Woods, 42, is No. 20. McIlroy is 17th.

    Patton Kizzire claimed the 30th spot. Jordan Spieth is on the outside looking in at No. 31.


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    Corey Kluber will face the Rays for the second time in his last three starts on Monday night. He'll be looking for his 19th win, a career high.

    ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Here are the starting lineups for Monday night's game between the Indians and Rays at Tropicana Field. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 p.m.

    INDIANS

    SS Francisco Lindor.

    LF Michael Brantley.

    3B Jose Ramirez.

    DH Edwin Encarnacion.

    1B Yonder Alonso.

    RF Melky Cabrera.

    2B Jason Kipnis.

    C Yan Gomes.

    CF Greg Allen.

    RHP Corey Kluber, 18-7, 2.75.

    RAYS

    CF Mallex Smith.

    LF Tommy Pham.

    DH Ji-Man Choi.

    1B C.J. Cron.

    3B Joey Wendle.

    SS Willy Adames.

    2B Brandon Lowe.

    RF Jake Bauers.

    C Nick Ciuffo.

    RHP Diego Castillo, 3-2, 3.40.

    UMPIRES

    H Carlos Torres.

    1B 1B Mark Carlson.

    2B Paul Nauert, crew chief.

    3B Scott Barry.


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    Ogbah was injured during Sunday's game against the Steelers. Watch video

    BEREA, Ohio -- The Browns will be without one of their key defensive players for a little while as defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah will miss time with an ankle injury. Head coach Hue Jackson wasn't specific with how much time he would miss.

    Mary Kay Cabot and I talked about that on Monday. We also talked about Josh Gordon starting and how that happened. Then we talked about Jackson blaming the offensive struggles on the entire unit, not just quarterback Tyrod Taylor and about Desmond Harrison's debut.


    Get the best Browns news and perspective in your inbox at lunch time every weekday. Sign up for our Browns newsletter.


    Go inside the Browns every week with cleveland.com's Orange and Brown Podcast, featuring Mary Kay Cabot and Dan Labbe. Listen and subscribe here.


    Want more Browns? Subscribe to our Browns YouTube channel for interviews, analysis and more.


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    Tribe's Chris Antonetti on Josh Donaldson deal: "We didn't do anything different than any other team wold have done."

    ST. PETERSBURG - Chris Antonetti, president of baseball operations for the Indians, said the team did nothing to violate MLB rules in trading for third baseman Josh Donaldson just before the Aug. 31 waiver deadline.

    "We didn't do anything different than any other team would have done," said Antonetti before Monday night's game against the Rays at Tropicana Field. "In fact, there were a lot of other teams that were negotiating with Josh at the time for the trade.

    "Now, we can only see one reality of what played out, because only one team can end up getting the guy and there's only one thing to assess, and that's what happened in the time we had Josh with us. But, had he been traded to another team, that very same process could have played out with them."

    Ken Rosenthal of the Athletic reported that the Yankees, Boston and Houston checked with the commissioner's office on the legality of the trade and to voice their displeasure. The story said Houston was satisfied with MLB's explanation, but that the Red Sox and Yankees were still upset.

    The crux of the complaint was the health of Donaldson. He has not played a big-league game since May 28 because of a strained left calf - he will be activated and start at third base Tuesday night - but the Blue Jays put him on revocable waivers on Aug. 29. MLB rules say a player must be healthy when he's placed on revocable waivers. After the Indians completed the trade, they placed him on the 10-day disabled list on Sept. 2, citing his strained left calf.

    Rosenthal reported that teams interested in trading for Donaldson were contacted by MLB and received what amounted to a 'buyer beware' warning when he was on waivers.

    "I'm not sure how I'd characterize it," said Antonetti when asked MLB's message, "but I think that's always the case with a trade. When you trade for a player, you bear the risk of assuming the medical (condition of that player). That's why there's a process in place that allowed teams to exchange medical information and work forward from there."

    Of course, if any team really wanted Donaldson, and wanted to keep the Indians from getting him, they could have claimed him on waivers. No one did, including the Indians, because of his health concerns and the estimated $4 million left on his contract.

    Antonetti didn't think the Indians had a shot at Donaldson until the afternoon of Aug. 31. When negotiations with the Blue Jays grew serious, he contacted MLB for permission to talk to Donaldson. MLB said OK.

    "Toronto certified that he was healthy," said Antonetti. "Major League Baseball agreed with that assessment. Obviously, we and other teams actively tried to negotiate a trade and we obviously did that.

    "Then, the last step in that process was we asked Major League Baseball for permission to talk with Josh. We got that on Friday night, talked with Josh late Friday night and shared with him what our plan would be. It was like, 'Hey, listen, we need to get you into Cleveland, so we can have our medical people assess you and then we'll partner with you to figure out what the best plan might be to get you back to full health and game activity at the Major League level.'"

    Donaldson agreed and the Indians made the trade with Toronto for a player to be named. The player is right-hander Julian Merryweather, who is currently on the disabled list recovering from Tommy John surgery. The Indians also received a reported $2.7 million to help pay for the remainder of Donaldson's contract.

    "Josh was comfortable with that approach, so we went forward with the trade," said Antonetti. "And then everything played out exactly as you guys know. We brought him to Cleveland. He was active that day while we got him assessed. We went through that process and decided -- with Josh -- that it didn't make sense to have him active at that point, that it made sense for him to go back out on a rehab assignment. And that's what we did."

    Antonetti said there was nothing stopping the Indians from putting Donaldson back on the disabled list after they completed the trade.

    "Each team assesses things differently, right?" he said. "I think in the end, what we were focused on was our assessment (on Josh). And then once Josh was with us, how do we work with him to figure out what the best plan might be to get him back to performing at the level that he's capable of at the Major League level? And that's what we did."


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    Garrett was flagged for roughing, and it led to a touchdown on the next play.

    BEREA, Ohio -- All the 'I'm sorrys' in the world won't change the outcome of the game, but the NFL admitted Monday that Myles Garrett shouldn't have been flagged for roughing on Ben Roethlisberger that led to a touchdown on the next play.

    The mistake could've been the difference in the game, which ended in a 21-21 tie in overtime.

    NFL V.P. of Officiating Al Riveron told NFL Network Monday that Garrett didn't land with most or all of his body weight on Roethlisberger, and therefore it wasn't a foul.
    "The rule specifically says 'most, if not all, of your body weight,'" Riveron said. "So we want that player to make an effort.

    "And the last three or four weeks, we have pulled extensive video to show the clubs exactly what we're talking about, and we probably last week showed 5-to-1 or 6-to-1 of legal hits, or legal contact, as opposed to illegal contact. Because the question we get all the time is, well, what do you want our players to do? Well, they have to not put the weight on the quarterback.

    "And this one [on Garrett] yesterday showed, even though there is some body weight on Ben, this is not what we would consider contact that rises to the level of a foul."

    Roethlisberger, facing a third and 7 from the Browns' 8, threw the ball away in the back of the end zone with Garrett bearing down on him. Garrett hit him after the throw, and was flagged half the distance to the goal, but the hit appeared perfectly legal.

    Next play, James Conner ran in from the 4 to make it 7-0 with 11:16 left in the half.

    Jackson, also believing the hit was legal, got in the face of referee Shawn Smith and gave him an earful. But it was too late.

    "There were quite a few times I talked to the officials about things I saw and calls that they made,'' Jackson said. "The call on Myles Garrett, I do not get that.
    "They said that it was roughing the passer. That led to a touchdown.''

    Garrett commits costly penalty in tie with Steelers

    Garrett, who had two sacks and two strips in the game, was equally perplexed.

    "It wasn't a very sensical explanation,'' he said. "I don't know how from that angle I can hit him and put him into the ground, so you don't want to tackle him. You kind of just have to tackle him into the ground. So you don't you put your body weight or almost all your body weight into him, so I have to torque myself out of the way.

    "So hopefully that gets adjusted or something's changed about that, but we'll see. I'm not going to change how I'm hitting because that's how I've always been taught.''

    He acknowledged he doesn't know any more what's a good tackle and what's not.

    "Honestly, I thought that was a perfectly legal hit,'' he said. "When I hit him, I just had momentum, so of course he went down pretty quick, but I don't know what is a proper way to take him down. I'm going to need some evidence or them to demonstrate for me themselves.''

    Jackson didn't let Garrett off the hook for his other penalty, the illegal block above the waist on Maurkice Pouncey in overtime that forced Zane Gonzalez to attempt a 43-yard gamewinning kick instead of a 30-yarder. The 43 was blocked with nine seconds left to end the game in a tie.

    "Yeah, to me that's inexcusable,'' said Jackson. "I know he is - from the effort standpoint - he thinks he is trying to do the right thing, but you just cannot take that chance. Again it was a very critical time, those extra few yards could have made a difference. Can't make that play, and he'll be the first to tell you, should not do it.

    But again, we got to make sure our guys do not do it. So we will work through it."


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    Chris Antonetti, Indians president of baseball operations, says the chances of Trevor Bauer rejoining the rotation in time for the postseason could be decided by a matter of two or three days.

    ST. PETERSBURG - It's September and the Indians once again are trying to get their roster back to full strength before plunging into the postseason.

    They activated lefty Andrew Miller on Monday. Josh Donaldson will join him on Tuesday, but what of Trevor Bauer?

    Bauer was about to hit the stretch drive in a career season when he was hit in the right leg by a line drive off the bat of Chicago's Jose Abreu on Aug. 11. He's been out with a stress fracture in the leg since, but that doesn't mean he's lost for the season.

    "Trevor is tentatively scheduled for a bullpen (session) Wednesday, which is really good news," said manager Terry Francona. "Now that's a little bit tentative, but he's had a good last couple of days so that's really good."

    Francona added that if Bauer's bullpen session goes well Wednesday, he could throw again on Friday or Saturday.

    "I think with Trev, the trainers are trying to go every day just to make sure he feels OK," said Francona. "If he can tolerate something, move on."

    The Indians are hopeful Bauer can rejoin the rotation before the end of the season.

    "He's throwing," said Chris Antonetti, Indians president of baseball operations. "At this point, he's throwing and hopefully at some point this week he progresses to bullpens and continues to build from there."

    But Bauer's injury has definitely put a lot of options on the table regarding the postseason rotation.

    "What that means, we'll have to see," said Antonetti. "We don't know exactly how it will play out from this point forward because it's a unique injury. Also how Trevor has gone through this rehab process, some of the things he's done with his arm care and arm conditioning are a little bit different. He's worked really hard to try to position himself to be ready as soon as reasonably possible. So we'll have to take (that into consideration)."

    If he can't start, Bauer could open the postseason in the bullpen, but Antonetti wasn't ready to discuss that.

    "It think it's too early to say that he wouldn't be a starter for us," said Antonetti. "Our goal and hope is that we can build him back up to assume that role. But I think the one thing we're confident in is, if Trevor's healthy and able to pitch, that he can impact a postseason series for us. Whether that's in the rotation or bullpen is not something we've worked through yet."

    Antonetti said timing will be critical in determining Bauer's role.

    "We're going to have to see day to day just how quickly he's able to get on the mound," said Antonetti. "We're at the point of the season where two or three days one way or the other will have a big impact, right? If he's able to get off a mound on a certain date versus two or three days later, that could have an impact on his availability and readiness to pitch."

    Finally: Antonetti said the plan is for Cody Anderson to pitch a game for Class AA Akron in the Eastern League championship. Anderson underwent Tommy John surgery in March of 2017. Antonetti added that top prospect Triston McKenzie has been shut down for the season and will not pitch for Akron in the postseason. McKenzie opened the year on the disabled list with a forearm injury and it sounds like the Indians want to make sure he has a full off-season to recover. "It's more fatigue than anything else," said Antonetti. "Thankfully, it's not arm related."


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    Jackson says the whole offense struggled, not just Taylor. Watch video

    BEREA, Ohio -- In the aftermath of Tyrod Taylor's rocky Brown's debut against the Steelers, Hue Jackson bristled at a question about the QB's apparent long leash.


    "Leash? I mean, he's the quarterback,'' said Jackson.

    He acknowledged, however, that Taylor must play better for the Browns to win. He completed only 37.5% of his attempts (15-of-40 for 197) with one touchdown and one interception for a 51.8 rating.

    Holding the ball too long at times while he looked for an open man, Taylor was sacked seven times. He converted only one of the defense's six takeaways, and failed to get a first down in four overtime possession. He underthrew the ball several times, including on a potential gamewinning deep pass to Josh Gordon with 16 seconds left in overtime that was picked off.

    "Got to throw it further,'' Jackson said. "Got to throw it out there. Got to throw it out there further. Got to give him a chance to get the ball.

    He connected with Josh Gordon on only one of three targets, for a 17-yard TD pass with 1:58 left in regulation that tied it at 21, and with Jarvis Landry for only seven of 15 targets for 106 yards.

    "Not good enough,'' said Jackson. "What I'm also saying in there is that it's not all him. Sometimes guys got to be in the right spot. Protection has to hold up for him. All of those things in a passing game make a difference. Does he have to do his job better? Yes. I think everyone around him has to do their job better, too."

    Asked what he must do this week to win, he said, "Complete the ball. Absolutely. Complete the ball. We did not play very well yesterday let's just be honest.''

    As for giving Taylor a good, long look before even considering playing No. 1 overall pick Baker Mayfield, Jackson said, "I don't know if it's a good look. I mean we're trying to win. His job is to get the offense to play the best that it can play, but it takes more than just him.

    "I know the sentiment I'm getting here is that it's him. It's not. It's the offensive unit as a whole. Got to play better.''

    Taylor has a rocky Browns debut

    Jackson said that the hard shot Taylor took in the first quarter from T.J. Watt (game-high four sacks) had nothing to do with his several underthrown balls.  Watt was flagged for roughing, and Taylor came up tending to his shoulder.

    "No. He just missed some throws,'' said Jackson. "No, it did not (bother him). He underthrew some balls. He has to do his job better."

    Taylor, who took all the first-team reps in camp to be ready for the Steelers, played with some of his supporting cast for the first time, including Gordon and left tackle Desmond Harrison.  Harrison struggled in the first half, including two false start penalties, but stiffened in the second half.

    "It's the first game that everybody's in there together,'' said Jackson. "But we're not going to make excuses. I don't want to get caught up in all of that.  I want us to get better here this next week, and go to this game (against the Saints) and play much better than we played this past week. That's the goal. And obviously he plays a part in that, but so does everybody else.''

    He admitted he was surprised "we struggled on offense, period. And struggled with certain things on defense too, and special teams. I just think, again it was the opening day game against a very quality opponent, and they were not going to come in here and have us look perfect.''

    Jackson attributed some of Taylor's woes to good coverage.

    "I'm not going to say he was hesitant,'' Jackson said. "I didn't think we had a lot of people open at times and he had to hold the ball.''

    He attributed the seven sacks to breakdowns across the board, but "we've got to make sure we keep our quarterback clean. He took one shot that was really, really tough, and he got up and kept going. We were not in a rhythm obviously throwing the football early.''

    There were other problems moving the ball. Gordon was double-teamed at times and not open. David Njoku bobbled and dropped a pass, and rookie Antonio Callaway needs more time to come up the learning curve. He played only 17 percent of the snaps and was targeted once with no catches.

    "I'm sure that a lot of young guys had some jitters,'' Jackson said. "I didn't detect that, didn't feel that. Sometimes the game is going fast. It's happening now. It is real. Guys got to be able to make those plays in those moments. I'm sure that he will. He is going to contribute to this football team winning this year."

    He expects Taylor to do the same.


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    The Indians, as expected, activated left-hander Andrew Miller on Monday. Manager Terry Francona also announced that Josh Donaldson will be activated on Tuesday and start at third base against the Rays.

    ST. PETERSBURG -- It was left-hander Andrew Miller's turn Monday to come off the disabled list and join the Indians stretch drive.

    On Tuesday it will be Josh Donaldson's turn.

    There was no surprise about Miller's activation. The Indians confirmed it Sunday in Toronto before they completed a four-game series against the Blue Jays.

    But there was a bit of mystery about Donaldson. Yes, he was joining the Indians at Tropicana Field, but no one would say exactly when the three-time All-Star would be activated. After all, he hasn't played in a big league game since May 28 because of strained left calf.

    "We'll activate Josh on Tuesday and start him at third base," said manager Terry Francona before Monday night's game. "Jose Ramirez will move to second base and Jason Kipnis will go to center field."

    The Indians acquired Donaldson on Aug. 30 from Toronto. They put him on the disabled list right after the deal and sent him on a rehab because of the calf injury. He played four games, one with Class AAA Columbus and three with Class AA Akron, and went 3-for-12 with two homers.

    "I feel great physically," said Donaldson, before going out to take batting practice with his new team. "I feel really good. I passed everything I wanted to accomplish and they wanted me to accomplish."

    As for what he needed to prove to himself in his four-game rehab assignment, Donaldson said, "I wanted to go out there and go back to back and see how well I was recovering after games. Being able to sprint without something happening. So far everything has went really well."

    The Indians, who entered Monday's game with a magic number of five, have 19 regular season games left to play. Will it be enough to get Miller and Donaldson close to peak form for the postseason?

    Regarding Miller, Francona said, "He's raring to go. So that's exciting. He doesn't have a minor league game under his belt. He might not command, I hope he does, but if he doesn't we've got 19 games. As much as he feels he wants to pitch - almost - he's going to. We're excited about that."

    Miller, who has made three trips to the disabled list this season, has made only 27 appearances.

    After Donaldson makes his Tribe debut on Tuesday night, he'll be available off the bench on Wednesday.

    "We've got Thursday off and he'll play Friday," said Francona. "I'll probably just check with him every day. I told him when we get some of these longer games I'll probably take him out early. We want to watch his volume early on. But he promised he'd communicate with me too. We'll check with him every day."

    Asked what his expectations are for the next 19 games, Donaldson said, "My expectations are to go out there and help this team win. Whether it's offensively, defensively, whatever it may be. I feel like I'm in a good position right now. Anytime my body is able to do the things I want it to do, I'm going to have success. If I have success, this team will have success."


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    Brad Hand had two outs in the ninth, but couldn't close the game as Ji-Man Choi hit a two-run homer to give the Rays a 6-5 walk-off win.

    ST. PETERSBURG, Florida -- The Rays have put together an impressive season by their liberal use of pitchers. They'll often start a reliever, called an "opener," and then bring in a starter after the opener has gone one or two innings at max effort.

    The Indians, unintentionally, used that formula Monday and it almost worked. . . almost.

    Brad Hand, the seventh Indians reliever to pitch Monday night, had two out in the ninth and a 5-4 lead before allowing a two-run walk-off homer to Ji-Man Choi at Tropicana Field as the Rays beat the Indians, 6-5. It was the 11th walk-off loss the Indians have suffered this season, second most in the big leagues.

    Corey Kluber started for the Indians, but lasted just 1 2/3 innings. It was his shortest start since he went 1 2/3 innings against the Cardinals on June 26. Manager Terry Francona had no choice but to go to the bullpen, and until the ninth inning the relievers did the job.

    Tyler Olsen (four strikeouts), Oliver Perez (three strikeouts), Dan Otero (one strikeout), Andrew Miller (two strikeouts), Neil Ramirez (one strikeout) and Cody Allen combined to throw 6 1/3 scoreless innings before Hand started the ninth for the save.

    Hand was 8-for-8 in save situations with the Indians before Choi burned him. They acquired him on July 19 from San Diego.

    "Oh my goodness," said Francona when asked about the pen. "You start with Olson. Olson came in in a tough spot and pitched great, and everybody followed along. I mean, that's a lot to ask. And if somebody has a hiccup, you lose.

    "Man, I thought Brad, he made a really good pitch the pitch before and didn't get the call. And then he didn't get the fastball where he wanted it."

    Olson relieved Kluber in the second inning with two out and the bases loaded. He struck out C.J. Cron, a right-handed hitter, to end the inning.

    Jose Ramirez gave the Indians a 5-4 lead with his feet in the seventh inning. On Sunday he became just the third Indians player to produce a 30-30 season -- 30 homers and 30 stolen bases. Ramirez's historic stolen base came in the first inning.

    Monday night, he went to work in the seventh with the score tied, 4-4. Ramirez was hit by a pitch to start the inning. He stole second with Edwin Encarnacion at the plate and stole third with Yonder Alonso batting.

    The Rays pulled the infield in as Alonso sent a chopper to second baseman Brandon Lowe. He made a nice spinning stop on the ball, but his throw home was late as Ramirez slid across the plate headfirst for a 5-4 lead.

    In Saturday's 9-8 win over the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre, Ramirez scored the winning run from third on a wild pitch that barely got past catcher Danny Jansen. Ramirez's two steals on Monday gave him an American League-leading 32.

    "I wasn't going on contact," said Ramirez, through interpreter Will Clements. "But when I saw the way that he fielded it, I knew he wouldn't be able to make a good throw (so) I went for home."

    Kluber allowed four runs on five hits. He struck out four, walked one and threw just 56 percent of his pitches for strikes.

    Miller, who was activated before the game, looked good in his return. He retired the Rays in order in the sixth, striking out the last two batters he faced.

    The Indians took a 1-0 lead in the first on Encarnacion's single. The Rays, who have won 12 straight games at home, scored four in the second against Kluber for a 4-1 lead. A two-run homer by Jake Bauers was the big hit of the innings.

    Francona said there was nothing wrong with Kluber, but when he got over 50 pitches it was time to go to the bullpen.

    "I wasn't able to get that last out," said Kluber. "I got ahead of Bauers. He did a good job of battling to get back in the count. 3-2, I was trying to be aggressive and not walk him, but I caught too much of the plate. . .From that point on, they had a couple soft base hits and a walk. I just wasn't able to get that last out.

    The Indians slowly worked their way back into the game. Ramirez doubled home a run in the in the fifth to make it 4-2. Brandon Guyer tied it in the sixth with a two-run, pinch-hit double.

    What it means

    The Indians, despite the loss, saw their magic number drop to four as the Yankees beat the Twins. The Indians could clinch the AL Central at Tropicana Field if they can beat the Rays in the next two games, while the Yankees beat the Twins in two straight.

    The pitches

    Kluber threw 55 pitches, 31 (56 percent) for strikes. Castillo threw 33 pitches, 20 (61 percent) for strikes.

    Thanks for coming

    The Indians and Rays drew 12,724 fans to Tropicana Field on Monday night. First pitch was at 7:10 p.m. with a temperature of 72 degrees inside and 85 degrees outside.

    Next

    Indians rookie Shane Bieber (9-3, 4.63) will face the Rays and Tyler Glasnow (1-5, 4.64) on Tuesday at 7:10 p.m. SportsTime Ohio, WTAM and WMMS will carry the game.

    Bieber is coming off a win against Toronto in his last start. On Septl 1, he lost to Blake Snell and the Rays at Progessive Field. Glasnow lost against the Indians on Aug. 31 despite allowing one run on two hits in seven innings.


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    Cleveland's magic number to clinch the A.L. Central Division is 4.

    CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Ji-Man Choi's two-run walk-off home run handed Cleveland its second straight loss on Monday, but the Indians' magic number to clinch a third straight American League Central Division title dropped to 4 as the New York Yankees downed Minnesota, 7-2.

    The Yankees scored six times in the top of the seventh, including RBI doubles by Miguel Andujar, Giancarlo Stanton and Didi Gregorius. The Twins have lost seven of their last 10 games.

    Cleveland's lead over the Twins in the A.L Central is at 15 1/2 games with 18 games to play.

    Any combination of Indians wins or losses by the second-place Twins that is greater than or equal to 4 will clinch a third consecutive division title and postseason appearance for Cleveland.

    The Indians (81-63) continue their series against the Rays on Tuesday at 7:10 as Shane Bieber faces Tyler Glasnow. Minnesota continues its series at home against the Yankees at 8:10 p.m.

    You can calculate the first-place Tribe's magic number by starting with 162 (games in a season) and adding one, then subtracting the number of Indians wins and subtracting the number of losses by the second-place team.


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    A plea to Ryan Day to use the Buckeyes backup quarterback in the fifth series again Saturday for the third straight game. Watch video

    COLUMBUS, Ohio -- If we keep this up, we can rename this segment Buckeye Tate instead of Buckeye Take.

    Last week, I wrote how Ohio State's package with backup quarterback Tate Martell should stay in the offense. Monday, Bill Landis wrote about the best ways for the Buckeyes to use Martell after his breakout Saturday against Rutgers.

    Anyway, we write about Martell a lot because we think he's interesting and you can't get enough of him.

    But there's a reason I wanted to ask about and write about Martell again. We're going to get a much better read on Martell on Saturday than we have so far. We'll know what the Buckeyes really think of him, if he's a bonus extra to be played at the end of the movie, or he's actually part of a pivotal scene.

    Martell has played the fifth series in both of the first two games, entering with a 28-7 lead against Oregon State and a 21-0 lead against Rutgers.

    Some think that's just because the Buckeyes were up big and could mess around a bit with a backup QB they want to keep happy and keep in Columbus. I think Martell keeps opposing defenses guessing, offers the coaches a chance to run the zone-read part of the offense they like so much ... and it makes Martell happy.

    Dwayne Haskins has been tremendous. But a series of Martell, with Haskins on the bench, still makes the Buckeyes better, just by giving the defense a handful of plays of something different.

    This baseball analogy has been used plenty of times, but Haskins throws heat, and you could leave him in the game and his fastball would blow people away. But if you can give an inning to a crafty little reliever with a nasty slider, and then bring Haskins and his fastball back again, his fastball looks even faster.

    Those of you arguing with me on Twitter, I ratted you out Monday, explaining to acting coach Ryan Day my social medias beefs over Martell's role.

    "You shouldn't be getting into Twitter fights," Day said.

    True. It's also true that Day should put Martell on the field for the fifth series against No. 15 TCU on Saturday.

    Is the fifth series the Tate series?

    "No," Day said. "It's kind of based on, again, what we are seeing in the flow of the game."

    I'll have to tweet at him.

    Buckeye Take is a quick 300- to 400-word column on a single aspect of Ohio State football. We're trying to replicate in written form the feel of our Buckeye Talk Podcast, where we drop a multitude of opinions every week. We know not all of you listen to the pod (though you should), and we don't want you to miss out on what we're thinking about the Buckeyes. 

    CATCH OUR POSTGAME BUCKEYE TALK FROM OHIO STATE'S WIN OVER RUTGERS

     


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    Hue Jackson said he was surprised by the Browns problems on offense. The coach should have known better. Watch video

    CLEVELAND, Ohio --Scribbles in my Browns notebook while looking back at the 21-21 tie with Pittsburgh:

    1. One of the most surprising things about Hue Jackson's press conference was the coach saying he was "surprised" about the struggles of his offense. Really? He couldn't see that coming? The offensive line didn't play a single preseason snap together. Quarterback Tyrod Taylor played zero snaps with Josh Gordon, who missed all the preseason games.

    2. On a windy, rain-soaked day against the Pittsburgh Steelers with Todd Haley calling plays for the first time in the regular season, the offense was destined for problems. These guys don't know each other in terms of how they perform on the field.

    3. Jackson said rookie Desmond Harrison "is the left tackle." That's wise. He went from D-2 West Georgia to starting in the NFL. He missed part of training camp with an injury. This was his first game with the starting offensive line. Last thing the Browns need is more change with that unit.

    4. Taylor was sacked seven times. He probably caused three of them by either holding the ball too long, or running out of the pocket. But he also was under a lot of pressure at times. The offensive line had communication and assignment problems because they have not played together. This stuff is basic. It's partly a product of waiting until a week before the opener to settle on Harrison at left tackle.

    5. Glad Jackson backed off his claim about the Steelers being off-sides on the blocked field goal late in the overtime period. The coach now says the Browns needed to block better. He also thought the kick was low. That's what I saw on the replay.

    6. Just like the first string offense struggled most of the preseason, the special teams often were a mess. Guess what happened in the game? The special teams were a mess. They had three penalties. They missed a possible game-winning field goal. Return coverage was shaky. I'm sure you can find other issues.

    7. I feel as if the Browns stopped taking special teams seriously from the day they decided not to re-sign Phil Dawson before the 2013 season. The idea was not over-paying for a kicker. They have been through five kickers since then, some better than others. The 43-year-old Dawson is with Arizona. I'd have loved to see him on that final kick Sunday.

    8. You need a couple of key veterans on special teams. John Dorsey consistently had top 10 special teams when general manager of the Chiefs, according to Football Outsiders. In the last two years, the Browns ranked 27th and 26th. It looks like another dismal year unless some personnel changes are made.

    9. How hard is it for Jackson and Haley to be on the same page about not starting Josh Gordon? I tend to support Haley on most matters of wanting freedom for play calling, etc. But the offensive coordinator has to respect the word of the head coach when the head coach says not to start a player. For weeks, Jackson said publicly Gordon would not start -- but he'd play.

    10. Gordon played 69 of a possible 89 snaps. He was targeted only three times by Taylor, his lone catch being the 17-yarder for a TD. Among receivers, only Jarvis Landry (81 snaps) played more. Landry caught seven passes, and a few were superb plays on his part.

    11. Rashard Higgins was on the field for 53 snaps. He caught only one pass -- a 38-yarder. In general, the Browns had problems working their receivers into the offense -- at least those not named Jarvis Landry. Antonio Callaway played only 15 snaps and didn't catch a pass. So the Browns receivers (other than Landry) had two  receptions.

    12. It was a tough day for Taylor, who was 15-of-40 passing (37 percent). Much of this goes back to the lack of continuity on offense.

    13. Defense was the opposite story. Gregg Williams is in his second season as coordinator. His starting defense didn't allow a TD in the preseason. He had his guys prepared and seven starters returned from a year ago. They weren't perfect, but they harassed Pittsburgh and Ben Roethlisberger into six turnovers. 

    14. From Profootball focus on Browns rookie defensive back Denzel Ward: "He was targeted 10 times by Ben Roethlisberger, allowing just six receptions for 50 yards -- only 16 after the catch."  Ward gave up a TD pass from Roethlisberger to Antonio Brown. That was a great throw and catch over good coverage by Ward. Overall, Ward had an impressive debut with two interceptions and several strong tackles.

    15. Ward played all 84 snaps for the defense, as did Joe Schobert and Myles Garrett. I would not play Garrett every single snap. Get him some rest, keep him going 100 percent. Emmanuel Ogbah injured his ankle, so the Browns were down a defensive end. But I still want a little time off for Garrett.


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