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Julian Edelman has nothing but respect for Browns: They are ‘a good team’

12.06.13 at 6:25 pm ET
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Julian Edelman is having a career-best season for the Patriots. (AP)

Julian Edelman is having a career-best season for the Patriots. (AP)

FOXBORO — It’s been the common theme this week at Gillette Stadium. Sure, the Cleveland Browns are 4-8 but they are a “good” 4-8 with a defense that ranks fifth overall in the NFL in yards allowed.

The Browns have no playoff potential but only the hope of playing the role of spoiler for teams with much bigger aspirations. Well, the 9-3 Patriots are fully aware of this, including receiver/returner Julian Edelman. He doesn’t look at the record but rather the talent on the roster, a roster that includes former first-round draft pick and shutdown cornerback Joe Haden. The cornerback was selected seventh overall in the 2010 draft out of Florida.

Haden has four interceptions this season, including two in one game against Andy Dalton and the Bengals on Nov. 17.

“Joe Haden has all the tangibles,” Edelman said Friday. “He’s fast, he can jump, he gets in and out of breaks well. He was drafted high for a reason. Joe Haden is a really good football player. If you don’t use your techniques, he’ll exploit you. We’re going to have to get ready for those kind of match-ups.”

But that game on Nov. 17 in Cincinnati is a classic example of what’s gone horribly wrong for the Browns this season. They jumped out 13-0 and could’ve easily been ahead, 21-0. They held Cincinnati to 1-for-14 on third down and out-gained them, 330-224. But they were intercepted three times and had two punts blocked and lost, 41-20.

“The Browns are a good team,” Edelman said. “They’ve been in a lot of close games that just haven’t gone their way, much like last week. Their defense has been playing real well. They have some cornerbacks that are really athletic, that are playing their scheme very well. They have a D-line that can stuff the run. It’s just sometimes things aren’t going your way when it’s close. And that’s kind of what they’ve been in and they’re a very tough team. If we don’t execute the way we have to, they can come in here and beat us up.

“Situations like third down, red area and ball security and all that kind of stuff are all very huge when it comes to tough opponents like this, stout defenses and defenses that live and die on that. We have to go out and prepare for those situations and execute them to the fullest of our abilities on Sunday.”

If the Patriots do that, they’re likely to come out on top and win, which could give them the AFC East if the Dolphins lose at Pittsburgh. The Patriots clinch a playoff spot with a win and a Baltimore loss or tie.

“If that happens, that happens,” Edelman said. “All we can do is control what we have to do and that’s go out and playing against the Cleveland Browns and worry about doing what we have to do to beat them. Everything else will come if it does, and if it doesn’t, it doesn’t. If we can control going out focusing on them, that’s what we can control.”

Read More: Cleveland Browns, Joe Haden, Julian Edelman, New England Patriots Print  |  Bark It Up!  |  Digg It
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