|Cornerback Sheldon Brown is making a strong case to be re-signed by the Browns. (US Presswire)|
Brown blanketed every assignment from beginning to end and intercepted a Palmer pass to kill what could have been a go-ahead touchdown drive. Brown's play was as critical as any in the 20-17 victory.
"They definitely didn't go after [Haden] much," defensive coordinator Dick Jauron said. "Joe is playing well. Clearly, if they were going to go away from him then they are going to go at Sheldon and they'll probably think that one over. That didn't work out so good."
The Browns will probably have to consider bringing Brown back next year. The 11-year veteran is playing out the third year of his three-year contract and is headed for free agency. It can be argued that he is playing better now than he did in his first two seasons with the team. He said he would like to return to Cleveland or play for a staff that is familiar with his talents.
"If they said to me you can't play anymore, I'd say, 'cool,'" Brown said. "But I want to make it tough for them to make that [determination]. I still believe I can play this game. [They say] I've been too old for the last five years."
Brown is not one to brag. He offers that the praise he is receiving for his performance against the Raiders was merely the result of a greater number of opportunities to make plays. But he defends himself strongly against criticism that he no longer boasts the speed to cover faster receivers.
He claims he can still beat most of the team's defensive backs in a 40-yard dash. But he adds that flat-out speed means little at his position compared to the ability to change direction quickly.
"A lot of track guys can run fast, but they can't play football," he said. "Speed is overrated."
Jauron agrees, particularly in regard to Brown.
"He clearly understands the game," he said. "He knows how to play the game. That was a terrific game [against Oakland]. He's getting his hands on the ball so many times in the course of that game. That was really rare."
Charles in charge?: The focus of the Browns defense Sunday will be containing explosive Chiefs back Jamaal Charles. Jauron hesitated when asked if Charles is like any other back the Browns have faced this season before coming up with Ravens superback Ray Rice -- sort of.
"[Charles] is different," he said. "He's got that great speed down the field. He's a very good zone runner. It doesn't mean he doesn't run the scheme plays well also, the other plays like the the counters and the toss cracks. He does those very well too. He's different and somewhat similar to Ray Rice. Both of them are very good readers of the defensive scheme and where the holes are. They get there very quickly, get in and out of the hole quickly and down the field."
The Browns run defense was great against Dallas and Pittsburgh, but it yielded five yards a carry in the win at Oakland despite the absence of Raiders top back Darren McFadden. The unit must tighten up against the Chiefs to keep Charles from controlling the game's tempo.
Hardesty hard on defenses: Third-year running back Montario Hardesty finally is healthy after being limited his first two years by injury. And it shows.
Hardesty is bolting through holes with consistency and showing a burst not seen previously. He is averaging 4.5 yards per carry, nearly a yard higher than that of featured back Trent Richardson (3.6).
"I've got that burst of quickness to get through holes and I'm making people miss," Hardesty said. "That has always been my game."
Hardesty is receiving a limited number of reps, but his opportunities have increased. He rushed for 39 yards on five carries against Oakland.
Same coverages against Gordon: Rookie wide receiver Josh Gordon said he has not detected adjustments made by opposing secondaries in reaction to his success. And that's fine with him.
Gordon has started to consistently beat corners for long gains. His 44-yard touchdown strike from quarterback Brandon Weeden on Sunday gave the Browns a 10-0 lead. He finished the game with six catches for 116 yards, both career highs.
"When they line up like that close up to me, I just gotta pump it as hard as I can and get past them," he said. "I really haven't see any [adjustments]. They're not creating any schemes for me; at least it doesn't look like it. We have so many weapons on offense that it wouldn't make any sense for defense to scheme against any one of us."
Stay dialed in on the Cleveland Browns on Twitter at @CBSBrowns throughout the season with on-site updates from CBSSports.com RapidReports correspondent Marty Gitlin.