BEREA: Cornerback Joe Haden could only watch the action on TV when the Browns suffered a hard-fought, 23-16 loss to the Baltimore Ravens in Week 4.
Haden was serving the third game of his four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs when Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco torched the Browns for 356 passing yards and a touchdown. Torrey Smith had six catches for 97 yards and a touchdown, and Anquan Boldin had nine receptions for 131 yards.
“I wished I was out there,” Haden said. “My dudes, they were fighting, playing hard. At the end of the day, we still could’ve won that game. So just knowing that when I’m out there, just to make a couple more plays [could be the difference]. Like we always say, we end up losing by such a little margin, that if two or three plays swing our way, it’s a whole different ballgame.”
Haden will get a chance to earn some redemption Sunday, when the Browns (2-6) host the Ravens (5-2).
Although Haden often covers the opponent’s best receiver, he doesn’t plan on following Smith or Boldin.
However, he does expect to cover Smith quite a bit because he plays on the outside.
Boldin often plays in the slot, so Haden doesn’t believe he’ll be matched up against him nearly as much.
“He’s a real good challenge,” Haden said of Smith, who has 25 catches for 435 yards and four touchdowns this season. “He’s definitely a deep threat. He’s a really good receiver, has really good hands and Flacco can throw it however far he can run.
‘‘It’s going to be really challenging. We’ve just got to make sure we stay on top of him. As long as we limit the big plays, we’ll be OK.”
Since Haden returned from his ban in Week 6, the Browns have won two of their past three games.
They lost all four games without him, and Haden acknowledged he shares a popular belief that his suspension cost the Browns at least one win.
“I think that when I’m out there, I make a difference,” Haden said. “So somehow, some way, [the record] would have been different.”
Ready to return?
Wide receiver Mohamed Massaquoi appears to be on the verge of playing for the first time since Sept. 23, when he suffered a hamstring injury against the Buffalo Bills. Massaquoi has missed five consecutive games.
“It’s kind of a building thing,” offensive coordinator Brad Childress said. “We’ll just see if he’s ready for prime time here by the end of the week.”
Massaquoi practiced Wednesday and Thursday. They were the first practices in which he’s fully participated since he was hurt.
“He looked good,” coach Pat Shurmur said. “He was out there start to finish, did a good job.”
Massaquoi started each of the first three games and had nine catches for 145 yards. If Massaquoi can return without experiencing any setbacks, Shurmur must figure out how to work him into a receiver rotation featuring Josh Gordon, Greg Little, Josh Cooper, Travis Benjamin and Josh Cribbs.
“I did think that Mo got off to a good start this season, and then, of course, the injury set him back,” Shurmur said. “It’s a good thing if you’ve gotta make guys inactive or have healthy scratches, so we’ll decide here as we go.”
The Browns had 63 snaps on offense Sunday in their 7-6 win over the San Diego Chargers. Gordon played 59 snaps, Little 58, Cooper 14, Cribbs six and Benjamin four.
Rookie running back Trent Richardson received the loudest ovation of the night when he and rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden attended the Cavaliers’ regular-season opener and sat courtside Tuesday at Quicken Loans Arena.
“They put Brandon on camera first, and I was like, ‘Oh man, this man is going to outshine me and it’s going to be funny because they’re going to look at me and they won’t know who I am,’ ” Richardson said. “But they put the camera on me, and everybody was clapping and stuff like that. I was just really surprised.”
Cornerback Dimitri Patterson (ankle), defensive tackle Ahtyba Rubin (calf) and defensive end Brian Sanford (knee) did not practice Thursday.
Defensive end Juqua Parker (knee) was added to the list of limited players. Defensive tackle John Hughes (arm) fully participated after being limited Wednesday.
For the Ravens, three-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Haloti Ngata (shoulder) didn’t practice. He was limited Wednesday.
Bryan Wiedmeier, the Browns’ executive vice president of business operations, visited the team’s headquarters Thursday. Wiedmeier underwent emergency surgery Oct. 26 to have a brain tumor removed. … The Browns made no moves before the NFL trade deadline passed at 4 p.m. Thursday. … When Childress was told that Cribbs has a habit of publicly asking for the ball more, he quipped, “Privately, too. … All in all, he’s a team guy.”
Nate Ulrich can be reached at email@example.com. Read the Browns blog at http://www.ohio.com/browns. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/NateUlrichABJ and on Facebook www.facebook.com.browns.abj.