BEREA, Ohio -- Joe Haden gave an "Oh, boy" look when asked how he feels after practicing all week with bruised ribs.
"Just trying to fight through it," he said, adding that it brought back memories of the 2014 season finale when he played in Baltimore with the flu and a shoulder injury that did not allow him to lift his arm above his shoulder. "You gotta do what you gotta do, man, when you're trying to get the defense right. I feel like I gotta be out there."
Haden is one of three key secondary players for the Cleveland Browns who are either slowed by an injury or out. Haden is listed as probable due to issues with his ribs and finger. Free safety Tashaun Gipson has a groin pull and is questionable, and nickelback K'Waun Williams is out with a concussion.
The San Diego Chargers, Cleveland's opponent Sunday, have offensive line issues, with three starters perhaps missing the game. But the Browns' ailing secondary could negate any advantage Cleveland may gain -- especially when playing Philip Rivers and the Chargers' trio of talented receivers in Keenan Allen, Stevie Johnson and Malcom Floyd.
"We gotta just go," Haden said. "We gotta go. No excuses. We're going to be out there. We're out there, so we gotta be able to make plays. We gotta be able to play to the top caliber that we put ourselves to."
The Browns may get wide receiver Dwayne Bowe on the field as well. Bowe has been slowed by a hamstring pull that happened in training camp. In three games, he has been on the field for eight plays and has zero receptions.
"Once I hit the field running, you guys will love it," Bowe said.
Haden heard the chatter about the Browns following their loss to the Oakland Raiders. He called talk that safety Donte Whitner has slowed "ridiculous." And he lamented the extreme reactions to the Browns' wins and losses.
"We don't need anybody else to help motivate us," Haden said. "When we don't play well, we understand we don't play well. We understand that we can play better, we can do our job a lot better, so when we come in next week, it's not about what everybody else thinks. It's about what standard we hold ourselves to.
"We hold ourselves to a very high standard."