Behind Enemy Lines

The Browns head into the Bears game feeling good about the way they've played, but bad about their 1-2 record.

The approach comes from their coach. Romeo Crennel was a Bill Parcells guy, and Parcells always defined his team by its won-lost record.

Crennel is the same way. He's pleased his team competed against Indianapolis, but to him it was just a loss.

"Until we win more than we lose, we're going to be losers," Crennel said.

While fans in Cleveland certainly will view the game with the Bears as an opportunity to move to .500, the Browns are not taking the matchup lightly.

"It's about us players going out and making it happen," wide receiver Dennis Northcutt said. "You can be in all the right directions you want, but as players, if we don't go out and do the right things then ... "

Baby Steps
The Bears aren't the only team impacted by their No. 1 pick missing time in training camp.

Braylon Edwards has to do more than score one touchdown to unseat veteran Dennis Northcutt as a starting receiver. Edwards sprinted 72 yards for a touchdown against the Packers Sept. 18. He followed that up with four catches for 43 yards against the Colts, but hurt his team with a taunting penalty. Edwards remains the third receiver behind Northcutt and Antonio Bryant and is behind in his development because he missed two weeks of training camp in a contract holdout.

"He's still learning," Crennel said. "If he keeps making plays, then he might move up a little bit faster, but there are a couple of guys who have been here who are working really well. I think that the combination of all of them will be tough to defend.

"You see that if we have a weapon, we'll use it. Where they are on the depth chart doesn't necessarily matter because if a guy can help us, we're going to put him in the game and play him."

After three games Bryant has 15 catches, Edwards nine and Northcutt eight.

It Starts Upfront
GM Phil Savage's first off-season move was to target the interior of the offensive line.

To improve things, he brought in new guards Joe Andruzzi and Cosey Coleman. Savage figured that better guards would help center Jeff Faine.

When Ross Verba went off the deep end in his personal life, the team released him and signed L.J. Shelton.

Through three games, the moves have paid off. The team's offensive line won't remind anyone of the Redskins' famed Hogs of the past, but they are competent and professional - and playing better than any Browns line has in years.

With solid blocking, Reuben Droughns is on pace to become the Browns' first 1,000-yard rusher since Kevin Mack and Earnest Byner did it in 1985. Droughns has rushed for 204 yards in three games. At his current pace he'll finish with 1,088 yards.

PLAYER NOTES

  • QB Trent Dilfer was given the bye week to rest a bit, but the Browns say it had nothing to do with his being hit in the knee in the loss to the Colts. Dilfer was limping as that game wound down.

  • RB Lee Suggs should be back to full speed when the Browns play Chicago, and Savage thinks that will help the team's running game. He said Suggs' presence will make Reuben Droughns a better player, and vice versa.

  • DE Orpheus Roye was given time off in the bye week to rest as well. Roye has played a very high level in the 3-4 system. After three games, his 20 tackles lead all NFL defensive linemen.

  • S Brian Russell has been a pleasant addition. To Savage, Russell has provided direction with his intelligence and ability to make calls from the back end of the defense.

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