Secondary Concern

Injuries in the defensive backfield could force the Browns to scheme differently on Sunday when the Seattle Seahawks come to town.

BEREA, Ohio—With three members of the secondary banged up, the versatility will be tested.

Joe Haden is trying to recover from a sprained knee, while Buster Skrine left practice Wednesday with a hip injury. Ray Ventrone injured a hamstring against the Raiders. Haden and Ventrone were listed as doubtful on Wednesday.

Pat Shurmur termed Haden as ‘day –to- day' and Skrine is questionable.

"(Haden) ran (Wednesday)," he said. "At this time of the year, all guys at positions are less than 100 percent. If he's out there, he'd be ready to go."

Skrine is practicing on a limited basis, but if he can't go defensive coordinator Dick Jauron said it would not be optimal.

"That wouldn't be the best scenario for us," Jauron said. "Buster is a young player and he really battles. He never gives you the feeling that he's over matched. He'll line up against anybody and wish they'll all be on the field."

Shurmur was still optimistic about Haden and Skrine.

"At this point, my feelings are they will both be there, but we have contingency plans with that."

Haden spoke on Wednesday and is hopeful.

"(Tuesday) was the first day I did a little bit of jogging," Haden said. "Hopefully, I'll come in (Thursday) and do a little bit more and just see what it's at."

Haden was asked about the chances of him playing.

"It's still up in the air," Haden said. "It's getting better every day so we don't really know right now. I am just going to keep coming in and getting treatment and hopefully, it will be ready."

Against the Raiders, Dimitri Patterson played in place of Haden and the Raiders threw his way frequently.

"The completions underneath were mine," Jauron said. "They had enough speed to go deep and we wanted to make them earn it."

Jauron said that Haden is hard to replace with the way he was playing.

"Joe's level of play was so high no matter who goes out there it's not going to be the same," Jauron said. "We tried to compensate and our guys did a good job."

If neither Haden or Skrine can play cornerback, rookie James Dockery or Mike Adams would have to step in and help out.

"Mike can plug into a number of spots and be very helpful," Jauron said. "You'd like to keep him at safety that's his number one spot, but the fact that he can play those other spots has allowed him to stay in the league a long time."

Seahawks' coach Pete Carroll said that he might not name his starting quarterback until before the game, whether it's Tavaris Jackson (pectoral) or Charlie Whitehurt.

"We don't feel like it's going to be a problem," Shurmur said. "We know what both quarterbacks do and we prepare for each of them. Tavaris Jackson is more of an elusive runner when he breaks the pocket."

Jauron said the Browns are preparing for whoever plays quarterback.

"I think in this case they both look good in this offense. I think they have a good quarterback, whoever they decide to play."

Jauron said the bigger problem is adjusting to the no-huddle that the Seahawks have employed effectively in their last two games.

"The last six quarters in the no huddle they've been very productive and we expect to see that," he said. "We have to communicate quickly."

He did say there's an advantage.

"At least you know who's out there (personnel-wise)," he said. "It makes you go fast and stay up with them. Because you don't see it often, you have to get used to it."

Notebook

Fujita, Hillis Still Out: LB Scott Fujita missed Thursday's practice with concussion symptoms. OL Artis Hicks (back), DB Ray Ventrone (hamstring) and RB Peyton Hillis (hamstring) were other players dealing with injuries.

"Fujita's improving, but we did send him home with symptoms related to the concussion," Shurmur said.

If Fujita can't play, LB Kaluka Maiva will step in.

"Hopefully, (Fujita) will be back soon," Jauron said. "He's very smart and he gives us a lot of help as a coaching staff. He's very aware of what needs to be done"

Jauron said he's confident in Maiava.

"He did a very good job when he went in," he said. "He did a very good job stopping the lead blocker and giving us a chance to make the stop on fourth down.

"He fits in well with us and will do a good job."

Hillis did not run Wednesday, but is going to do some running in the pool Thursday.

"None of these guys I'm going to rule out yet," Shurmur said.

Big Deal: The Browns defense ranks seventh in the NFL so far, but Jauron doesn't think it means a lot.

"I don't think it means a whole lot," he said. "It does have meaning. The guys have worked really hard and they've done a nice job but it's early in the season. We just want to keep grinding."

Smith Back: RB Armond Smith was re-signed to the practice squad after the Browns signed RB Chris Ogbonnaya to the active roster. Smith was on the active roster the first five games. To make room for Smith, the Browns released RB Xavier Omon from the practice squad.

Big Shadow: Browns President Mike Holmgren casts a big shadow, but Shurmur sees him as a resource, not as a threat.

"If you're a guy that is looking over your shoulder that might be an issue," Shurmur said. "If you're not insightful enough to use a guy that's been there done that, but that's not my situation."

Shurmur said his relationship with Holmgren is great.

"Our relationship is the same it's been since day one," he said. "There are times we talk about football and other times we talk about other situations and how he handled it.

"After a victory, after a loss, I talk to coach Holmgren and that's what I see him as and I think that's what he sees himself as," he said. "I talk to him about a lot of things he's a guy who's been there done that."


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