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WMMS is the team's flagship station. They seem to still be carrying a free live feed right here. The Browns carry a live NFL feed, and are following the NFL's dictate that fans are charged for Internet radio access to game.
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Out: CB Joseph Jefferson (pelvis); CB Donald Strickland (groin).
Doubtful: RB James Mungro (ribs), WR Brandon Stokley (hamstring). Questionable: RB Dominic Rhodes (knee).
Probable: S Idrees Bashir (knee); S Cory Bird (shoulder); DE Chad Bratzke (foot); DE Raheem Brock (neck); TE Dallas Clark (thigh); CB Nicholas Harper (knee); CB Walt Harris (knee); QB Brock Huard (hand); DE Robert Mathis (knee); T Adam Meadows (foot); LB Rob Morris (knee); LB Jim Nelson (hand); DT Montae Reagor (back); DT Brad Scioli (shoulder); G Steve Sciullo (shoulder); RB Detron Smith (hamstring).
Probable: CB Michael Lehan (calf); CB Lewis Sanders (hamstring).
Art's Game Preview
Line: Browns by 1
Both of these teams were in the AFC playoffs last year, and both had an embarrassing end to their seasons. The Colts were ripped apart 41-0 by the Jets, while the Browns allowed the rival Steelers to come back to beat them 36-33, despite an incredible day passing by Kelly Holcomb.
Late last season, the Colts came back to beat the Browns 28-23 at Cleveland Browns Stadium by a score of 28-23. This was one of several defensive collapses late in games that helped grease the skids for old defensive coordinator Foge Fazio (since replaced by Davis pal Dave Campo).
Fans heading down to Cleveland Browns Stadium today should expect an exciting game, but probably shouldn't get hopes too high for coming away with a "W". I hope I'm wrong, but I see problems for the Browns in containing the high-powered Colts offense.
Remember back to last year's Colts game. The Browns did an effective job of keeping the Colts at bay during the first half. Then, as the second-half began, Indianapolis switched Marvin Harrison to the other side of the field, where he was to be covered by second-year cornerback Anthony Henry rather than veteran Corey Fuller. Harrison suddenly exploded, as did the rest of the Colts offense, as they stormed back to beat the Browns 28-23.
That offense has gotten stronger with the return-to-form of Edgerrin James, while the Browns defense lost Fuller, in addition to all three starting linebackers.
While the Browns new linebackers have fresh legs and fast wheels, they will be getting a rapid education in what an experienced top-notch NFL quarterback can do today. I expect to see Manning throwing a great deal underneath, hoping to catch the Browns linebackers out-of-position and giving his targets room to roam as Campo plays safeties deep in his Cover 2 defense.
I expect that Browns fans will become frustrated as some short passes turn into long gains, and that many will wonder why the team doesn't blitz more often.
The answer to that question lies in the cornerbacks. With the threesome of McCutcheon, Henry, and Sanders displaying dubious cover skills during the pre-season, expect the Colts to try to stretch the Browns defense early, opening up those throws underneath. Manning will have receivers open long occasionally, and will be able to work 5-15 yards out effectively.
Combining that with power running by James and an offensive crew that knows each other well, I see a long day in store for the Browns defense. This will be a valuable experience for the defensive squad which will benefit them later in the year.
On the other side of the ball, the Browns will also have an advantage over the Colts defense, but not as significant an edge. The loss of Ross Verba won't be felt as much as many suspect, but I fully believe that Barry Stokes will rise to the occasion despite his inexperience. Verba has also been penalty-prone, and the absence of those should help to compensate for the experience gap between Stokes and Verba at tackle. Both are terrific guards... neither is a great tackle, and I don't see the drop-off being that great.
What does concern me is the middle of the line, where Fowler and Faine both show potential, but are still learning the pro game. I expect there to be some negative yardage plays due to some mistakes in the interior, which should reduce the effectiveness that the Browns have at the skill positions.
This game will be exciting, and I'm hoping to see a surprising effectiveness out of the Browns defense. But I'm not counting on it.
I'm not counting on anything other than a fun time at the Stadium and an exciting game. Hope to see you there!
Browns - Colts Game Information Page
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