Gerard Gets a Push

Gerard Warren has already shown an ability to get into the headlines. From claiming he changed his ways to criticizing the coaching staff, Warren has shown an ability to get coverage even as his Head Coach defended him. That may be changing, as Head Coach Butch Davis today offered a different opinion on Warren than we've heard in previous weeks. Here's the scoop from Berea... seen here first once again...

BEREA - Butch Davis took some heat earlier this year for claiming Gerard Warren played his best game as a Cleveland Brown the same afternoon that Jamal Lewis ran wild on the Browns defense.

Today, Davis said "there have been games where (Warren) has played well, and games when he would have liked to play better and games when we would have liked for him to play better."

Not exactly the same ringing endorsement of a former No. 3 overall draft pick who currently stands 12th on the team in tackles with 11 through four games. But then, according to Davis, Warren's worth doesn't always show up in the stat column.

"There is no way to measure a guy's ability to hold off double teams and allow you middle linebacker to make double-digit tackles," said Davis.

Warren gives himself only average marks for his performance this year.

"I've been average," said Warren. "Nothing spectacular ... but I've been able to keep my presence felt on the field."

He still yearns to be spectacular, but admits that can be hard "when you are trying to play within the framework of the defense."

"You want to create plays, but you also don't want to get out of position to make those plays and end up hurting the defense," said Warren.

Warren has yet to record a sack this season, but is currently tied with defensive end Kenard Lang for the team lead with six of the Browns' 28 quarterback pressures.

The Browns will need to create more pressure against the NFL's No. 1 rated passing offense Sunday night than they did against Cincinnati last week. The coaching staff's review of the game film revealed that the Browns defense managed a grand total of zero quarterback pressures of Bengals quarterback Jon Kitna.

"We are going to need pressure on Maddox this weekend," said Browns cornerback Anthony Henry. "If you give any quarterback in this league enough time, he will beat you."

READY TO PLAY: Wide reciever Frisman Jackson and rookie running back Lee Suggs both said today that they will be healthy and physically ready to return to the active roster when their six weeks on the Physically Unable to Perform list is up next week.

Jackson is recovering from a broken foot suffered in minicamp, and Suggs has been out with a shoulder injury.

O-LINE NO. 2, TAKE TWO: Butch Davis said the Browns wanted to get a little more size on the offensive line when he moved Paul Zukauskas into the starting lineup last week against Cincinnati.

It looks like the Browns will stick with that "bigger" lineup this week in Pittsburgh.

There had been some rumbling that Joaquin Gonzalez might get a chance to start if the Browns offensive line didn't improve last week. If that move does take place, allowing Barry Stokes to return to left guard, it might be another week or two away..

Zukauskas and Gonzalez both said they were not aware of any changes in the lineup this week. But then, the coaching staff may have either issued a gag order or simply may not be telling the players who will start until Sunday. The reason - they were unhappy that the lineup change leaked to the press last week.

Gonzalez may be capable of dealing with the left tackle spot from a pass-protection standpoint, but he still has only played the position twice in his life. Throwing him into the fire against an aggressive 3-4 like the Steelers', and matching him up against Joey Porter, would be a difficult baptism by fire.

REMEMBER THE DROP: The dropped third-down pass that gave the Steelers a chance to come from behind in the final minutes of last year's playoff loss still haunts Dennis Northcutt. In fact, the wide receiver is using it as motivation for Sunday night.

"That's a play people will probably talk about around here for a long time," said Northcutt. "That was a big game, and we all know how it ended ... This is a chance for me to go back down there ... and get another chance in another big game.

"I had a good game, but that last play showed that the game isn't over until it's over ... It's going to help me focus."

Northcutt is eager to make an impact in the punt-return game.

"It's been a lot different this year because we used to get four, five or six punt returns a game," said Northcutt. "This year, we haven't had many opportunities ... I'm patient, though, and I'm ready."


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