Berea Report: Injury Games

Mike McLain reports from Berea on what he saw this afternoon, including updates on the condition of the Browns offensive linemen. Mike also talks about the starting quarterback fog machine that is running day and night this week...

BEREA – Barry Stokes looks like anything but a go for Sunday's game against New England.

While Stokes' teammates walked onto the practice field Thursday, Stokes used a motorized three-wheel scooter. His right ankle remained in a cast, although he expects to have the cast removed today.

Stokes said he hopes to play Sunday, but don't count on it. It appears likely that Joaquin Gonzalez will get his first career start.

"If we can go, I'm all for it," Stokes said. "I try to stay as positive as I can. I'm preparing as if I'm going to play."

Nothing specifically happened last Sunday that caused Stokes to sit down. It was something that had been building up on a weekly basis.

"I couldn't change directions," Stokes said. "I couldn't get any pressure on it to plant and stop the bull rush. That's when we made the decision to shut it down."

TUCKER TROUBLES: Right tackle Ryan Tucker isn't the picture of health, either. Tucker hurt his right ankle against the Chargers and has had to use crutches to get around at times. He's listed on the injury report with a chest injury that he says is muscle related.

"Depth is a concern right now," Tucker said. "When you have this many guys on the shelf, it should be."

THE QB FOG MACHINE: Coach Butch Davis said that he has a good idea who will start at quarterback, but he isn't ready to reveal his identity. Tim Couch was asked if he knows who will start, but he said he honestly doesn't know.

"I have no idea. I really don't," Couch said. "I wish I could give you more, but I haven't been told anything. All I've been told is to go out and take the reps that the coaches are giving me, and that's what I'm doing."

Davis has been especially secretive about the injury situation this week in an attempt to keep the Patriots guessing. When he was asked how the injured offensive linemen looked Thursday, Davis said he didn't want to discuss it.

NEW TURF: The area of Browns stadium between the hash marks has been re-sodded after several sections gave way last Sunday. The problem had to do with an overabundance of clay, which kept the root system from developing.

OLD TRAUMAS: Patriots coach Bill Belichick was asked about his controversial decision to waive Bernie Kosar midway through the 1993 season. The decision was greeted with mass disapproval by Browns fans that were intensely loyal to Kosar.

"It was a decision that was a hard decision to make, but as I said at the time and still feel today, it was made in the best interest of the football team at that point in time," Belichick said.

NO LONGER SO QUIET: Defensive end Courtney Brown has appeared in almost every statistical category. He has 26 tackles, including two for losses, three forced fumbles, one recovered fumble, 10 quarterback pressures, six quarterback hits and two passes broken up. He's tied for third in the AFC with six sacks.

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