Tom and Jerry Time

The Browns players aren't the only ones ready for the bye. Browns fans have been tossed about by the ups and downs of the season to date. Even your friendly webmaster is fraying at the edges, as evidenced by the inexplicable title he's given to Mike's Berea report. You'll have to read the article to understand why we've coupled it with the picture of a soon-to-be-smushed Rich Gannon.

BEREA - There weren't a whole lot of frowns in the Browns' locker room Monday, which was surprising being it was the day after the 9-3 loss to New England.

The fact that the bye week has arrived might have something to do with the good mood of the players. If ever a team needed a bye, it's the Browns, who have several players that are nursing injuries.

"It came at a perfect time, right at the middle of the season," Browns cornerback Daylon McCutcheon said. "We have a lot of guys that need to heal up."

It would be easy to use injuries as the problem for an offense that's generating just 266.6 yards a game and has scored less than 20 points in six of the eight games played. The line lost tackle Ross Verba for the season during a preseason game. Since then, left tackle Barry Stokes, left guard Shaun O'Hara, center Jeff Faine and Chad Beasley have missed time because of injuries.

"I think that (getting healthy) is part of it," O'Hara said. "But you're never really healthy in a 16-game season until February. We have to make plays. Hopefully, getting healthy will help us accomplish that."

O'Hara, who missed the last two games after undergoing explorative knee surgery two weeks ago, said he definitely will play when the Browns return to action Nov. 9 at Kansas City. Faine, who was out the last two weeks with a sprained knee, also plans to be back.

Getting the line back to a state of good health is the primary goal of the bye week. However, that doesn't guarantee success in the long run.

"Mentally, guys are frustrated right now," O'Hara said. "We've not made plays, and we've kind of beat ourselves. It's not like we're going out and getting blown out 34-0. We're in these games, and we're right there. When we look at the tape, it's hard because we see plays that we could make to win the game, but we just couldn't do it."

The Browns, who are 3-5, had a 4-4 record at this point last season and a loss a week later gave them a 4-5 mark entering the bye. With running back William Green getting untracked down the stretch, the Browns won five of their final seven games to make the playoffs.

"We can't rest on what we did last year. We've already rested on that way too long, in my opinion," O'Hara said. "This year is totally different. It's a different team with a different chemistry. We're behind the 8-ball right now. We're a losing football team right now."

IMPRESSIVE NUMBERS: The statistics that were released after the coaches' film review showed that linebacker Ben Taylor had 21 tackles. Kevin Bentley had 16 stops, and Andra Davis had 11.

"They made a lot of plays," Butch Davis said. "They ran and they hustled to the ball. The way they (the Patriots) ran the ball, most of the runs came off tackle to the outside. The two outside linebackers were going to get a lot of chances to make plays, as were the safeties and corners."

TOM AND JERRY TIME: After their normal Tuesday off, the players will practice Wednesday and then have the rest of the week off. Most will head to residences throughout the country. Cornerback Daylon McCutcheon plans to return to his Los Angeles-area home. Center Jeff Faine, who played at Notre Dame, will head to South Bend to watch Saturday's game between the Fighting Irish and Florida State.

Defensive end Kenard Lang said, "I'm not coming back. I'm going AWOL. I'm going to enjoy going home and relaxing, laying out in my hot tub and watching Tom and Jerry."

UPON FURTHER REVIEW: Center Melvin Fowler's shotgun snap that flew by Kelly Holcomb wasn't his fault. Fowler was supposed to snap the ball after Holcomb raised a foot a second time. As Holcomb did that, he was looking to his right to send a receiver in motion.

"In the case of a lot of crowd noise, there's a lot of communication going on," Butch Davis said. "Melvin was absolutely correct. He snapped the ball with the movement when he thought the ball should have been snapped."


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