Davis: Browns Ahead of Schedule

These are the seasons that try fans' souls. But don't tell that to Butch Davis, a bastion of optimism amidst a 4-8 season. Davis claims that the team is ahead of schedule in some ways, and that this is no time to panic. Mike McLain brings us the story from Berea...

BEREA - Browns coach Butch Davis remains as optimistic as a coach of a 4-8 team can be.

Davis said Wednesday that the Browns are ahead of schedule. He noted that there are areas on the roster that have the talent level you'd want on a Super Bowl team.

"In some of these areas, there are absolutely some people that are good enough and talented enough and there's enough depth that you can win a Super Bowl with some of these guys," Davis said. "More than you might think."

Davis sounds like a coach that has every intention of being back for the 2004 season. He's thankful for working with an upper-level management team that is solidly behind him.

"It's probably the only reason I took the job," Davis said. "You're not going to take a job if you think you're going to go to work for somebody that has knee-jerk reactions. Every time there's the slightest hint of adversity, they're going to throw the baby out with the bath water."

Establishing consistency is Davis' long-term goal. He points to injuries and other unforeseen circumstances in explaining the troubles of this season.

"Some of our expectations have had to be readjusted because we've had to undergo 22 different changes since the Atlanta preseason game on the offensive side," Davis said. "If you had said that in the middle of training camp, I certainly would not have wanted to believe you. As you go through those changes, it makes consistency and continuity difficult. We've played six games when there have been absolutely no changes from the previous week, and we've won four of the six games."

FAINE FINE IN YEAR ONE: Center Jeff Faine felt his rookie season was progressing well when he went down for the season with an ankle injury.

"I think I learned a lot this season and improved a lot each week," Faine said. "If not for the injuries I felt that my momentum was really coming along for the Oakland game. When I went down with that MCL (medial collateral ligament), it took a lot out of me."

Faine sprained his knee late in the Browns' win over Oakland Oct. 12. He missed the next two games and returned Nov. 9 to start against Kansas City.

Faine felt his best games were the first game against Pittsburgh and the recent game against Arizona.

"I felt it like I felt it in college," Faine said. "I was out there talking a little trash and having some fun and getting after it."

WARREN WAITING: Defensive tackle Gerard Warren is awaiting word from the NFL office regarding his ejection from last Sunday's game in Seattle. The ejection came after Warren punched Seahawks center Robbie Tobeck. Prior to throwing the punch, Warren was penalized for a head slap.

"What I did was justifiable enough for me to get ejected," Warren said. "I know what I did, and you can't do that. You either cry over spilled milk, or you keep fighting."

ROSTER MOVES: The Browns signed offensive lineman Craig Osika to the active roster from the practice squad. They waived linebackers Orantes Grant and David Moretti from the practice squad, and fullback Billy Blanchard and defensive back Ron Israel have been signed to the practice squad.

INJURY REPORT: Questionable on the Browns' injury report are cornerback Lewis Sanders (groin) and linebacker Ben Taylor (elbow). Listed as probable are linebacker Brant Boyer (knee), defensive end Courtney Brown (ankle), quarterback Tim Couch (knee), cornerback Daylon McCutcheon (ankle) and Morgan.

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