Browns-Titans Game Notebook

David looks at some other stories in the Browns opening pre-season loss...

THE WINSLOW DEBUT - Kellen Winslow trotted onto the field a bit earlier than expected in his first NFL game.

Just nine minutes into the first quarter, Winslow was granted an opportunity to play with the Browns first-team, lining up at tight end on a 3rd-and-5 play. Garcia never had a chance to look for the rookie, throwing the ball away in the middle of the field after being flushed from the pocket.

Winslow recorded his first pro catch on the first play of the second quarter, catching a 9-yard throw over the middle from Garcia on second down, helping to set up a 50-yard field goal by Phil Dawson for the Browns first score.

Just a few minutes later, Winslow lived up to the impulsive label he earned at the University of Miami, taking a swing at Titans safety Lamont Thompson. The play deep in Tennessee territory cost the Browns a scoring opportunity.

"I told him on the sideline that these games are so critical and so close, and a lot of them can hinge on one particular play, that you can't dramatically overreact," said Browns coach Butch Davis. "You can't let your emotions get the best of you because in this league, they are always going to see the second guy, they are never going to see the first guy."

In this case, however, Winslow threw the first punch, apparently frustrated by getting hit late a few plays earlier. And while Davis didn't like the way Winslow handled his emotions, some of the rookie tight end's teammates didn't seem to mind.

"That's just Kellen," said wide receiver Quincy Morgan. "Kellen is one of those guys who you either love him or hate him. I think all the guys in this locker room love him. He's a young guy with a lot of fire who plays the game his way. He don't take nothing from anyone out there on the field - That's the type of player he is."

Winslow's first-game action totaled 11 plays.

"We felt like after watching the three practices he took part in, we were selective in having him take part in the things he remembered, where he was involved in a pass route," said Davis. "We wanted to get him on the field of play and treat it to some extent what all the other players saw in Buffalo - Now, starting Monday we'll go back to work and kind of bring him back up to speed to where he will be able to take part in all the personnel groupings instead of just a select few."

GREEN AND SUGGS, TOGETHER AGAIN FOR THE FIRST TIME - The Browns have tinkered in training camp with using Lee Suggs and William Green in the same backfield. The early guess was the experiment would be used on special occasions.

Surprisingly, the Browns opened the game with Suggs and Green together without a fullback. A jailbreak by the Titans defensive line kept the play from developing, but the Browns intended to pass out of the formation, using Green and Suggs to create matchup problems.

"I think in situations where we want to be able to split out either Suggs or Green, and potentially create matchup situations or at least get a pre-snap read as to what defenses are going to show when they put a linebacker or strong safety on one of our backs, it can help us in certain ways," said Jeff Garcia. "I think you have to utilize those guys in the backfield at the same time. They have such extraordinary talent and can be so positive for this offense that mixing them together at times is going to create some opportunities and hopefully some positive plays for us."

GARDOCKI WHO? - Derrick Frost did his best Chris Gardocki imitation in his bid to replace the most consistent, if not most valuable, Cleveland Brown of the last five years.

Frost's first three punts as Gardocki's replacement were downed inside the Tennessee 20.

Gardocki signed a free-agent contract with the Pittsburgh Steelers during the off season.

NICKEY GETTING A SHOT - Former Ohio State safety Donnie Nickey is being given a chance to win a starting job in his second season with the Titans.

Nickey is listed as the third-string free safety on the Titans depth chart, but he played the bulk of the second and third quarters Saturday night. Nickey, who did not record a tackle on defense as a rookie and made just seven special-teams tackles, is challenging incumbent Lance Schulters.

DISTURBING STAT OF THE NIGHT - The Browns were called for 14 penalties totaling a whopping 155 yards. That's disturbing even for a preseason game.

"Head bobs by a rookie quarterback (Luke McCown) and the two-minute drill, you can't alibi them all that way, but I don't like any of them to be honest with you," said Davis. "And to be a good football team, you can't be a team that has eight, 10, 12 penalties - that's too many."

SHORT STINT - Jeff Garcia said it was difficult to get in a rhythm knowing he was only going to play 15-to-18 plays. Even so, he wasn't completely happy with his 3-for-5, 23-yard performance.

"Coming away with just one field goal in three drives is not my idea of being successful offensively," said Garcia. "So there's a lot of room for me to grow and I'm not kidding myself in any sort of way. I thought when Kelly (Holcomb) came out and stepped onto the field, he made good decisions. He threw the ball well. We were close to scoring at times, but again mental errors broke that down."
One of those errors - an illegal formation - eliminated what would have been the Browns only touchdown of the game, a touchdown pass from Holcomb to tight end Steve Heiden in the second quarter.

SNUBBED AGAIN - The Sporting News' "Ultimate Pro Football Scouting Guide" is the latest publication to belittle the talent on the Browns roster.

In the list of the NFL's top 200 players by the Sporting News' "War Room" of former pro scouts and front-office personnel, the Browns rate only two players - middle linebacker Andra Davis at No. 107 and quarterback Jeff Garcia at No. 164.


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