Berea Report: 8/24

Mike brings us the latest from Berea, including the continuing battle for the starting left guard spot, and the latest on the injury front...

BEREA – Paul Zukauskas and Enoch DeMar still aren't sure which one will get the call for Saturday's preseason game against the Kansas City Chiefs.That's all you need to know about the unsettled situation at left guard.

Neither of the two received a ringing endorsement from coach Butch Davis after their starts in the first two games – DeMar against Tennessee and Zukauskas against Detroit.

Consistency is all Davis is looking for from one of the two. Something will have to give soon if the line is to began developing continuity from tackle to tackle.

"Sure, you want to be in there and have the line set," Zukauskas said. "If there's good competition going, you don't want to break away from it too soon."

DeMar took his demotion last week in stride. He hasn't given up hope of winning the competition, although Zukauskas seems to have a slight advantage.

"I didn't pout, didn't cry, didn't do anything," DeMar said. "I have to perform up to my abilities and do it consistently."

GONZO TO THE INJURY LIST: Offensive tackle Joaquin Gonzalez is listed as day-to-day on the injury report, which indicates he could be ready to practice this week. That appears doubtful, however. Gonzalez needs the assistance of crutches as he recovers from a high ankle sprain suffered last Saturday.

"It's not as bad as I thought it was," Gonzalez said. "It looked pretty bad when I watched it on film. Once I got a couple of treatments in, I started to get a lot more movement in there. I'm aiming hopefully to get some reps by the end of this week."

Gonzalez has impressed Davis with his work in practice.

"Personally, I thought I was having a good camp," said Gonzalez, who started three games at left tackle last season in place of the injured Barry Stokes. " It kind of stinks breaking up my rhythm, but it's stuff that happens."

THE TURK APPROACHES: The first mandatory cut, which will reduce rosters to 60 players, will be Tuesday. Some of the cuts could be difficult.

"Every year it should be tougher to make the team because you should be growing a group of guys that can stay together for six, eight or 10 years," Davis said. "Someone told me that we were like the third-, fourth- or fifth-youngest team in the league last year. When you looked at our roster for the game last Saturday, we had one guy with 10 or more years of experience (safety Robert Griffith). That speaks for the youth of this team."

QB-IN-TRAINING: Rookie quarterback Luke McCown is showing signs of learning from his mistakes.

"At times he'll make some inexperienced mistakes that you'd expect a rookie to potentially make, but the good thing about it is he doesn't repeat the same mistake," Davis said. "At Tennessee he scrambled out of the pocket and thought he had a touchdown, and he threw an interception. In Saturday's game he scrambled out of the pocket and made a first down. The next time he scrambled and threw the ball where Andre King was going to catch it or nobody is going to catch it."

SOLOMON WHO? When asked if he'd have an interest in signing offensive lineman Solomon Page, who was waived this week by Detroit, Davis said, "Who's he? First-round draft choice? They're that good that they're letting their ones go?"

Page was actually a second-round pick by Dallas in 1999. The Cowboys' first choice that year was defensive end Ebenezer Ekuban, who signed with the Browns this year.

WALKING WOUNDED UPDATE: Joining Gonzalez on the injury report are safety Chris Crocker (concussion); offensive lineman Melvin Fowler; cornerback Michael Lehan (foot); linebacker Chaun Thompson (wrist); offensive tackle Ryan Tucker; linebacker Mason Unck and cornerback Roosevelt Williams (ankle).

All are listed as day-to-day, with an added comment that indicates each is improving. The vague details on the report are an indication of how tight-lipped Davis is about injuries. He became uneasy Monday when asked about injuries to Gonzalez and Fowler.

The OBR Top Stories