Browns-Giants: Game Notebook

Jottings from the Mike's notebook following Sunday's game against the Giants

Browns offensive coordinator Terry Robiskie made no secret of the fact that his plan was to neutralize New York Giants defensive end Michael Strahan. Robiskie didn't want to see the NFL's single-season sack leader creating havoc in the Browns' backfield.

To keep Strahan under control, Robiskie made sure that Strahan was "chipped" as much as possible by running backs and receivers.

"We had pre-determined that we weren't going to let Strahan beat us," Robiskie said. "Our whole mindset was that we weren't going to let Strahan dominate the game."

Strahan still enjoyed success. He had six tackles, including two sacks, and two fumble recoveries.

The problem in placing so much emphasis on Strahan was that the Browns had fewer options on offense.

"If it doesn't work, you are handicapping yourself," Robiskie said. "It's a battle you have to fight, and you have to find the best way to do it."

Joaquin Gonzalez had the task of blocking Strahan. Gonzalez started in place of Ryan Tucker, who was out with a quad injury. Robiskie said that the strategy would have been the same if Tucker had played.

"Strahan is one of the greatest pass rushers in the history of football," Robiskie said. "Let's don't let him dictate the game. It was going to be the same package, whether Ryan or who was in there."


UNHAPPY SAFETY: Browns safety Robert Griffith wasn't pleased with the personal-foul penalty he was assessed when he leveled receiver Tim Carter on a third-quarter play. Griffith hit Carter not knowing that a pass intended for him had been broken up by Michael Lehan.

"The guy (Carter) had his arms out when I hit him," Griffith said. "I saw the quarterback look his way. I was trying to get my body over there."

Officials aren't reluctant to call unnecessary roughness to protect receivers. Griffith thinks that officials are becoming too quick to throw flags. "They (defensive backs) are trying to read the receivers as best possible,"

Browns coach Butch Davis said. "Lots of times it's going to be bang-bang, and that's what's going to make it an incomplete pass. You can't let them catch it and hope to knock them loose from the ball."


GARCIA'S GAFFE: Late in the game a snap out of the shotgun formation by Browns center Jeff Faine flew by an unsuspecting Garcia.

As the ball bounced close to the Browns' end zone, Garcia appeared reluctant to fall on it. Michael Strahan recovered the fumble at the 1 for the Giants.

"I didn't want to recover the ball in the end zone and give up more points," Garcia said. "My thing was to try to track the ball down and see where they were coming from. It was just one of those things. It was a bad situation late in the game. There was really nothing we could do about it."


PLAYER NOTES:

  • Browns punter Derrick Frost entered the game with the best net average in the NFL at 43.1 yards. He didn't do too much damage to his average, checking in at a 39.4 net on five punts.
  • With the release of running back Dee Brown last week, the kick-return chores were given to receiver Richard Alston. Making his first regular-season appearance ever, Alston averaged 18.2 yards on five returns.
  • Browns kicker Phil Dawson has been successful on all of his seven field-goal attempts this season. He had plenty of distance on a 49-yard effort.
  • Browns linebacker Ben Taylor left the game early in the first quarter with a torn pectoral muscle. Taylor will miss the remainder of the season.
  • Quincy Morgan had his right ankle wrapped in ice after the game. He doesn't think the injury is serious.
  • Inactives for the Browns were cornerback Anthony Henry, who has been suffering from vertigo, running back Lee Suggs, quarterback Luke McCown, defensive lineman Gerard Warren, offensive linemen Kirk Chambers and Ryan Tucker, and tight ends Kellen Winslow and Steve Heiden.

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