Browns Notes: Davis Defends No-Blitz Strategy

Butch Davis says the Browns didn't blitz for a reason and more Browns notes.

Rookie quarterbacks can expect a heavy dose of blitzes from opposing defenses.

The Cleveland Browns decided not to do that against Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, and they probably regret it.

The Browns blitzed the rookie only four times in Sunday's 34-23 loss to the Steelers. They didn't get to him in those attempts or on any other. Roethlisberger threw for 199 yards in the first half alone and completed 16 of 21 passes in all.

"We just didn't feel like that was the right way to defense him," coach Butch Davis said of the lack of blitzes."

When pressed about his strategy, Davis said Pittsburgh's blocking schemes made blitzers less effective.

"As we evaluated the success other people had had, they were a team that predominantly kept lot of people in to block," Davis said. "They were in multiple tight ends and in two-back offenses. We just felt like watching what they had done, we would potentially put ourselves in one-on-one situations, and we didn't feel that was the best thing to do.

"Just evaluating their success ratio in throwing the football with different kinds of zone coverages, different kinds of man (coverages), different kinds of blitzes, we felt we didn't want to get into a situation where we were blitzing and not getting there."

In other words, Davis didn't have a lot of faith in the Browns' secondary in a matchup against receivers Hines Ward, Plaxico Burress and Antwaan Randle El.


DAVIS WANTS CONVERSIONS: Browns coach Butch Davis is particularly frustrated with his offense's struggles on third down and in the red zone.

Cleveland is worst in the league converting third downs (15 of 63 for 23.8 percent). In the red zone, the Browns have only five touchdowns in 12 attempts.
Davis spread the blame around. He said the offensive line can't abandon fundamentals when the game goes south. He said receivers can't alter their routes because of fear that the quarterback will get hit early.

Davis didn't exclude quarterback Jeff Garcia from his criticism.

"The quarterback has to have confidence that the last time he got hit is an aberration," Davis said. "You can't be skittish. You've got to sit in the pocket and make your throws and let the routes come open."


WINSLOW SPEAKS: Injured tight end Kellen Winslow Jr. spoke publicly for the first time since breaking his fibula Sept. 19 against Dallas. Winslow was put on injured reserve when tests revealed a torn ankle ligament that required a second surgery.

Winslow acknowledged his frustration with missing most of his rookie season, but was philosophical about it.

"It's not that bad because my dad had the exact same injury his first year and came back and led the league in receptions his next two years," Winslow said. "That's a lot of motivation for me."

Kellen Winslow Sr. caught 89 and 88 passes in 1980 and '81.


INJURY NOTES:

  • Linebacker Barry Gardner aggravated a groin injury and is listed as week to week.
  • Right tackle Ryan Tucker, who has missed three games because of a torn quadriceps muscle, has received clearance to practice.
  • Defensive tackle Gerard Warren has been given clearance to practice. He strained his pectoral muscle in the opener against Baltimore, then re-injured it against Dallas the next week. He has missed the last three games.
  • Jeff Garcia sustained a laceration on his left (non-throwing) hand, but the injury is not expected to keep him out of practice.

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