Verba is set at tackle

Insider Mike McLain looks at the future of Ross Verba (and, by extension, the future of Roman Oben) and reports on the release of Percy Ellsworth in today's story from Berea.

You might not want to etch this into stone, but for now Butch Davis thinks that Ross Verba is the future for the Browns at left tackle.

Verba started the first 12 games of the season at left guard. When Davis shook up the line prior to a home game against Jacksonville, Verba moved to left tackle in place of the ineffective Roman Oben.

"I don't think that there's any question that Ross is going to be the left tackle here for the future," Davis said. "Last week (against Green Bay) was probably anywhere from 50 to 75 percent better than the first game there. Correct me, but was (Green Bay end) Kabeer Gbajaa-Biamila's name ever called. That guy at one time was leading the league in sacks.

"Ross virtually shut him down completely. He has the athleticism, the feet, the tenacity. I'm sure he would have loved to have had the last eight months to practice over there before you go over there and get a face full of Jevon Kearse. For throwing a guy out there with no practice repetitions, he's done pretty good."

NEXT UP: Tight end Alvin Morrow was signed to the active roster. Morrow was a scholastic All-American at Kirkwood High School near St. Louis. He was signed by Florida State, but he never played a down with the Seminoles because of a three-year minor league baseball career with the Milwaukee Brewers.

Morrow (6-foot-5, 260 pounds) hasn't played active football since 1996. He's the third player on the roster with minor league baseball experience. Quarterback Josh Booty was on the Florida Marlins' 40-man roster when they defeated the Indians in the 1997 World Series. Receiver Andre King played at four different levels in a career that included stops with Atlanta, Cincinnati and Tampa Bay.

INJURY REPORT: Defensive end Courtney Brown (ankle) is questionable, as are defensive back Raymond Jackson (neck), offensive lineman Jeremy McKinney (shoulder) and H-back Aaron Shea (shoulder). Linebacker Brant Boyer (finger) is probable.

The Titans will be without receiver Justin McCareins (ankle), defensive linemen Robaire Smith (thumb) and Joe Salave'a (ankle). Questionable are running backs Eddie George (ankle) and Skip Hicks (hamstring); offensive linemen Bruce Matthews (groin) and Zach Piller (wrist); quarterback Steve McNair (back); cornerback Donald Mitchell (knee) and Samari Rolle (foot); safety Aric Morris (ankle) and receiver Chris Sanders (back).

LONG GONE: Percy Ellsworth's career with the Browns is over. The sixth-year free safety was placed on reserve-injured on Dec. 14 with a quadricep injury. He was waived Wednesday, ending a career here that didn't develop as planned when he signed a four-year contract prior to the 2000 season.

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