The new-era Browns have never had a pure fullback until this year. The past three years under Butch Davis, they tried one-back sets and H-backs, but it wasn't the same.
Now they have a true fullback in Terrelle Smith, and they couldn't be happier.
In Cleveland's 34-17 victory over Cincinnati, William Green ran for 115 yards
and Lee Suggs had 100 in receiving yards.
While Davis praised those two running backs, he gushed about Smith, signed as a free agent from New Orleans.
"The guy who deserves all the credit right now is Terrelle Smith," Davis said. "This guy is one terrific human being. He is a leader. He is tough. He brought a source of energy to the field today. He blew up linebackers, hit safeties. Those guys love playing behind him."
Suggs had a 59-yard touchdown catch. Davis said a blitz pickup by Smith made it possible.
Green ran for 66 yards on a 79-yard touchdown drive at the end of the second quarter. Smith was responsible for a lot of those yards.
One knocked Bengals linebacker Landon Johnson out of the game on a 9-yard Green carry.
"That was the hit of the day," tight end Aaron Shea said. "He smoked that linebacker. That's a true fullback right there."
Smith swooped over to the sideline with his arms extended like airplane wings as if he was ready to take off from nearby Burke Lakefront Airport.
Emotion is a big part of Smith's game. During the game, he approached teammates and implored them to touch him so they could feel his energy.
"To play this position, you have to be emotional," Smith said. "That's what it takes to play this position. With the pounding and the beating, it's like I'm in 40 car accidents a day."
Said Davis, "When we signed him," Davis said, "(Saints coach) Jim Haslett
told me the first time I saw him, `You're going to love this kid, and all the
intangibles he brings to your team.'"
FLIRTING WITH DISASTER: Coach Butch Davis knows he flirted with disaster Sunday because of poor clock management at the end of the first half.
Facing third down at the Bengals' 5-yard line, the Browns waited until seven seconds remained to call timeout.
"We were trying to call timeout with 12 seconds to go, but we couldn't get the referee's attention," Davis said.
The mistake didn't cost the Browns because Jeff Garcia threw a touchdown pass to tight end Aaron Shea as time expired.
"The players bailed me out," Davis said. "Clearly, there'd have been a lot of negative applause from the stands. We would have looked foolish."
THE T.O. SHOW: The Eagles come to Cleveland this week, which will stoke the tension between Browns quarterback Jeff Garcia and Philadelphia receiver Terrell Owens, who had a tumultuous relationship in five years with San Francisco.
Owens has ripped Garcia, making insinuating comments about his sexuality in August and more recently criticizing him for a lack of arm strength.
Asked about Owens on Monday, Butch Davis inadvertently provided some material for Garcia bashers.
"This week we have a huge challenge with Terrell," Davis said. "This guy is a talented, talented playmaking football player. We've played him before, but not necessarily with the supporting cast.
"Donovan McNabb is a cat of a whole different nature. This guy is a playmaker. He scrambles. He's big. He's strong. He's hard to sack."
- Wide receiver Andre Davis, who had a 99-yard touchdown catch, left the
game with what Butch Davis called a "version of turf toe."
"It's in the joint," the coach said. "They're going to do what they can do to try to calm it down. It got kind of swollen (Sunday), and he'll be day to day."
- Right guard Kelvin Garmon left the game twice with injuries. He got
knocked out in the first half. He returned, but injured his quadriceps muscle
in the second half and didn't come back from that.
"He's much better than I expected," Davis said. "They think he'll be ready to practice Wednesday."
- Left tackle Ross Verba injured his groin. He is listed as day to day.
- Linebacker Barry Gardner, who missed Sunday's game with a groin injury, is listed as week to week.