Browns-Ravens: Strategy and Personnel

C Jeff Faine will have a key role to play...

Hoping to improve their dreadful pass defense, the Browns made a change at free safety, promoting second-year free safety Chris Crocker ahead of veteran Earl Little. Crocker, a former cornerback, has better speed and cover ability than Little. Little made his mark as a ball-hawker, but after 13 interceptions the previous two seasons, he is still looking for his first pick of the season. Little will play in nickel and dime packages.

The kickoff return situation remains a mystery. The Browns cut Dee Brown before the Philadelphia game. Andre Davis was out and Andre King got hurt early against the Eagles, leaving James Jackson and Frisman Jackson to fulfill those duties. Each had a costly fumble. Butch Davis would not divulge who would return kicks this week.


  • WR Andre Davis practiced Wednesday and is expected to play Sunday after missing the Eagles game with a sprained toe.
  • WR Andre King did not practice Wednesday and is unlikely to play this week because of an ankle sprain.
  • OG Paul Zukauskas said his sprained knee is healed. The knee affected his mobility and was a key reason he lost his starting LG spot to Enoch DeMar.
  • RG Kelvin Garmon said he was completely over the effects of a quadriceps injury sustained against the Bengals.
  • K Phil Dawson has made all 14 of his field-goal attempts this season and has the longest current streak in the NFL with 24 straight
  • TE Steve Heiden said he should be fully recovered from a sprained medial collateral knee ligament. He had been playing through the injury.

GAME PLAN: The Browns' strategy is pretty simple. On offense, they'll pound the ball with William Green and Lee Suggs, hope Jeff Garcia can move the chains with short passes and occasionally take a shot deep. Defensively, the Browns will gang up on Jamal Lewis and force Kyle Boller to beat them with his arm. With a weak receiving corps and tight end Todd Heap probably out, that's a chance the Browns are more than willing to take.


  • Browns C Jeff Faine vs. Ravens NT Kelly Gregg. Gregg doesn't get much attention, but he's a critical part of Baltimore's defense. Faine, Cleveland's first-round draft pick in 2003, has been fairly solid but not dominating. Faine will have to clear Gregg out of the middle if the Browns are to have much success running the ball.
  • Browns MLB Andra Davis, who is second on the team with 55 tackles, vs. Ravens RB Jamal Lewis. Stopping Lewis will be an 11-man job, but Davis shoulders much of the load. It'll be crucial for Davis to play disciplined and not overrun plays because Lewis is a good cutback runner.


  • WR Andre Davis is listed as probable with a sprained toe. He is using a new orthotic and a different shoe construction, which the Browns hope will allow him to play at close to 100 percent. He participated in team drills without incident.
  • WR Andre King did not practice and is doubtful to play. That will cause newly acquired Antonio Bryant to see more playing time.
BY THE NUMBERS: 106.3. Jeff Garcia's passing rating in Cleveland's three victories. In the Browns' four losses, it's 52.9.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "I'm not putting my foot in my mouth this time. I'm batting 1.000. I'm not going to mess it up. I know we're going to go out and play well and play hard, so I don't have to make any predictions." -- DE Kenard Lang, when asked if would again predict the Browns' defense would shut down Jamal Lewis as he did before the opener.

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