BEREA – The Browns spent a concerted effort and considerable amount of money to upgrade their offensive line. So what do they have to show for it so far?
Through the first three preseason games, the Browns have averaged about 3.5 yards per carry. Cosey Coleman (right guard) and Joe Andruzzi (left guard) were brought in to shore up the guard positions as free agents, along with L.J. Shelton at left tackle. Center Jeff Faine and Ryan Tucker (right tackle) return from last year's team.
Romeo Crennel has been pleased with the unit's efforts thus far.
"For the first time playing together, we have run the ball efficiently at times," Crennel said.
Coleman and Andruzzi have both played on Super Bowl winning teams.
"I think we've moved the ball well and have protected the passer so far," Coleman said. "We've been able to move the sticks and put together a couple of drives while we were in there."
Faine says the line is playing the best he's seen since he's been here.
"I think we're coming along," Faine said. "The offensive line is playing better than we have in the last three years."
That's a start, but the Browns offensive line hasn't exactly set the NFL on fire the last couple of years.
"There are a lot of positives going on," Faine said. "If we can keep the continuity it will help us to gel quickly."
Andruzzi has been battling a nagging leg injury, but is impressed with the talent on the line.
"I think we're coming along pretty good," Andruzzi said. "We have a lot of guys with experience coming together."
Coleman says the preseason has allowed the group to come together.
"I feel we're building chemistry so far in the preseason games," Coleman said. "We're getting used to playing together."
Faine has been under the gun after being the Browns first-round draft choice in 2003, but is really excited to have players like Andruzzi and Coleman on each side.
"It's been a huge benefit working with two experienced and very talented guys on each side of me," Faine said. "I love working with them."
Faine says it's time for the line to play well.
"It's time for it to happen," Faine said. "If we can stay healthy, we'll do well."
McCutcheon Cleared: CB Daylon McCutcheon was medically cleared to begin practice according to Romeo Crennel. McCutcheon took part in practice on Monday and is scheduled to practice Tuesday and see some time against the Bears on Thursday night.
"If we can get him on the field and get him some playing time (Thursday against Chicago), that would be great," Crennel said. "He's passed his physical and now we'll put him out there."
McCutcheon says he feels much better from the headaches he was experiencing from two weeks before training camp started.
"They told me I'll practice today and tomorrow," he said. "Hopefully, I'll play Thursday.
"The biggest thing is getting out there, running around and doing things I haven't been doing."
McCutcheon isn't worried about catching up on his conditioning.
"I think it has more to do with technique and catching up and working out the kinks," he said.
"We're still working on that," Crennel said. "It's still to be determined. What we did against Carolina was to have Doug play after Trent (Dilfer). This week we'll probably have Charlie play after Trent
About Simon: Crennel was asked if the Browns had any interest in free agent DL Corey Simon of the Eagles.
"We're looking at that situation to see what course of action we might take," Crennel said.
Simon's franchise tag was lifted by the Eagles, making Simon an unrestricted free agent.
Injury Update: CB Gary Baxter (concussion) and RB Lee Suggs (ankle) will not play against the Bears on Thursday. Others not practicing were: OL John Dunn (ankle), LB Ivory McCoy and LB Renauld Williams.
Concerning Baxter, Crennel had this to say.
"It's a head injury and until the doctors say he can go, he won't go."
There is good news pertaining to two other defensive backs.
"We hope to get them some time Thursday," Crennel said.