Berea Report: Droughns Takes Charge

Fred reports from Berea where Reuben Droughns appears to be the man (for now). Here's the first report from today's session in Berea, with injury updates and more analysis of yesterday's loss to the Bengals.

Berea – Romeo Crennel said Reuben Droughns has taken a ‘foot up' on William Green in the battle for the running back position.

"Reuben might have gone slightly ahead," Crennel said. "Going into the regular season they were equally productive.

"The way he played (against the Bengals) might have given him a foot up," he said. "We'll see how the week goes, but right now he would be ahead."

Droughns started the game and ripped off a 24-yard gain on his first carry and had 41 yards in the first quarter. William Green played in the second quarter, before Droughns returned in the second half. Droughns finished with 78 yards on 12 carries for a 6.5 yard average. Green had four carries for 12 yards (3.0 avg.) and a long of six yards.

In addition, Droughns caught three passes for 22 yards and was pressed into kick return duties when Josh Cribbs was injured. He returned five kicks for 119 yards (23.8 avg.) with a long of 35 yards.

Droughns is listed at 5'11" and 215 pounds.

"He has size and good body lean when he runs," Crennel said. "Reuben was productive and he ran efficiently. He also returned kicks well."

Droughns is doing what he's asked to do, whatever that might be.

"It's not about me," he said. "It's always about what we're trying to accomplish here as the Browns. We're trying to win a Super Bowl."

Green said the platoon system will work.

"It has to work," he said. "It's not up to me. When I get a chance out there, I have to make the most of it."

Lee Suggs has been out for several weeks with a high ankle sprain. Crennel said he is hopeful Suggs will be able to contribute soon, but he has fallen behind with the injury.

"We need to get him healthy and back on the field before we can see if he can be a difference maker," Crennel said "He's missed so much time. All three guys in training camp had been productive in games. We need to see who can step up when real bullets are flying." Quick Hits

Big Play Turned the Tide:
Crennel said the 35-yard yard pass play from Carson Palmer to T.J. Houshmandzadeh was the key play of the game. There was just 1:27 to play in the first half and the score was tied at 10. The Bengals were faced with a second-and-25 from their own 30 after an offensive pass interference penalty was called on Chad Johnson on the previous play.

"I know the concern was about the two-minute defense," Crennel said. "But, if you don't give up the 35-yard play, we're not talking about the two-minute.

"It changed the game and we come out at the half down 17-10," he said. "(The Bengals) come out on the opening possession and score and it's now 24-10. That play changed the game."

The Bengals scored with 45 seconds to play in the half on a 20-yard pass from Palmer to Ken Walter to make the score 17-10. The Bengals took the opening kickoff in the second half and drove 78 yards on nine plays to make the score 24-10.

What Penalty?:
On the penalty called on CB Ray Mickens that disallowed Leigh Bodden's interception touchdown, Crennel didn't see a penalty.

"I couldn't see hands to the face or illegal contact," he said. "It didn't look like a penalty to me. The play-by- play said illegal contact."

O-Line Good:
Crennel said the offensive line did a pretty good job.

"The offensive line didn't do a bad job," Crennel said. "We didn't allow a sack, overall, I thought they did pretty good."

Offensive tackle L.J. Shelton agreed.

"I think everyone was on the same page," he said. "I felt we were doing enough to help us win."

Crennel on Dilfer:
Crennel was candid when asked about QB Trent Dilfer, who was 26-of-43 for 278 yards, but committed three turnovers.

"Dilfer didn't do all that great," Crennel said. "Early on in the game we were moving the ball, but after the game got to where we had to throw the ball all the time or most of the time, that's where we had the problems."

Injury Update:
Crennel said he wouldn't know anything more on the extent of the injuries to WR Josh Cribbs (knee) or LB Matt Stewart (knee) until he meets with the doctors this afternoon.

TE Steve Heiden suffered a stinger and was in the locker room and said he's fine.

Crennel said CB Gary Baxter would get more work this week and would be a game time decision.

Sorry Charlie: Crennel said he had no thoughts of putting rookie QB Charlie Frye in the game.

"I thought Trent gave us the best chance to come back," Crennel said. "I wasn't of the mind to throw Charlie in that situation. You're behind in the game, but it wasn't out of reach. I felt Trent gave us the best chance to try and come back. At the time Charlie could've been put in, it was too late."

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