STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
Reuben Droughns was named the Browns' starting running back, ending any debate about William Green and Droughns sharing the ball. Green will get a few chances, but only to give Droughns a breather if the Browns are able to string long drives together.
"Reuben has a foot up on William," Coach Romeo Crennel said, inferring that Droughns has to have more games like he did against the Bengals - 12 carries for 78 yards plus three catches for 22 yards - to get a 'leg up' on Green.
Green ran strong in the first three preseason games, but he did a poor job avoiding tacklers in the final preseason game and in the four carries he had against the Bengals.
The Lions put pressure on Brett Favre and the Browns would love to do the same. It would mean pressuring from the inside where Favre is trying to cope with the loss of guards Mike Wahle and Marco Rivera in free agency.
The Browns were reluctant to blitz last week against Carson Palmer and might be even more gun-shy against a 15-year veteran, but blitzing might be their only chance to get to Favre.
Last week Trent Dilfer threw 43 passes. Coach Romeo Crennel does not want that to happen again if it can be helped. If Reuben Droughns can get 20 to 25 carries it means the Browns are playing ball-control offense, which they want to do.
MATCHUPS TO WATCH
Browns RB Reuben Droughns, who describes himself as a downhill runner, vs. LB Nick Barnett, the Packers' leading tackler the last two seasons: By his own admission, Droughns does not wiggle to make tacklers miss. He needs a good initial block and if he gets it he is difficult to bring down because he is a powerful runner.
Browns LT L.J. Shelton, a bulldozing run blocker, vs. Packers DE Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila, who has 49 sacks in four season: The Browns did not allow a sack last week. That mark will be tested in Green Bay. Shelton has to avoid holding penalties that can kill drives. Trent Dilfer could use three-step drops to frustrate the pass rush.
TE Aaron Shea is listed as questionable for the second straight week, but once again he cannot lift his right arm. Joshua Cribbs is out with a sprained left MCL. He is the Browns' best kick returner and also one of the gunners on punt coverage. Rookie Antonio Perkins will return kicks. The gunner replacement has not been announced...LB Matt Stewart is out with a sprained right MCL. Chaun Thompson will replace him in the lineup. Stewart is not expected to return until Oct. 9 at the earliest.
- RB Lee Suggs is practicing, but he might not play until after the bye. He has
been out for nearly a month with a sprained ankle and Crennel says Suggs will
have to get his conditioning back.
- CB Gary Baxter returned to full practice for the first time since suffering a
concussion Aug. 20. He has had some memory problems since the injury and is
concerned about remembering the play called.
- TE Aaron Shea is listed as questionable with a pectoral strain and did not
practice. He still does not have full use of his right arm.
- LB Matt Stewart is week to week with a sprained right MCL. The Browns are
considering bringing in another linebacker but are holding off that decision for
- KR Joshua Cribbs is listed as week to week with a sprained left MCL. Rookie
Antonio Perkins is replacing him on kick returns.
- DE Orpheus Roye has a hyper-extended left knee that limited him in practice, but he is expected to start against the Packers.
- It is the 16th meeting between the clubs. The Green Bay Packers lead the series 9-6 and have
a 4-2 advantage in Green Bay. The Browns have not won in Green Bay since a 24-7
victory Nov. 4, 1956. The have been to Green Bay four times since and lost each
- Rookie quarterback Charlie Frye was nine years old when Packers quarterback
Brett Favre was a rookie with the Falcons in 1991.
- Jim Brown's final NFL game was against the Packers in the NFL championship
game played Jan. 2, 1966. The Packers held him to 50 yards on 12 carries.
- Packers defensive coordinator Jim Bates got his NFL coaching start with the
Browns under Bill Belichick.
- The Browns have played the Packers once since returning to the NFL in 1999, a
30-7 loss in Green Bay. The lasting memory from that game was Jamel White rushing for
131 yards on 26 carries, by far his best game with the Browns.
- Fifteen Browns are in the Hall of Fame. The Packers with 20 are one of four
teams with more H.O.F. representatives. The others are the Bears with 26, the
Steelers with 17 and the Giants with 16.
- BY THE NUMBERS: 2-7 - Trent Dilfer has that record as a starting quarterback
against the Packers. He has not faced them in a starting role since his final
year with the Buccaneers in 1999.
- QUOTE TO NOTE: "I've seen that offense too many times. Those guys are capable of lighting it up if you don't play a good game against them." -- Browns safety Brian Russell, formerly of the Vikings, when asked if the Packer offense has lost some punch.