BEREA – Matt Stewart was one of the players the Browns were counting upon as they transitioned to the 3-4 defense. Unfortunately, Stewart went down on the first series of downs against the Bengals in the season opener. He sprained his MCL and has not played since.
"I'm feeling pretty good," Stewart said. "I'll go out there and see how it does in practice.
"It's been frustrating because all of the hard work to get ready and three plays into it, I'm hurt," Stewart said. "I was ready to go and ready for the season and to have it interrupted that early was frustrating."
Stewart was injured when one of his teammates slipped off of making a tackle and landed on his knee while Stewart was trying to make a tackle.
"I don't really know what's going to happen," Stewart said. "I don't want to set any limits. I just want to get out there and see what I can do.
"I've went out there and felt better each day," he said. "I have been able to run without pain and have had no setbacks. However, running by yourself is much different than when you're running in practice."
Romeo Crennel said Stewart will start practice today and see where he's at.
"We expect both (Josh) Cribbs and Stewart to be out there," Crennel said. "They might be limited, but we'll see."
Stewart knows the injury could've been much worse and with the bye week, there's an outside chance he could be ready for this week's game with the Bears.
"I feel real fortunate that it was just the MCL," he said. "It could've been worse.
Stewart was signed as an unrestricted free agent from the Falcons on March 15 and has played in the 3-4 defense as both an inside linebacker and outside linebacker. He had 89 tackles last year for Atlanta and had his best season in 2003 when he had 108 tackles. He came into the season with seven sacks in his four-year career.
"I felt very comfortable out there because it was very similar to what I had done in the past," he said. "I'm just anxious to get back on the field.
Red Zone Alert: The Browns have just scored one touchdown in 6 tries inside the red zone and that's a statistic that has to be rectified.
QB Trent Dilfer said that's one of his primary goals for the offense after the break.
"When we're in the red zone we have to score touchdowns," Dilfer said. "We have to make plays."
Rookie wide receiver Braylon Edwards agrees with Dilfer's assessment.
"We have to be more efficient in the red zone," Edwards said. "We have to execute when we're in there."
Dilfer said he evaluated two areas that he must improve upon in the following weeks.
"I reviewed and evaluated myself," he said. "What I'm disappointed in is that I haven't played my best football in the red zone and on third down.
"I haven't been awful, but feel I could do better."
Injury Update: With the bye week, Crennel mentioned no specific injuries other than Stewart and Cribbs should be back at practice. He said Dilfer was fine after a week's rest.
"I have nothing to report on," Crennel said. "I expect Trent to practice today. We didn't have to take him to the hospital. He's a pretty tough guy. We rested him a little bit, but I expect him to be out there and ready to practice."
Dilfer concurred with his coach.
"I feel good and am ready to go," he said. "I was a little sore last week, but I was able to get some rest and I'm ready to go this week."
Honey Do's: Crennel said he was able to get some things done on the domestic front during the bye weekend.
"I did a few things around the house and am in better shape with my wife because of it," he said with a smile."
No Changes: Crennel said he expects no changes in the starting lineup after a week of letting some of the younger plays get more repetitions in practice.
"Because you're playing games the young kids don't get to play," he said. "They get a chance in practice and they're rusty. No one really stood out or was exceptional."
As far as the starting lineup Crennel had this to say:
"Our guys are our guys and until someone steps up and takes someone's place, that's how we'll go."