Browns-Texans: Pre-Game Notes

Odds and Ends as the Browns prepare for the Texans

BODDEN THE MAN: Leigh Bodden steps in at cornerback for the Browns this weekend against Houston. Gary Baxter is out for the season with a torn pectoral muscle, so Bodden goes to the starting linueup after replacing Baxter last week against Detroit.

Bodden played fairly well against the Lions, breaking up one pass and recording three tackles.

The weird thing is that the previous two weeks, Bodden hadn't even made the active roster. Bodden started the opener against Cincinnati when Baxter was hurt, but struggled. He was inactive the next game due to a groin injury, and hardly played against Indianapolis before hitting the inactive list two consecutive weeks.

Baxter had played very solid football before being injured. His presence seemed to calm the secondary. Bodden now must step in and see if he can do the same.

MUTUAL RESPECT: For the first time in David Carr's career, he will have an opportunity to play against his friend and mentor, Trent Dilfer. They are both in the midst of personal struggles on the field, but they are looking forward to the opportunity of seeing each other during Sunday's Texans-Browns game.

Carr has respected Dilfer ever since the Carr attended a speech Dilfer gave when Carr was in seventh grade.

"The Godfather," Carr said of Dilfer. "He's a great guy. He's been instrumental long before this losing streak. When I first met him back in junior high, I was a fan. I still am. He's a great person and a great quarterback. I could go on and on about how I feel about him. I have as much respect for him as I do for anyone that I've ever been around."

The respect is mutual. Dilfer followed Carr's Fresno State career closely and helped advise Carr during his first couple seasons in the league.

"Dave has grown up a lot, and he handles his business very, very well," Dilfer said. "He is a very mature guy, a great father, a great husband. He does things the right way in life and doesn't really need a mentor anymore. Maybe the first couple years, I walked him through some things. But I look at him as a peer now."

The two have quite a bit they can talk about these days. Dilfer will start Sunday in hopes of playing well enough to keep his job even with rookie Charlie Frye waiting to replace him.

Carr has pressures of his own. He will try to lead the Texans to their first victory in seven tries.

SERIES HISTORY: Third meeting. Browns lead 2-0. Terry Robiskie earned his only victory as an interim coach when the Browns beat the Texans 22-14 in the final game of the 2004 season. Robiskie was 0-4 before the game in Houston.

BY THE NUMBERS: Zero -- The Browns have not scored a rushing touchdown this season, even though Reuben Droughns is averaging 4.1 yards a carry and he is on pace (431 yards so far) to become the Browns' first 1,000-yard rusher since Kevin Mack and Earnest Byner both did it in 1985.

BAXTER DONE: Starting right cornerback Gary Baxter will miss the rest of the season after undergoing surgery Monday to repair a torn pectoral muscle. He was injured in the first quarter against the Lions. The Browns expect him to make a complete recovery and be ready for the 2006 season.

Coach Romeo Crennel has no plans to sign another cornerback. Instead, the starting job will go to Leigh Bodden, who started in preseason and in the opener for Baxter while Baxter recovered from a concussion sustained Aug. 20.

Baxter was the Browns' biggest free agent acquisition last winter. He received a $10.5 million signing bonus as part of a six-year, $30 million contract after four seasons with the Ravens. He finishes with 20 tackles and two interceptions this season.


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