Backups May Face Chambers

If Cutch can't go, Browns backup CBs will have to stop the dangerous Miami receiver...

Coach Romeo Crennel is mending his secondary with Ray Mickens and Michael Lehan while left cornerback Daylon McCutcheon recovers from a bruised abdomen. McCutcheon was hurt in the first quarter in the game against the Steelers last week and was taken from the field on a backboard.

McCutcheon practiced Wednesday. He hopes to play against the Dolphins, but the Browns are prepared in case he cannot. On Wednesday they signed cornerback James Thornton to the practice squad as insurance.

Mickens had been the nickel back. Lehan didn't play much in the secondary until injuries piled up.

Whoever lines up at left corner will be matched against Miami's Chris Chambers, who leads the Dolphins with 36 catches and five touchdowns. Chambers is 5-foot-11. Mickens is 5-foot-8 and McCutcheon 5-foot-10, so size won't be a major issue. Lehan is the tallest of the bunch at 6 feet.

Mickens played nine seasons with the Jets. They released him in training camp after signing Ty Law. The Browns signed Mickens on Aug. 18, when they started running short on healthy cornerbacks. Mickens knows the Dolphins better than any player on the Browns roster, having played in the same division as Miami for nine seasons.

"If Daylon can't go, then we'll roll," Mickens said Wednesday. "We'll be all right. We have some talent here. People are going to get hurt. You have to make adjustments and be prepared.

"Right now we're just looking to get better and play our best game of the season against Miami."

The Browns have been relatively healthy this season, but cornerback has been hit hard. McCutcheon missed most of training camp because of headaches. Starting right cornerback Gary Baxter is already on injured reserve recovering from pectoral surgery. Leigh Bodden started the last three games at right corner and will start against the Dolphins.

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