Berea – The Browns are looking for a defensive player to step up.
They might have found him in inside linebacker Andra Davis.
The fourth-year linebacker was named as the AFC Defensive Player of the Week for his performance in the Browns 22-0 win over the Dolphins last Sunday.
"It's a great honor to receive," Davis said. "Only so many players can receive this award.
"It is a great honor, but to me, it's all about winning."
Romeo Crennel is not a coach to push an individual in a team sport, but he has been impressed by Davis' play.
"Andra is learning this defense," Crennel said. "He wants to be a leader and wants to play this scheme.
"I know he's taken the New England film and studied it because he wants to be good," he said "He‘s beginning to be productive because he's working at it."
Davis leads the Browns in tackles with 135, with his nearest rival being 43 tackles away from him. His career best was 170 tackles in 2003. He should eclipse that mark in the final six games of the 2005 season—provided he stays healthy. Davis is also third on the team in sacks with two.
"Because he's the leading tackler, I think he has the potential to be a Pro Bowl player," Crennel said. "He's not there yet, but if he plays every week like he did last week that would be good."
Crennel says Davis' top quality is his ability to be a leader.
"His leadership is strength," Crennel said. "He can get off blocks. His understanding of the angles gets better as he continues to play. If you're lacking physically, you're probably not going to lead the team in tackles."
Davis is humbled by his accomplishments.
"I'm just a guy doing my job."
Davis had 14 tackles in helping the Browns record their first shutout since 2001. Two of his tackles were for loss and he had a QB pressure and two passes defensed. His pressure led to an interception by Matt Stewart.
Davis is the first Browns player this year to win the award. The last defensive player for the Browns to win the award was Kenard Lang on Sept. 12, 2004.
No Controversy: Crennel stressed again that QB Trent Dilfer is the starter, even before he was asked.
"We have no quarterback controversy," Crennel said. "Trent Dilfer is the quarterback. If and when, I'll make the decision to put Charlie (Frye) in if I get that gut feeling. Trent is the quarterback, and there's not much to talk about it."
Asked why he felt he needed to address the topic, Crennel smiled and said.
"I wanted to cut you (media) off at the pass," he said. "I've been around you guys enough to know you probably wanted to talk about it."
Dilfer was glad that Crennel made it clear he was the starter.
"I'm prepared to start and play," Dilfer said. "I stand by what I said and did so because I knew it was going to come up."
Dilfer said there is no problem between he and Crennel, or he and Frye.
"Everything's great," he said. "There is no rift between me and the coach or Charlie."
Turkey Day: Crennel is giving the players the afternoon off on Thanksgiving Day. The team will practice in the morning and have meetings and be dismissed by 12:30 p.m.
Suggs Update: RB Lee Suggs is practicing and has been inactive the last couple of week. Crennel said he's not sure when Suggs will be activated.
"We'll evaluate who gives us the best chance," he said. "W hen we determine he's ready and gives us the best chance, we'll activate him."
Injury update: Crennel said OL Joe Andruzzi (knee) is doubtful for the Vikings along with S Brodney Pool (ankle). Both are making progress and will be game time decisions. OL Cosey Coleman (knee) is questionable. KR Joshua Cribbs (stinger) played last week. RB William Green (ankle) will practice this week and see how limited he is.
Crennel says injuries are the norm for this time of the year.