BEREA – With the Browns offensive struggling and the team desperately needing a win, the Browns don't need any more motivation for the Broncos.
But, like it or not, there is some. Several of the Browns castoffs are now starting for the Broncos, including the starting front four.
There has been a lot of talk about the Broncos defensive line and how many former Browns are on it. Currently, six former Browns defensive linemen are on the roster: Ebenezer Ekuban, Amon Gordon, Kenard Lang, Michael Myers, Gerard Warren and Courtney Brown. In addition, Broncos defensive line coach Andre Patterson was the coach under Butch Davis in the same capacity with the Browns. Brown is on injured reserve and Gordon is on the practice squad.
Lang and Ekuban start at the end positions, while Warren and Myers hold down the starting spots at tackles. Ekuban has 25 tackles and is tied for the team lead with 2.5 sacks. Myers has 25 tackles and one sack. Warren has 24 tackles and Lang has 14 tackles with one sack.
Broncos' coach Mike Shanahan thinks there will be added motivation for the players going up against their former teams.
"When you go back to someplace that you've been, I think it's always a little extra," Shanahan said. "I'm sure Reuben Droughns will feel that way. I think anybody that's honest would say that when you've been someplace, you'd like to play special when you go back to that place regardless of the scenario."
Andra Davis agreed.
"They're going to be fired up, but we're going to be fired up too, because we're 1-4," Davis said.
As did Frye.
"I think they'll be more motivated since going to Denver and coming back here for the first time."
The Broncos have given up just one touchdown through the first five games and nearly 40 percent of their starters are former Browns.
"There are also some former Browns on this team and the thing with those guys we know them whether we like them or dislike them they are going to play hard on Sunday," Romeo Crennel said. "We're getting ready for that."
Crennel said he didn't feel the players would fit in the scheme the Browns were trying to employ.
"Sometimes, a change of scenery and atmosphere helps a player," he said. "In the case with those guys, it definitely has worked out. You see that around the league when a player is traded or released they do well in another situation."
Ekuban and Myers were traded for Droughns. Warren was traded for a fourth-round draft choice, while Lang was released, as was Brown and Gordon.
Crennel said he sat down with Warren prior to the trade and felt he could've been a productive nose tackle or end in the 3-4 defense.
"At the time, we didn't actually know what we were going to do with (Warren)," he said. "I wanted to sit down with him and see if we could have a relationship. When we left the meeting, I felt we could have had a relationship. After sitting down with him, I felt I could've worked with him."
However, the Browns decided to trade him to the Broncos.
"We tried to keep Courtney Brown but he chose to go to Denver," Crennel said. "Kenard Lang wasn't as good a fit in our scheme at linebacker."
Davis said he remains close friends with Warren and Lang, but is looking forward to the challenge on Sunday.
"I talk to (Warren) and (Lang) all the time," Davis said. "It will be like playing in the back yard against your brother. You want to do every thing you can to beat them."
Orpheus Roye said it will be fun to go against his former teammates on the defensive line.
"It will be like a reunion, but since they're mostly on defense I won't be going up against them."
Reuben to Face Old Mates: As is the case with several former Browns on the Broncos, RB Reuben Droughns will face his old teammates for the first time since he was traded for Michael Myers and Ebenezer Ekuban in 2005. Droughns rushed for over 1,000 yards for the Broncos in 2004.
"I think Reuben will be fired up and ready to go against his former team," Frye said.
Crennel thinks Droughns will be motivated.
"In some case, it could be a good thing," he said. "I think he will be motivated and try to be productive against his former team."
Injury Update: The Browns still have several players listed as questionable for Sunday's game with the Broncos, but Crennel is encouraged that most should be ready to go, including starting cornerbacks Gary Baxter and Leigh Bodden.
"Baxter questionable but we anticipate he will be able to do more," Crennel said. "He's been able to do some more and I think he's feeling better. Leigh Bodden didn't do anything last week, but he's out of the boot."
Bodden is excited about getting back on the field.
"I feel good and think I'll be ready to go," he said. "I made the trip to Carolina, but the field conditions weren't good."
Besides Bodden getting the boot off his injured ankle, S Brian Russell and S Justin Hamilton also are out of the boots. Crennel indicated that WR Travis Wilson had a hyperextension injury, but did do some things last week. WR Dennis Northcutt (ribs) is making progress. TE Kellen Winslow (knee) is back from the funeral of his half-brother, but will be held back a bit in practice, as he has in the past.
Crennel is looking forward to having his starting corners back on the field at the same time.
"I think it would be helpful because the reasons they are starters is the fact they would give you the best chance," he said.
Friedman Ready: OL Lennie Friedman says he's ready for the opportunity to be in the rotation on the offensive line. Crennel said one of the changes the Browns were planning on making is to rotate Friedman with the guards and Hank Fraley.
"As a backup in the NFL, you're always just one play away from playing," he said. "Nothing is different for me in my preparation. I will be ready if and when I'm called upon."
Friedman was originally drafted by the Broncos.