Berea Report: Corners Filling the Gap

While fans puzzle (or rage) about last weekend's debacle against the Bengals, Romeo Crennel and crew prepare for the Chiefs. Here are notes from today's events in Berea, with news on defensive backs, DeMario Minter, Ryan Tucker, Braylon Edwards, and more...

BEREA - Daven Holly, Ralph Brown, Mike Hawkins and Jereme Perry. Who are these guys?

Before training camp started, these four guys were not in the Browns plans. But when your top three projected cornerbacks go down with injury some things have to happen.

"These guys have done a good job when their number was called," Brian Russell said. "As defensive backs, we study a lot of film together so we're on the same page."

Daylon McCutcheon never recovered from arthroscopic surgery on his knee and was placed on injured reserve before the season started. Gary Baxter battled a pectoral strain before tearing both of his Patellar tendons in his knees. He played just three games. Leigh Bodden has battled ankle injuries all season and has played in only six games.

"They all have ability," Russell said. "There's a reason Ralph Brown has been in the league for seven years.

"Daven was a draft pick," Russell said. "Perry has played well. He was Mr. Everything in college. He has a lot of speed and can play at a high level."

Several of those players look at the path of Leigh Bodden and how he made the most of his opportunity as an undrafted free agent from Duquesne. He was signed to a four-year extension at the end of the 2005 season and is considered one of the top cover guys in the league.

"There's not doubt Leigh's been a great example for those guys," Russell said. "It's given an opportunity for those guys to fill in and show what they can do."

Holly agrees.

"I do believe it's all about opportunity," Holly said. "Leigh was inactive for some games just last year and he's now considered one of the top corners in the NFL."

Holly is sixth on the team in tackles with 42. He also has two interceptions, one which was returned for a touchdown.

Perry started as a tryout player after not being drafted and started the season as a practice squad player.

"Leigh is an inspiration because he has given me confidence," Perry said. "He's told me that I am capable of playing at this level.

"I feel this is my chance for opportunity and I want to make the most of  it."

Perry has 12 tackles with six passes broken up in seven games.

"I give a lot of credit to coach (Mel) Tucker and (Todd) Grantham," Perry said. "We have guys likes Holly and Brown, who weren't here at the start of training camp and they're making plays." 


On Braylon's Situation: Crennel said he addressed the situation of WR Braylon Edwards and his sideline incident with QB Charlie Frye and the team is moving forward.

"We spoke to the team about focusing on Kansas City and leaving the distractions behind us," Crennel said. "That's the main focus of this week.

"I've indicated to the team we are going to concentrate on Kansas City," he said. "I would appreciate you not ask about Braylon. We've addressed the situation and we're moving forward. I'm not going to talk about it."

Crennel was asked if he felt the rest of the team was behind him for the way he dealt with it.

"I feel all the players have backed me 100 percent."

He would not say if Edwards would not start against Kansas City or what if any sanctions would be leveled against him.

"We'll see Sunday."

Edwards reportedly chartered a helicopter to fly to the Ohio State/Michigan game and Crennel wasn't happy with him for that. Edwards arrived back late for a team meeting Saturday Night.

"It did bother me," Crennel said. "We had a major game that week and it takes major energy to go away. I've told the players to get their rest so they are as rested as possible. I told them to not use unnecessary energy that could take away from the game. However, with that being said, he had a pretty good game on Sunday."

Edwards had seven catches for 136 yards against the Steelers.

Tucker, Kelly Out: OL Ryan Tucker was placed on the non-football illness list and will miss the remainder of the season, as  will DL Ethan Kelly was placed on injured reserve with a broken bone in his knee.

"We hate to lose Ryan because he's been a good player for us, but we want what's best for him and his family," Crennel said. "I spoke to Ryan and he wants to play football. Due to privacy and legal complications we cannot talk about it. There will be a statement in a day or two on the situation."

Kelly Butler is expected to start in place of Tucker in his absence.

"On Ethan Kelley, the MRI showed there was a fracture in the knee area and it will take some time to heal."

Parker, Smith Back: With Kelley going to injured reserve and Tucker to the non-football illness list the Browns added defensive lineman. J'Vonne Parker and OL Rob Smith. Both were with the Browns in training camp. Parker was waived in the final cut downs and Smith was on the practice squad.  Alvin Smith was signed to the practice squad. He was with San Diego in training camp.

Not a Big Endorsement: QB Derek Anderson has been the backup quarterback for most of the season and is listed as the No. 2 quarterback on the depth chart. Crennel was asked if he would like to see Anderson get some time before the season is over.

"If we're ahead by 30, then I would like to see some of (Anderson)."

Minter Shelved: Rookie CB DeMario Minter will remain of the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list for the rest of the season.

"He worked very hard but we don't think he's ready," Crennel said. "He worked hard to try to be ready, but we determined he wasn't ready and so he will not be able to practice anymore."

Roye Doubtful: Crennel listed several players as questionable for the week, but said DL Orpheus Roye is doubtful with a knee injury. The others he mentioned were: RB Reuben Droughns (foot), DL Nick Eason (ankle), LB Willie McGinest (pectoral strain), S Brian Russell (elbow), LB Mason Unck (groin), CB Leigh Bodden (ankle), DB Justin Hamilton (back) and TE Kellen Winslow (knee).

Dawson Wins Courage Award: K Phil Dawson was voted as the 2006 winner of the Browns Ed Block Courage Award.   

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