As they head into a weekend showdown against the winless Miami Dolphins, the Browns are in position to go into the bye-week with a 3-3 record with a win. Despite the team's improvement on the field, the Browns are is looking to make changes to improve facets of the defense.
Over the course of the next three weeks, the Browns could be in position to play an important role in the AFC playoff races, and the front office is focused on improving the defense.
As the Dolphins get ready to try to upset the Browns, here are news and notes regarding the team from the the OBR's sources inside and outside of the team's offices in Berea:
- Despite the signing of defensive tackle Louis Leonard and addition of Ted Washington to the inactive list last week against the New England Patriots, the Orange and Brown Report has been told by a team source no further changes in personnel would be in the offing for the game against Miami. All indications are that Washington will see the field, but he is going to lose playing time to Ethan Kelley and Shaun Smith.
- Leonard is not expected to be active for the game due to his inexperience and limited time with the team, but if he continues to pick up the defensive responsibilities, his arrival on the playing field could come quickly. Leonard has not been ruled out of the contest against the Dolphins.
- Speaking of Smith, the team would like to give him a more prominent role along the interior of the defensive line. The health and durability of defensive end Orpheus Roye has hampered the progress of Smith on the inside. Simon Frasier continues to spell Roye, and the team could be close to adding a defensive end, possibly off the practice squad.
- Kellen Winslow's shoulder is gradually improving and could be at full strength in about four weeks, barring any setback.
- Wide receiver Travis Wilson will be added to the active game-day roster if Joe Jurevicius' knee continues to hamper him. At the present time, the team is reserved about the ability of Jurevicius to contribute this week.
- Running back Jamal Lewis is not expected to play Sunday, but will run Sunday morning and a final determination could be made at that time.
- While there has been no timetable for the return to the field for defensive back Gary Baxter, we have been told the player believes he can contribute at a high level, as soon as the game following the bye-week, against the St. Louis Rams.
- If quarterback Derek Anderson struggles mightily, the organization is now of the belief rookie Brady Quinn can step into action and play at a high level. Anderson is going to be given every opportunity to achieve, but the plug could be pulled if he does not display the ability to manage the game and team.
- The word around the league is the Browns are looking at options at defensive end, defensive tackle, and wide receiver. While no names have been bandied about of substance, the Browns are in a position to deal away depth along the offensive line and potentially at linebacker.