A Record-Setting... Defense?

The Browns offense is getting attention, but the team's defense is on a record-setting pace as well. It's that the records aren't ones they might like to have...

The Browns have one of their most exciting offenses in years.

So it figures that now they're worried about the defense. The Browns are on pace to set some not-so-pretty marks.

Cleveland is giving up 413 yards per game, which would be more than 6,600 for the season. That would shatter the team worst -- by almost 600 yards.

The Browns have allowed a back to top 100 yards in every game this year, and they have given up a league-high 17 touchdown passes. That would cover about every aspect of the defense.

"I expected better," coach Romeo Crennel said.

There is not much the Browns can do personnel wise. The team is the team, and there is age on the defensive line and the lack of an impact player at linebacker. Kamerion Wimbley is solid as they come, but he can't do it alone.

Any improvement must come from within.

"We're not doing good enough, that's the bottom line," Crennel said. "We have got to get the guys' techniques tightened up positioned, tackling, all of it. It's a combination of things we have to do better."

The Browns may be the kind of team this season that winds up winning by outscoring the opponent.

PLAYER NOTES

--QB Derek Anderson has totally transformed himself from preseason to now. Anderson struggled badly in preseason, but his confidence has grown every game and he now has become a fantasy player's dream, ranking sixth in passing yards (1,496) and third in touchdowns (14).

--RB Jamal Lewis will use the bye week to get healthy. He missed the better part of two games with an injured foot. Lewis has 382 yards this season, but 216 came in one game against Cincinnati.

--TE Kellen Winslow is on a Pro Bowl pace. Winslow's dependability and athleticism have been major factors in the passing game. And he has done it with a shoulder injury that would have sidelined many, and after rehabbing from microfracture surgery.

--WR Braylon Edwards is earning praise around the league. Deion Sanders called him one of the better receivers in the league, and his numbers reflect that. Edwards is on pace to catch 77 passes for 1,472 yards, with 19 touchdowns. His improvement is for real.

--WR Joe Jurevicius struggled through an unspecified knee injury to play against Miami. Jurevicius' professionalism continues to be an example to his teammates.

--DE Orpheus Roye seems slowed by knee problems that have plagued him throughout his career. In past years, Roye has been able to play through the pain, but this year it seems to be limiting his ability.

--DE Shaun Smith has taken over for Roye in the starting lineup. Smith is healthy, but he's not as agile a player or as dependable in the three-four. Until he grows in the system, the Browns defense will struggle.

--DB Gary Baxter has been on the active roster all season, but is no closer to playing in a game than he was when the season started. Baxter is trying to make history by coming back from two torn patellar tendons, but he still is practicing with the scout team.

--C LeCharles Bentley was eligible to come off the PUP (Physically Unable to Perform) list this week, but it won't happen. The latest Bentley could be activated to the 53-man roster is Dec. 2. Bentley is trying to come back a torn patellar tendon and staph infection.

--KR Joshua Cribbs has been vital in giving the Browns field position. Cribbs' is averaging 31.1 yards on his 26 returns, putting him second in the league among those with 10 or more returns. Cribbs is electrifying, and can bring one back on any play.


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