Jerome Harrison: Timed for a Playoff Push?

The Browns second-year running back is beginning to emerge at a key time for the Browns. Is Jerome Harrison the extra edge that will carry the Browns to the playoffs?

As the Browns begin what they hope will be a playoff push starting Sunday with a home game against the Seahawks, they would like to see more balance in their run offense. For that to happen they are going to need consistency from Jamal Lewis and the running backs behind him.

Lewis fought through a foot injury to start against the Rams. He finished with 61 yards on 17 carries.

Lewis still is not 100 percent. The decision to start him in St. Louis was made in pregame warm-ups. He was limited in practice in the three days prior to playing the Rams. He missed the rest of that game and the entire game against the Dolphins a week later. The Browns were on their bye Oct, 21.

The Browns are always cautious in practice with veterans. Lewis could be limited in practice this week to make sure he is fresh and ready to go against the Seahawks. The Seattle game is critical for the Browns because they play in Pittsburgh Nov. 11 and in Baltimore a week later.

Lewis leads the Browns with 443 yards rushing.

Even though Lewis is healthy enough to keep playing, Jerome Harrison will likely play in his third straight game Sunday. Harrison was inactive for four games and then rushed for 57 yards on 18 carries when Lewis was idle vs. the Dolphins. He got the attention of Romeo Crennel and the other coaches by running hard instead of slouching as a player who spent that much time on the bench might have. He gained 32 yards on five carries against the Rams.

Harrison's speed on the FieldTurf inside the Edward Jones Dome was a plus for him last week. He will be on grass in Cleveland Browns Stadium, but he said he can be equally quick on either surface. Harrison has fresher legs than some of the linebackers he is trying to beat around the corner.

"We have a lot of great veterans in this locker room," Harrison said. "They told me to always stay focused because you never know when your opportunity will come. When it does come you have to be ready."

Harrison, in his second season, says he is "tons" better than he was as a rookie. He gives credit to Lewis and Jason Wright, the second-team running back, plus running backs coach Anthony Lynn. Lynn is in his first year with the Browns after two years coaching the Cowboys running backs. He replaced Dave Atkins, who was promoted to Senior Offensive Assistant Coach. Lynn played seven NFL seasons with the Broncos and 49ers.

"He's a great guy," Harrison said. "He's a younger coach (38). He played the game. The things we see sometimes when we make mistakes, he'll say, 'I understand why you did it, but you can't do it that way.' He's a coach you can talk to. He'll criticize you, but in a positive way."

Wright is second behind Lewis with 180 yards rushing on 43 carries.


--NT Ted Washington is healthy but was inactive for the second time in three games. The Browns deactivated him despite knowing the Rams would feature RB Steven Jackson.

--WR Braylon Edwards continues to have an excellent year. He caught his eighth touchdown pass of the season in the first quarter and his ninth in the third. He had six last season.

--RS Josh Cribbs is Mr. Everything for the Browns. He returned a kickoff 26 yards, another one 31 yards, made a solo tackle at the Rams 23 on a kickoff, returned a punt 18 yards and gained 18 yards on an end-around.

--Kris Griffin, the Browns' leader in special teams tackles, left the game in the first quarter with an Achilles injury and did not return.

--K Phil Dawson was 2-for-2 on field goals and is 11 of 12 for the season. He is bouncing back after missing eight of 29 last year.

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