Cornerbacks: Peering Through the Fog

Sometimes it seems that Romeo Crennel could have a player run over by a truck and he'd still be "day to day". Scout.com peers through the fog and discusses the impact of starting CB Eric Wright missing this weekend's game with the Texans.

Browns coach Romeo Crennel, taking a cue from former bosses Bill Parcells and Bill Belichick, has always been very vague when asked specific questions about injured Browns players.

Crennel is treating the knee injury to starting left cornerback Eric Wright no differently. Wright is "day-to-day," according to Crennel. Wright was injured on the first defensive play of the game last week in Baltimore. He needed assistance getting off the field and then was taken by cart to the locker room.

Thanks to the relatives of Browns players participating on the OBR forums, we've already heard that Wright won't be likely to return until 12/2, at the earliest. If that's the case, then Daven Holly will start against the Texans Sunday in Cleveland Browns Stadium.

Holly replaced Wright in Baltimore. Rookie Brandon McDonald would be the nickel back if Holly starts. Holly was the nickel back for the first 10 games.

Texans receiver Andre Johnson, who missed seven weeks with a knee injury before returning to play against the Saints last week, presents a difficult challenge for the Browns. Johnson showed little rust last week, catching six passes for 120 to help knock off New Orleans, 23-10. The Texans, a team that looked like an easy mark for the Browns a few weeks ago when Johnson was out, have won two straight to climb to 5-5. The Texans are doing playoff math just as the 6-4 Browns are.

The Browns have given up a league-high 294 points and a league-high 23 touchdown passes, and that with a healthy secondary.

Unless assignments change, Holly and McDonald would line up as the cornerbacks when the Browns use five defensive backs. Leigh Bodden would be on the slot receiver.

Starting is nothing new to Holly. He started 12 games last year when injuries to Daylon McCutcheon and Gary Baxter wiped out two of the Browns' top three corners six games into the season (McCutcheon missed the entire season with a knee injury). On top of that, starting left cornerback Bodden missed seven games with ankle injuries.

"I'll be ready to go," Holly said. "It's tough coming off the bench -- in a play, out a play. I'm starting to grasp my role. Once I understood it, there was no room for pouting."

Holly was not happy when Wright was basically handed the starting job in training camp. It took him a while to accept being a sub. He does have three starts, but in each the Browns opened in the nickel.

Holly had five interceptions last season and has none in 2007. That could change if he gets isolated on Johnson and Texans quarterback Matt Schaub decides to test Holly deep. Johnson is averaging 6.6 catches and 127.3 yards a game this season.

"He's a big-play Pro Bowl receiver," Holly said. "He's strong, physical and tall. He has the ability to run routes. We have to challenge him and play like we've been playing and get a little pass rush. We'll be fine."

McDonald has played in all 10 games, primarily on special teams. He played cornerback the last two games. He has one tackle and two pass break-ups.


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