Browns-Cardinals: It's Gameday

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KICKOFF: Sunday, 4:05 ET

GAMEDATE: 12/02/07

: Grass

: CBS, Greg Gumbel, Dan Dierdorf

LIVE INTERNET COVERAGE: OBR Game Live  Watercooler Thread

POST-GAME SHOW: Click here

: 48th meeting. Browns lead the series, 33-11-3. This will be the third game against the Cardinals in the new era for the Browns. Arizona won in the desert in 2000, 29-21, and the Browns won in Cleveland, 44-6, three years later.

PREDICTION: Browns 30-27

KEYS TO THE GAME: The Cardinals' defense is minus its most dynamic player in SS Adrian Wilson and most consistent cover man in CB Eric Green. The Browns got a strong effort from RB Jamal Lewis last weekend, but this matchup figures to favor QB Derek Anderson playing pitch and catch downfield as Arizona will have to simplify its typically complex scheme. ... The Browns' league-worst defense should be in for a long day with Warner coming off a 484-yard game. Warner would like to use more of the no-huddle look he ran effectively early in the season. The one main concern is that after registering just seven sacks through eight games, the Browns have ratcheted up the pressure with 12 in their past three.

KEY INJURIES: Browns: CB Eric Wright (knee) is expected to miss his second straight game. Cardinals: Wilson (heel/calf) and Green (torn groin) are out for the season.

FAST FACTS: WR Braylon Edwards' 11 TD receptions are the most by a Brown since Gary Collins had 11 in 1969. ... The Cardinals lead the league with nine games decided by eight points or less.



--WR Braylon Edwards missed practice with a hamstring injury for the second straight day Thursday.

--A knee injury kept NT Ethan Kelly out of practice again. He did not play against the Texans.

--CB Eric Wright is likely to miss his second straight game with a knee injury. He has not practiced since being hurt playing against the Ravens Nov. 18.

--RT Kevin Shaffer returned to practice Thursday after resting a knee injury Wednesday.

--DE Orpheus Roye rested his ailing knees again. Coach Romeo Crennel wanted Roye ready for the Cardinals. Unless Kelly mends quickly, Shaun Smith will start at nose tackle in Arizona, forcing Roye to play the majority of the game at left end.


--SS Adrian Wilson will be placed on injured reserve soon. He needs surgery to repair a problem in his right heel and Achilles area and has missed the past two games.

--WR Larry Fitzgerald was severely limited in practice on Wednesday and Thursday and didn't participate in any of the team sessions. Fitzgerald has a sore groin, but the Cardinals are hopeful that he'll play Sunday. If he doesn't, Bryant Johnson will start.

--S Bhawoh Jue, a veteran who has spent time with the Packers, Chargers and Rams, was signed on Thursday to provide depth.

--S Aaron Francisco is likely to miss a couple of more weeks because of a torn right calf muscle. Francisco's absence is important. Normally, he backs up the injured Adrian Wilson, who is injured, and is on the NFC's best special teams players.

--WR Anquan Boldin hasn't appeared happy with his role in the offense the past two weeks. Usually, Boldin busts out in a big way when he's not pleased. Look for the Cardinals to get him the ball early and often.


For eight years the Browns struggled to find a quarterback worthy of starting, and now they believe they have two in Derek Anderson and rookie Brady Quinn.

Anderson will be a restricted free agent on March 1 without a new contract. General manager Phil Savage is guarded with his plans on trying to sign Anderson to a long-term deal or tendering him a contract of $2.562 million to net the Browns a first-round and third-round draft pick from a team signing him to an offer sheet.

"Every time we win a game, the next game gets a little bigger and those are the games (other teams) are probably going to focus on if they're actually studying him out there around the league," Savage said. "Internally, we're anxious to see how he does and how our team does in the final five games."

The next game is Sunday on the road against the Arizona Cardinals. The Browns, 7-4, have won five of their last six games. They are currently seeded as the second wild card team in the AFC, but they are only one game behind AFC North leading Pittsburgh. They would have to finish a game ahead of the Steelers to win the division because Pittsburgh swept the Browns.

Anderson has exceeded expectations of even his biggest supporters in the Browns front office. He has thrown 22 touchdown passes and 11 interceptions. He is ranked 11th in the NFL, a step ahead of Peyton Manning. He became the starter after Charlie Frye was traded two days after the season opener. The Browns didn't even score a touchdown in the preseason with Anderson at quarterback.

"When you look at the situation he was thrust into and what he has done, you have to give him a lot of credit," Savage said.

Quinn has not played a down. The Browns do not have a first-round draft choice in 2008 because they traded it to the Cowboys so they could draft Quinn.

Savage said Quinn has shown enough in practice to make the coaches confident he would play well in a game. Savage likes third quarterback Ken Dorsey as a mentor to Anderson and Quinn and as a 'sounding board' to offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski.

"We feel like we've got two quality quarterbacks and Ken Dorsey, who's done a fantastic job behind the scenes," Savage said. "I'd love to see us go forward with all three and hold on to the depth we have at the position for a while."

Anderson does not want to talk about his quarterback situation. If the Browns do tender Anderson and no team signs him to an offer sheet the Browns run the risk of losing him as an unrestricted free agent after 2008 and getting no compensation. The only way to keep him would be to make him a franchise player in 2009, a move that would net Anderson more than $10 million in salary. They could franchise him again in 2010.

A tender of $2.017 million would net a first-round pick in compensation, $1.417 million a second-round pick and $927,000 a sixth-round choice. Anderson was a sixth-round pick by the Ravens in 2005.

Savage said he would tender Anderson the money for first-round and third-round compensation rather than work a trade for lesser compensation, as the Falcons did when they traded Matt Schaub to the Texans for two second-round picks.


The Cardinals hope to have boosted the performance of their special teams Thursday by signing veteran punter Mitch Berger.

He replaces Mike Barr, who was in his first year in the league. Barr, who was waived earlier this year, was last in the league in gross and net average.

Berger hasn't punted in the NFL since 2005. He spent last year on injured reserve with the Saints because of a pelvic injury, and said he wasn't healthy enough to sign with anyone for training camp.

The 35-year-old Berger, a 13-year veteran, also will be the holder for kicker Neil Rackers.

Rackers never complained, but it was obvious he was never comfortable with Barr as his holder. Barr was signed shortly before the season starter after being released by Pittsburgh.

The Cardinals released veteran Scott Player, who had been Rackers' holder for the past four seasons.

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