Tis the season to be jolly. For Browns fans, this jolly time could begin in full force at approximately 4:00 p.m. on Sunday, if the team can send the Bills back to Buffalo agonizing in defeat.
Despite the Browns tendency to play games in ‘making it interesting' mode, they've made it to the brink of the playoffs, which is certainly an unexpected occurrence.
Now, onto the pre-game notes... from what we've been told:
- Rookie cornerback Eric Wright will suit up and play Sunday against the Buffalo Bills, barring any setback in his rehab from a knee sprain. Wright has practiced well this week and could be a bonus for the team, due to his improving coverage and excellent tacking.
- Nose tackle Ethan Kelley appears set to play Sunday against the Bills, though the team limited him in practice this week.
- Starting defensive end Orpheus Roye continues to battle knee woes and has been limited this week. While Roye could easily sit this game out, we have been told by a prominent member of the defense that Roye will play, unless the staff prohibits it.
- Throughout the week, practices at the Browns facility have been focused and reasonably sharp. The team has been inspired by the leaders that have been in this position before and have taken the lead of head coach Romeo Crennel. The playoffs are not discussed, but the players are very aware of what could await them. For this team, the playoffs started Wednesday while preparing for the Buffalo Bills.
- Quarterback Derek Anderson is looking to minimize mistakes he has made over the past several weeks. Primarily, the issues have to do with Anderson's misreads and a tendency he has shown to throw into coverage. The offensive staff in Cleveland likes the match-ups against the Buffalo defense, with the vertical passing game being a focal point.
- Running back Jamal Lewis noted a couple weeks ago that December is his time of the season. This is something offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski has building toward all season - the Browns are going to run the football. As we discussed in the Orange and Brown Report – Ask The Insiders forum, Lewis appears to gain strength as the game wears on when receiving twenty-plus carries, or at least is able to take advantage of defensive fatigue. Whichever, if Lewis carries the ball twenty-times, this team is going to win the vast majority of their game. Whether the offensive coordinator can ride out the inconsistency long enough for the rushing game to develop is another issue.
- More Lewis – Jamal reached out to Browns fans and the City of Cleveland when noting his desire to remain in Cleveland. Lewis discussed the history of the team and the vast difference in fans and support in comparison to his time in Baltimore. The veteran running back has told the Browns he wants to remain in Cleveland following the season. Lewis is an unrestricted free agent and wants to do everything possible to play again for the Browns. When digging into Lewis' recent remarks, we were relatively surprised, but have confirmed that he has indeed informed the team he would be willing to sign another one-year deal, if that what it took to stay.