Hoping for a Less Offensive Line

Butch Davis knows that not all is well on his offensive line. The Browns' head coach talks about the challenges of building the unit "where games are won on every level". Plus more on Jamel White and other Sunday injuries. Here's Mike McLain with the first independent report from Berea.

BEREA - Finding a way to improve upon the poor running game will be at the top of Butch Davis' to-do list during the bye week.

"That might be the number one priority during the bye week," Davis said. "Somehow, some way, we're going to get something done."

Asked if there are enough capable linemen to improve run blocking, Davis said. "We've got some of them. We're going to find out if we have the rest of them."

Davis said that he knew developing a sound running game would be difficult after he took the job in January of 2001. He hasn't used many high draft choices on linemen because of the need to address other areas.

"When I went to Miami, I made a statement to the press at one time that we weren't going to win the national championship until we addressed the issue of the offensive line," Davis said. "It was easy at Miami to get skilled guys.

"Games are won at every level on the offensive line. The teams that can rush the passer and run the ball will win. It's the same way at the high school and college levels. We're working on it here."

The ground game could be hurting is running back Jamel White isn't able to return after the bye week for a road game against Cincinnati. White suffered a shoulder separation in the third quarter of the 23-20 loss to Pittsburgh. He tried returning to action, but the pain became too much to handle.

White had a harness on his right shoulder Monday. He had more tests planned to determine the degree of separation, although Davis termed it a mild separation.

"All I know is that it's better than it was yesterday (Sunday)," White said. "I haven't tried working it. As long as my hand is working right now, that's all I care about.

"I'm thinking that I'll be back sooner rather than later. I have to (be back for Cincinnati). This is football. This is what we do."

WEARING DOWN: Orpheus Roye has a theory for why the Browns have suffered so many injuries this season.

"We practice hard. A lot of time and a lot of hours," Roye said. "I don't want to say that we're wore down, but you go out enthused and sometimes it takes a toll on your body.

"The physical part you know is going to be there. You have to know when to grind and when (not to). Don't just grind in everything we do. Plus, the recovery time. Some teams don't come back until Wednesday. We come back on Monday. You just have to do what you have to do."

Davis said he has backed off during practices because of the large number of injuries.

"That's why we haven't had as many, to some extent," Davis said. "We've gone to practice this year with guys that needed to have practices that weren't physical so they could play on Sunday."

TAKING IT EASY: The players will have a light workout today and then head home until next Monday.

"The bye week couldn't come at a better time," Boyer said. "Physically and mentally we're banged up. We need to get away from football. Take a look in the mirror and decide what you want to do when you come back."

CALM DOWN: Receiver Kevin Johnson isn't pleased with his lack of production. He's told quarterback Tim Couch to get him the ball and not worry about reading the defense.

"That's a good way to be put on the bench," Davis said.

INJURY REPORT: Other than a mild shoulder separation suffered by running back Jamel White, none of the injuries appear serious. White plans to be ready for the Nov. 17 game against Cincinnati.

Cornerback Corey Fuller, who has missed two games with a hamstring injury, plans to be back for the Bengals' game. Defensive end Kenard Lang hurt a groin. He was in pain Monday, but he plans to be ready to go next week.

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