Latest from Berea: Davis Tries to Regroup

Butch Davis gathered the troops again in Berea, intent on reviving a moribund running game and making an unlikely run at the playoffs. Mike McLain gets us the first independent report from today's activities in Berea.

BEREA - Refreshed after a bye week, Browns coach Butch Davis regrouped the players for the start of practices in preparation for Sunday's game in Cincinnati.

One thing that became clear to Davis while watching games last Sunday is that parity might be the Browns' best friend. Despite a 4-5 record, the Browns are a part of the mix.

"There are 16 teams in the AFC, and right now 12 of the 16 have either four or five wins," Davis said. "Down the stretch, you still have an opportunity to separate yourself."

Davis talked last week about finding ways to spark a lethargic ground game. The result was a reduction in the number of running plays in the playbook.

"We have run somewhere in the neighborhood of 17 to 20 different runs throughout the course of the season," Davis said. "When you're averaging 3.5 for all of those, some were in the fours, some in the fives and some in the twos. We tried to eliminate the ones we felt like there had been an ample number of attempts, and we just weren't getting it.

"We said, 'Hey, you know what, we're putting that on the shelf.' You can only get good at so many things. I'd say we'll probably keep somewhere between 10 and 12 legitimate runs."

The smaller issues are a priority at this time. Davis doesn't want the team to get bogged down worrying about the playoffs.

"The most important thing is we have to take care of us," Davis said. "It would be a horrible mistake for our team to focus on what happened in the conference in the North or South or West (Divisions). We have to try to play the best we can for every single week for the next seven weeks."

Davis might have felt uneasy sitting at home last Sunday, but he wasn't complaining about the positive effect an off week can have for a team at this stage of the season. Davis felt fortunate that the Browns were one of four teams to have the final bye week of the season.

"Having it (the bye) in weeks three or four and thinking you have to go 13 or 14 weeks makes it difficult," Davis said. "That's almost as big a disadvantage as it would be an advantage if they gave everybody one later on."

INJURY NEWS: The bye helped injured players like strong safety Robert Griffith and cornerback Corey Fuller. Griffith has been sidelined with a broken bone in his shoulder, while Fuller has been out with a hamstring injury.

Davis didn't give any indications as to the availability of the two defensive backs. He also didn't indicate whether or not White will answer the call against the Bengals.

ROSTER MOVE: The roster spot that opened when offensive lineman Roger Chanoine was waived was filled with the signing of defensive end Cedric Scott. Scott (6-foot-5, 290 pounds) was drafted by the New York Giants in the fourth round of the 2001 draft. He played in nine games (no starts) last year. The Giants waived Scott on Sept. 1 of this year.

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