Browns Scramble to Replace Holly

Fred Greetham reports from Berea, as the loss of the corner gives the Browns a hole to fill. Here's what Romeo Crennel and Phil Savage have to say about their next steps, and more...

BEREA — It was not what the Browns were expecting.

To lose cornerback Daven Holly most likely for the season is a serious blow to the Browns plans for 2008.

However, if there is a silver lining it would be that the injury occurred in May and the team will have time to adjust to his absence.

"We weren't done at the position (cornerback) anyway," Phil Savage said. "Looking at our roster, we didn't have a lot of depth to begin with. It was a soft spot as far as depth goes.

"We were concerned already," he said. "It's not good, but at least we have time to react."

The Browns had traded away Leigh Bodden in the Shaun Rogers trade and were basically counting upon Holly and Brandon McDonald to battle it out for the starting spot opposite of second-year corner Eric Wright.

Romeo Crennel said that Braylon Edwards and Holly were going after a ball in practice on Tuesday and Holly came down wrong on the knee.

"He basically blew out the knee," Crennel said. "He needs surgery and we don't know how long he'll be out, but it doesn't look good."

Edwards suffered a hip pointer and was held out of Wednesday's practice.

"He's day-to-day, but I think he'll be alright," Crennel said.

Holly is believed to have torn at least two ligaments, as well as cartilage. With Holly facing surgery scheduled for Friday, McDonald moves into the front running spot to be the starter.

"When my name is called, I have to be ready," McDonald said. "I don't see a change in my role. I'm competing every day out there."

If McDonald and Wright are the starters, the Browns will have both corners in just their second season.

"I don't see it as No. 1 or No. 2," Wright said. "I want to be more productive than I was as a rookie."

One possibility is to use Mike Adams at corner and recently signed Jereme Perry.

"It's a big blow to the team," Adams said. "We just have to keep going. It's part of the game. We're all professional football players and someone is going to have to step up."

McDonald thinks he can handle whatever is thrust upon him.

"I'm working in the nickel," McDonald said. "Some of it is new to me, but I think I'm doing pretty well."

Savage and staff are scouring the available free agents to bring in. Ty Law and Lito Shepard were mentioned, but Savage indicated their current salary demands would make it nearly impossible to take on as is.

"We have cap space, but the issue is for cash out the door," Savage said. "Unless those guys have a change of heart, it will be tough."

Savage is hoping to acquire a cornerback who can come in and be one of the top three in the equation.

"Optimally, whoever we bring in we'd like to be one of our top three," Savage said. "We have two with Eric Wright and Brandon McDonald. Other than that, it's wide open."


Rookies Join: The rookies have joined the OTAs and Crennel said they are adjusting.

"The new kids have come in and are learning," he said. "They made a lot of mistakes the first day, but today was better."

Missing: Crennel said LB Willie McGinest was excused for personal reasons, while WR Braylon Edwards missed practice after colliding with Holly. Edwards suffered a hip pointer and is day-to-day.

WR Joe Jurevicius (knee), TE Steve Heiden (back) and OL Ryan Tucker (hip) missed practice with injuries. TE Kellen Winslow and OL LeCharles Bentley were still missing, but Crennel expects them at minicamp in June.

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