Berea Report: Hope for a Better Showing

It was the first sign that things might not going well in 2008 - during their preseason contest, the Giants destroyed the Browns early in the game. The memory of their pummelling at the hands of the Giants is still on the minds of the Browns, but they hope to bounce back...

BEREA - Granted, it was only the preseason.

However, the Browns first taste of primetime wasn't very good.

On August 18 on Monday Night Football, the Browns found themselves down 30-3 before they knew what hit them. They eventually lost, 37-34, but most of the comeback was accomplished with players from both teams currently not playing anymore.

The Giants are currently undefeated and after starting the playoffs last year as a Wild Card rode the wave of momentum to a Super Bowl Championship. The Giants shut out the Seahawks, 44-0 on Sunday.

"They're on a roll," Eric Steinbach said. "They are playing well."

Romeo Crennel knows how tough a challenge the Giants present the Browns.

"One, they're undefeated and two they do everything well," he said. "Their offense is a good offense and they have a good defense. They put pressure on you and get sacks. They also have good special teams and are an all around good team."

Crennel said the preseason game, although it didn't count, can't be totally discounted.

"They beat us pretty good, particularly in that stretch when it was 14-3 in the second quarter, and then it was 30-3," he said. "We screwed it up. If we play better and don't make the mistakes we made, it's more of a competitive game."

Crennel said the loss boiled down to two things.

"I attribute it to poor choices and execution," he said. "We're on the two and we fumble and they run it back for a touchdown. We have a blocked punt and gave up a return."

Crennel thinks if the Browns can reduce the mistakes they made in the earlier contest, they will have a chance.

"They are a very good football team and if we can slow them down, we'll have a chance," he said. "If we can eliminate the mistakes we made the last time, that will help."

Crennel is also looking for help from the home crowd.

"We're playing at home," he said. "We're going to try and ride that enthusiasm."

The players know there are things they need to learn from that earlier contest.

"That was the preseason," Hank Fraley said. "You don't just throw that out because we can learn from that game."

The players think they can turn it around.

"We let it get out of hand the last time," D'Qwell Jackson said. "With the whole world watching, we have a chance to redeem ourselves."

Other players agreed.

"They got the best of us, but we made a lot of mistakes," Corey Williams said. "We're getting it together and playing as a team."

"Maybe, the focus wasn't there," Kamerion Wimbley said. "I don't know."

Steinbach thinks the Browns are much improved from that time.

"It wasn't a good measure to go off of," Steinbach said. "It was the preseason and we're a different team now."

Fraley knows what the Browns must do to not let the season totally slip away.

"If you want to be the best, you have to beat the best and they way they've played they might be," he said. "There's a lot of football left and we're still waiting to play our best game."

However, with the Steelers at 4-1, the Browns can't wait too long.

Notebook

Tucker Ready: It looks as though OL Ryan Tucker will make his debut against the Giants.

"I'm ready to get back to work," Tucker said. "I'm excited to be back and get back on the field. The past two seasons, I've had a four week break."

Tucker missed the first four games recovering from hip surgery. He missed the first four games of the 2007 season for a league suspension for an illegal substance.

"Every week it gets a little better, more natural and feels normal," Tucker said.

Crennel sounded optimistic about Tucker coming back.

"Tucker had a good week of practice and he'll be in the mix," he said. "He helped us at both spots last year. We know he's capable of playing both positions. If Shaffer can't go, then Ryan should be able to step in there."

Tucker was asked if he would play guard or tackle.

"I'd like to know, too," he said. "I've been practicing at tackle."

With the concussion to OL Kevin Shaffer, Tucker might make his first appearance as a starter there.

Rest ‘Em Up: Crennel had the team practice through Thursday and gave the team off Friday through Sunday.

"We gave them a long weekend," he said. "Some of it had to go with injuries. It wouldn't have done any good to beat them up."

Crennel said the Browns focused on cutting down on mistakes during the bye week.

"We had a big emphasis on penalties and the stats that proved out, as well as turnovers," he said. "If we can improve in those two areas, we'll be better."

Injury Update: Many feel the Browns might be as healthy as they have since the preseason, but Crennel wasn't ready to make that statement.

"I'm not going to say that," he said. "Most guys should be rested and are excited to play on Monday Night.

"After you play games, guys have bumps and bruises and are nicked up," he said. "Even though we have more of a complement, there are still some nicks."

Crennel said WR Donte Stallworth and LB Willie McGinest were able to practice during the bye, while DL Shaun Rogers, DL Shaun Smith and TE Kellen Winslow were rested.

OL Kevin Shaffer (concussion) was rested and he'll be checked out to see what he can do.

"I'm going to do a little bit today," he said. "We're taking it day by day."

Shaffer's right hand was in a cast, as well.

Jones Hopeful: DB Sean Jones might be a ahead of schedule and might be able to play against the Giants.

"He might be able to do a little bit," Crennel said. "We'll see what he can do. He's not supposed to be back until next week. If he can do something, that will help us." 

 

 


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