Browns-Jaguars: It's Gameday!

Kickoff is at 4:05PM! Join us on the blogs, boards, and chat room. Links and info within...



KICKOFF: Sunday, 4:05 ET

GAMEDATE: 10/26/08

SURFACE: Grass

TV: CBS (Dick Enberg, Randy Cross)

SERIES: 11th regular-season meeting. The Jaguars lead the series, 8-2. It was good riddance for the Browns when realignment sent the Jaguars to the AFC South and the Browns to the AFC North in 2002. When both teams were in the same division the Browns were 1-7 against Jacksonville.

PREDICTION: Jaguars 30-21

KEYS TO THE GAME: The Browns have to get off to a strong start on the road. Not an easy task for an offense that has yet to score a first-quarter touchdown. The Jaguars will give up yards - 340.5 per game to be exact - and don't rush the passer well, so QB Derek Anderson should have ample time to look downfield. The big question is whether his receivers will hang onto the ball as Anderson plays without his leading receiver in suspended TE Kellen Winslow.

What the doctor ordered: The Jaguars aren't used to ranking in the middle of the pack (14th) in running the ball, and they hope having C Brad Meester and OG Chris Naeole back coming out of the bye will help. But the real medicine could be a Browns defense allowing 146.3 rushing yards per game. Cleveland doesn't bring much of a pass rush, but Jaguars QB David Garrard should be wary of improving young CBs Eric Wright and Brandon McDonald

KEY INJURIES: Browns: DL Shaun Smith (broken hand) is out; RT Ryan Tucker (knee) is uncertain. Jaguars: WR Mike Walker (knee) has not been ruled out but appears unlikely to play.

FAST FACTS: The Browns have already allowed eight rushing touchdowns - the same number they allowed all last season. ... Jaguars RB Fred Taylor needs 43 rushing yards to reach 11,000 for his career.

PERSONNEL NEWS
Browns:

--A hamstring injury prevented DB Mike Adams from practicing Thursday.

--RT Ryan Tucker was held from practice again because of a sore knee.

--TE Steve Heiden practiced with the first team after missing practice Wednesday with a pectoral injury.

--RB Jamal Lewis was excused from practice Thursday for non-football reasons.

--DE Corey Williams missed practice for a second straight day because of a shoulder injury. Coach Romeo Crennel is optimistic Williams can play against the Jaguars.

--LB Shantee Orr missed practice again because of a foot injury.

Jaguars:

--DT John Henderson was added to the injury report with a hamstring injury and was limited in practice Thursday. The Jaguars didn't announce when he suffered the injury. His condition will be updated Friday.

--DT Rob Meier was limited in practice Thursday for the second consecutive day with a knee injury and his condition will be updated Friday.

--G Tutan Reyes was limited in practice Thursday for the second consecutive day with a knee injury and his condition will be updated Friday.

--C Brad Meester practiced again with the first team Thursday, isn't on the injury report and is likely to start Sunday for the first time this year.

--G Chris Naeole practiced again with the first team Thursday, isn't on the injury report and is likely to start Sunday for the first time this year. 

INSIDE THE CAMPS
Browns:

Any chance of Kellen Winslow playing against the Jaguars on Sunday in Jacksonville vanished Thursday when his hearing appealing his suspension by the Browns was pushed pack to Tuesday of next week.

The team suspended Winslow on Tuesday for remarks he made after the Browns lost to the Redskins last Sunday. Winslow revealed he had a staph infection and said the Browns wanted to keep it a secret to protect the organization while putting his teammates at risk.

Winslow probably would not have played anyway because the suspension banished him from practice Wednesday and Thursday. Nor would he practice Friday. Originally, the appeal was to be heard by an arbitrator before Sunday.

With Winslow out of the picture this week, rookie tight end Martin Rucker might be activated for the first time this season.

Rucker caught five passes for 70 yards when the Browns lost to the Jets, 24-20, in the preseason opener on Aug. 7. Four days later on the practice field, he injured his knee and two days after that he had arthroscopic surgery.

Rucker was sidelined for the remainder of the preseason. He was inactive for the first four games of the regular season. He was finally cleared to practice on the Monday before the Browns played the Giants. It was such a momentous occasion that coach Romeo Crennel had Rucker run one sprint on his own before the entire team ran one. Still, Rucker was on the inactive list against the Giants and inactive again against Washington because he was not ready.

Rucker was definitely busy in practice Wednesday because Steve Heiden was sidelined with a pectoral strain. No Winslow and no Heiden gave Rucker the chance to work with the first team. Heiden was back at practice on Thursday.

"I feel good at practice," Rucker said. "Cutting and everything is going well. I'm working back into things. I know if my number is called, I'll be ready."

Rucker said he had to get used to running again when he resumed practicing on Oct. 7.

The Browns took Rucker in the fourth round with the 111th overall pick. He is 6-4, 260 pounds. Winslow is 6-4, 250 pounds. Rucker could be the starter next year if the Browns part with Winslow in the offseason. Rucker started all 50 games in his college career at Missouri and caught 203 passes.

"You always want to be out there playing," Rucker said. "That's why we play this game. We're competitors. Anytime you're sidelined, you have to watch everybody.

"I've watched extra film, studied extra hard, then you go home and study some more."

Ironically, Missouri was the college attended by Winslow's father, Kellen Winslow.

Jaguars:

Wide receiver Matt Jones will continue to play for the Jaguars while he awaits the results of his appeal of a drug suspension.

In his first comments on his pending drug suspension, Jaguars wide receiver Matt Jones said Thursday the NFL hasn't set a date for his appeal so he'll keep playing "until they say I can't."

Jones also said he's now in the NFL's substance abuse program.

"Anytime somebody gets in trouble, they have to do things (mandated by the league). I've met with people (league doctors) and done a lot of stuff since everything has happened. I've been at everything I had to be at and done everything I had to do."

Jones got in trouble last summer when he was arrested on a drug charge in Arkansas. He will avoid jail time if he completes a drug program mandated by the state of Arkansas besides the NFL program.

He said he's also being drug tested by the league.

Although he got a preliminary letter, he said he hasn't been officially suspended.

"I haven't got anything official," he said. "I don't have nothing for you all to see."

Of the status of his appeal, he said, "I don't know the timetable for it. They'll probably talk to my agent (Alan Herman)."

If he loses his appeal and is suspended for up to three games, Jones said he hopes to pick up where he left off when he returns.

"I hope so," he said. "I think me and Dave (Garrard) have a good relationship. It's come more easily for me this year. Some things are kind of clicking. Hopefully, it'll keep up. We'll see how it goes."

Jones also said he didn't think the arrest made him more focused on playing football and helped him become more productive.

"Nothing's changed," he said. "I love football. I've been able to stay healthy this year and I have been playing. It (playing) makes it more enjoyable year. Sitting on the bench isn't fun. There's a lot more joy in it this year."

Jones is leading the team this year with 30 catches.


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