Berea Report: Huge Win Edition

As the Browns bask in the glow of three wins in four tries, Fred Greetham reports from Berea on the mood of the locker room and (gasp!) good news on the injury front.

Berea—It might be too soon to start talking about playoffs, but despite the Browns poor start, there's still a gleam—to quote Marty Schottenheimer.

However, it's hard to believe that with a 3-4 record the Browns are still in the midst of not only the AFC North race, but the AFC Wild Card hunt.

"We won a big game that we needed to win to keep us in the middle of the pack," Romeo Crennel said. "It was an AFC opponent that when you get down the road has an impact.

"The way the AFC has been this year, it allows you to stay in the pack, it gives us a chance."

With the Steelers (5-2) loss to the Giants, the Browns are just two games behind them and one behind this week's opponent, the Ravens (4-3), in the AFC North.

As far as the AFC Wild Card, New England and Buffalo are both 5-2, while the Jets are 4-3. The Colts are 3-3 heading into tonight's game with the undefeated Titans. The AFC West is lead by the Broncos at 4-3, but the next closest team is the Chargers, who are just 3-5.

This week's game with the Ravens is very important because it is also a division game and the Ravens are currently 2-1 in the division, while the Browns are 1-2.

"(The win) gives us confidence that we can win close games," Joe Thomas said. "We were able to do that last year and if we can do that this year, it will help us as we get down the road."

Crennel thinks the Browns can still play better. The key is to play consistently.

"I'm really proud of the way our guys fought," he said. "They tried to not make mistakes and give the game away. Our guys never quit and kept going and persevered to win the game.

"When this team plays to its ability, we can be pretty good," he said. "That's the nature of the challenge to coaching, is to get them to play their best each game."

NOTEBOOK

Savage Clarify's: GM Phil Savage appeared prior to Crennel's press conference Monday to make a statement regarding the rumors surrounding Kellen Winslow's "mystery" illness.

"Once and for all, it was determined that it was a staph infection," he said. "There was no secondary illness. He's back in the building. End of story."

Savage did not take any questions.

Winslow rejoined the Browns after a week away from the team from a suspension, that ended up being rescinded.

"I'm glad he's back," Crennel said. "I'm not saying he's the starter, but if he starts, I won't be surprised.

"I think he has a good attitude and is excited to be back."

Winslow concurred with his coach.

"I'm happy to be back and move on," he said.

Winslow said he and Savage worked out their differences.

"We spoke about everything and worked out our differences," he said. "I'm ready to get back and just play ball."

He said he watched Sunday's win over the Jaguars.

"It was awesome," he said. "I was proud of us as a team."

Joe Thomas said the team has welcomed him back.

"He's a good team player, who works hard."

What's the Problem?: The Browns have had first down on the one three times in the past two games and have only scored one touchdown. The Browns settled for a field goal after WR Syndric Steptoe had a 53-yard reception to the Jags' one Sunday.

"It's a combination of (poor execution and push)," Crennel said. "It might be a bad matchup and we can't get the push.

"Generally, you tighten up your formation and you have to beat people," he said. "If you can't beat people, you have to try to make that determination."

The Stats: As the Browns near the midway point, RB Jamal Lewis has 484 yards on 129 carries with three touchdowns. WR Braylon Edwards has 22 receptions for 371 yards to lead the team. He also has two touchdowns.

Winslow has 21 receptions for 187 yards and a touchdown. QB Derek Anderson is 104-of-210 for 1235 yards (49.5 percent) with seven touchdowns and six interceptions for a QB rating of 67.1.

Crennel said there's no question that Anderson has been inconsistent, but he said it wasn't all his fault.

"If the supporting cast is consistent around him, then he can be consistent."

Injury Update: Crennel didn't think there were any major injuries to come out of the win over the Jaguars. DL Corey Williams (shoulder)and RB Jamal Lewis were rested last week and they made it through. DB Mike Adams (hamstring), DB Sean Jones (knee), LB Shante Orr (knee), DL Shaun Smith (hand), WR Donte Stallworth (quad), OL Eric Steinbach (hip), OL Ryan Tucker (knee) and FB Lawrence Vickers (ankle) were also mentioned.

Crennel said that Smith was to be re-evaluated to see if he would be cleared to play against the Ravens. He said that they didn't think Jones' or Stallworth's injuries would keep them out.

"There are a lot of bumps and bruises in a game like that, but we'll see who's available as we get through the week," Crennel said.

Game Balls: TE Steve Heiden was awarded a game ball for the offense, while DL Shaun Rogers was awarded the game ball for the defense. The special teams recipient went to KR Josh Cribbs.

Heiden caught three passes, including a 51-yard pass on a fourth-down play that set up RB Jamal Lewis' two-yard touchdown run.

"Heiden has been around here a long time," Crennel said. "He's an all-around good tight end, who does whatever you ask him to do. He's always for the Browns and for the team."

Cribbs was a catalyst on special teams and recovered the fumble on the kickoff.

Rogers had nine tackles, including a sack and a blocked field goal.

"Shaun Rogers had an outstanding game," Crennel said. "He was a force on defense and on special teams. He played hard and hopefully, he enjoys playing here.

"Those guys up front help D'Qwell and the other linebackers. The opponents usually double team Shaun and that helps the linebackers."



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