Berea -- It could be argued that Shaun Rogers would be the Browns' most valuable player if the season were to end today.
The 6-4, 350 pound behemoth has been largely (no pun intended) responsible for the Browns improvement on the defensive side of the ball. The team is ranked 21st defensively in the NFL, but they are seventh in points allowed.
Rogers is third on the team with 37 tackles, including two tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks. The big man has 10 QB pressures to lead the team, to go along with leading the team in sacks. He has a blocked field goal and a fumble recovery from last Sunday's win over the Jaguars. He also was credited with nine tackles and a sack.
"Nine tackles for a nose tackle and a sack and blocking a kick and then recovering it," head coach Romeo Crennel said. "I told him he needed to pick it up and run it in for a touchdown. That was good production."
"Shaun Rogers is pretty good, but he's still learning," Crennel said. "His size and speed is pretty rare. A guy like Shaun comes along once in a lifetime. I'm glad we got him."
With the injuries, Rogers has been forced to play more than what was originally expected.
"My philosophy is to play the best you have and I think Shaun understands that," Crennel said. "I'm sure there's been times when he has been winded, but he understands what he has to do."
Rogers came to the Browns from the Lions in a trade for Leigh Bodden and a third-round draft choice. He was labeled as somewhat of a malcontent while with the Lions, but Crennel hasn't seen that.
"I've seen situations occur before where in New England where guys were supposed to be a problem but with a change of scenery there was no problem," he said. "Sometimes, a change of scenery can impact a player. Any time you bring a new player to your team you go by what you see.
"Since he's been here, anytime he walks in the door, he's been a good citizen and a productive player."
Crennel thinks Rogers can get better in the 3-4.
"He's still learning the scheme and how he fits in it," he said. "I think he can get better. Sometimes, it doesn't show up in number of tackles. Sometimes, it forces people to run away from him."
Crennel said Rogers ranks right up there with some of the best he's coached. Crennel compared him to Ted Washington in his prime and Tim Goad.
"I coached Ted in his younger days and he was pretty good in his younger days," Crennel said. "In terms of technique,Tim Goad was pretty good."
Rogers has obviously caught the eye of his opponents.
"He's a very good player," Ravens' quarterback Joe Flacco said Wednesday in a conference call. "He has to be addressed because he can be disruptive force."
Rogers' statistics are on pace to surpass his best season since 2004 when he had 75 tackles and four sacks with the Lions. His best season was his rookie year in 2001 when he had 97 tackles and 3.5 sacks. His best season with sacks was last year with the Lions when he had just 66 tackles and seven sacks.
Rogers went to the Pro Bowl twice while with the Lions, after the 2004 and 2005 seasons.
"I'm just trying to win a game," Rogers said. "I'm not worried about those votes now. It's about wins and losses. We try to put ourselves in position to, hopefully, get to the playoffs. That's all we're trying to do."
Rogers doesn't think his success is based on any particular technique or style.
"There are a lot of big guys in this league and I would not say this is all technique," he said. "A lot plays a part in this."
Rogers thinks the Browns improved their run defense against the Jaguars last week, who are know as a power running team.
"I think we've done a good job," he said. "We knew people would try to run on us because somebody had a big day against us last week. So, we went out there and tried to fix the things we worked on during the week and we came out successful."
Crennel was asked why it seems as though Rogers likes to play for him.
"I think he likes playing for me because we're similar in size," Crennel said. "I respect the players and I think they appreciate that."
Reason for Improvement: Crennel was asked what are some of the reasons the Browns have won three of their last four games.
"We've improved on the penalties," he said. "That was a big problem earlier. We were doing about 10 or more and if we can keep improving, maybe we can win some more games.
"Also, I think this 2008 team is improving and putting the pieces together."
Injury Update: Crennel said DB Sean Jones (knee), OL Ryan Tucker (knee), FB Lawrence Vickers and DL Corey Williams (shoulder) will not practice on Wednesday. DB Mike Adams (hamstring), LB Shante Orr (knee), WR Donte Stallworth (quad) and DL Shaun Smith (hand) will be limited.
Crennel said he wasn't concerned that Jones' condition was serious.
"We're just resting him a couple of days," he said. "Although he's back, he's a head of schedule and we just want to rest him."
Rogers to the Rescue: Crennel was asked if any thought was made regarding using Rogers in goal line situations on offense.
"We talked about that a little bit, but he said he wanted the ball."
Magic Number: When RB Jamal Lewis gets 20 carries, the Browns are 3-0 this season. In the first Ravens' game, Lewis had nearly half the number of carries.
"We're seeing if we can be more balanced on the offensive front."
Not Looking Good for Joe: Although Crennel didn't announce that WR Joe Jurevicius would be placed on season-ending injured reserve, he did say that it "didn't look good" regarding him returning this season.
Crennel said the team would come out with a statement later this week regarding Jurevicius.