Browns-Rats: It's Gameday!

Here's the info for a game that is not only important, but.... we don't LIKE these guys! GO BROWNS!!

Live Blogs | Game Thread | Game Chat Room | Photos

GAME SNAPSHOT

KICKOFF: Sunday, 1:00 ET

GAMEDATE: 11/02/08

SURFACE: Grass

TV: CBS (Kevin Harlan, Rich Gannon)

SERIES: 20th regular-season meeting. Ravens lead series, 12-7. The Ravens have lost three of the past four games in Cleveland. In their earlier meeting this season, interceptions by Ed Reed and Chris McAlister in the third quarter turned the game around for the Ravens. McAlister's pick set up a 1-yard touchdown run by Le'Ron McClain, and Reed returned his interception 32 yards for a score.

PREDICTION: Browns 20-19

KEYS TO THE GAME: The blueprint for beating the Ravens has been stopping their ground game and then flustering rookie QB Joe Flacco into mistakes. Unfortunately for the Browns, they managed just one sack in the first meeting and have only 11 for the season. The Ravens have also implemented a new wrinkle with backup QB Troy Smith on the field with Flacco at times, creating another facet the Browns must prepare for. ... The Browns held the ball for just 22:12 compared to the Ravens' 37:48 in the first meeting as RB Jamal Lewis got just 12 carries. Cleveland should be more effective moving the ball in the rematch with WRs Braylon Edwards and Donte' Stallworth working against a more vulnerable Ravens secondary minus CB Chris McAlister. But the real key is QB Derek Anderson reading the Ravens' defense well and avoiding major mistakes like the three picks he threw in Baltimore in Week 2.

Key Injuries: Ravens: McAlister is out; CB Samari Rolle (neck) has a good chance to play; OL Adam Terry (knee) could return at right guard or tackle. Browns: DB Mike Adams (hamstring) and SS Sean Jones (knee) are uncertain; DL Shaun Smith (hand) should play.

Need to know: Flacco has thrown two touchdowns and three interceptions in three road games. ... The Browns are 5-0 since 2007 when Lewis has at least 25 carries.

PERSONNEL NEWS

Ravens:

--CB Derrick Martin was placed on injured reserve with a shoulder injury. Martin said it's possible he may need shoulder surgery. In August, he tore sutures in his shoulder stemming from a repair procedure during the offseason.

--K Steve Hauschka was promoted from the practice squad to take the spot of CB Derrick Martin, who was placed on injured reserve.

--OT Jared Gaither did not practice Thursday because of a neck injury. He could not participate in weight-lifting. This is not a good sign. Gaither might miss his first game of the season. He would be replaced by Adam Terry.

--OT Adam Terry could start for Jared Gaither (neck) at left tackle. Terry missed last Sunday's game after having his knee scoped. He had started the season at right tackle.

--CB Chris McAlister missed his second straight practice and likely won't play. He could be placed on injured reserve by the end of the week.

--CB Samari Rolle returned to practice but did not take part in any contact (he wore a red jersey). Rolle had neck surgery earlier this month. He is likely a game-time decision.

Browns:

--SS Sean Jones practiced on a limited basis Thursday after being held out Wednesday with a swollen knee.

--The workload for DB Mike Adams increased Thursday. Adams was limited Wednesday after missing two games with a hamstring injury.

--RB Jamal Lewis was given Thursday off to save wear and tear on his body.

--OL Ryan Tucker was forced to miss practice again with a sore knee. The injury kept him out of the last two games.

--FB Lawrence Vickers missed practice with an ankle injury.

INSIDE THE CAMPS

Ravens:

When the Ravens play the Cleveland Browns, they will be facing one of their bigger mistakes.

In the 2007 offseason, the Ravens failed to re-sign running back Jamal Lewis and traded for Willis McGahee.

Nearly 21 months later, the statistics and the money indicate this was a misstep.

In 22 games with the Cleveland Browns, Lewis has averaged 81.2 yards a game and has scored 12 touchdowns. In 21 games with the Ravens, McGahee has rushed for 74.1 yards a game and reached the end zone 10 times.

The Ravens should have gotten more in return because of the amount of their investment.

The team signed McGahee to a seven-year, $40.12 million contract that included $13.5 million in bonuses. The Ravens also gave away three draft picks to Buffalo for McGahee, including two third-rounders (one of which was eventually used for quarterback Trent Edwards).

The Browns lured Lewis to Cleveland with a one-year, $2.5 million deal in 2007 (he received a $2 million performance bonus at the end of the season) and retained him with a three-year, $17 million contract.

The Ravens made that commitment to McGahee because they were getting a running back who was two years younger and had less wear-and-tear on his body.

But McGahee has been the one who is getting beat up these days. Nine weeks into the season, he has dealt with injuries to his knee, eyes, ribs and now ankle.

McGahee has surpassed 64 yards just once this season and has averaged less than three yards a carry in three of his past four games.

Lewis, meanwhile, has been a model of consistency. After being held to 56 yards by the Ravens, he has gained at least 79 yards in four straight games.

In fairness to the Ravens, it was difficult to predict this resurgence in Lewis.

In his final two seasons with the Ravens, he had not looked like the same running back, failing to average 4.0 yards a carry. But there was hope that he would rebound that next season because he would enter the offseason healthier than he had been in years.

It would be interesting to see whom they would give the ball -- and their money -- to if they had the chance to do it over again.

Meanwhile, the Ravens placed Derrick Martin on injured reserve, ending the season of the team's most promising cornerback. Martin is the second Ravens player to be placed on injured reserve this week, joining receiver Demetrius Williams (who is expected to undergo surgery on a bone spur on his left ankle Monday).

Martin said it's possible he may need shoulder surgery. In August, he tore sutures in his shoulder stemming from a repair procedure during the offseason.

Suspended for the season opener for violating the NFL's substance-abuse policy, Martin finished the season with just one special teams tackle.

Rookie kicker Steve Hauschka was promoted from the practice squad to the active roster to take Martin's spot.

Cornerback Anwar Phillips, who was recently cut, was re-signed to the practice squad.

Browns:

Shaun Rogers has been everything the Browns hoped he would be and more since they acquired him over the winter from the Lions in a trade for Leigh Bodden and a third-round draft choice.

Seven games into the season, Rogers is third on the Browns with 37 tackles and he leads the team with 3.5 sacks. He will try to add to those totals Sunday when the Browns host the Ravens in an AFC North game.

"I was messing with him last week," Browns quarterback Derek Anderson said. "He said, 'You're lucky I'm on your team.' I said, 'You're right. You're right.'"

Coach Romeo Crennel gets credit for bringing out the best in Rogers. He might have some issues with clock management at the end of a half or a game, but players respond to his coaching. Rogers said getting a chance to play for Crennel is one reason he agreed to be traded to the Browns.

Rogers was painted as lazy in Detroit. The Lions were willing to take a third-round and a fifth-round pick from the Bengals for him. When that trade fell apart, they made the deal with the Browns.

"It's a good thing to have a big coach and a defensive-minded coach," Rogers said. "He might understand me more than some other people. He's known as a player's coach and a good coach. Guy's respect him and don't mind putting it on the line for him."

Rogers and Corey Williams were acquired by general manager Phil Savage to improve the run defense. Opponents are averaging 141.6 yards a game, which puts the Browns at 24th, but the main reason they beat the Jaguars is they held Maurice Jones-Drew and Fred Taylor to a combined 53 yards on 20 carries.

On one sequence, with the Browns leading 17-14 in the fourth quarter, Rogers stopped Jones-Drew for no gain on third-and-2 from the Browns 20, then he blocked a field-goal try by Josh Scobee and recovered the blocked kick on the Browns 41. Crennel joked, saying Rogers should have picked up the ball and ran for a touchdown too.

"I think a guy like Shaun comes around once in a lifetime, basically," Crennel said. "You just don't find guys that have that kind of size, quickness and speed every day. I'm glad we got him.

"He's still learning the scheme and how he fits in it. I think he can get better. Getting better doesn't always equate to more tackles. A lot of times it equates to forcing the teams to run away from you and things like that. I think that as he gets better we'll appreciate his impact on the defense."

Rogers says his quickness is a blessing. He said his success is a reflection of the players around him. He does not want to rehash the Detroit days, but he says he is very happy to be with the Browns.

"It's genetics," he said. "I don't do anything special. I'm sure I don't work any harder or any less than other guys around the league. I guess it's just a blessing.

"I'm still learning this defense. There's a lot more to understand about this defense. It's complex. I'm taking my time and trying to play it along the way."



The OBR Top Stories