Berea Report: Dinged RB Edition

The Bills went and broke our back-up running backs! What shall the Browns do? It may very well involve one Mr. Josh Cribbs...

Berea—Will there be a changing of the guard at running back?

Probably not—at least this week.

The Browns are a bit dinged up at the running back position, particularly with Jamal Lewis' backups Jerome Harrison and Jason Wright.

Romeo Crennel said he will employ a couple of defensive backs in practice to run the scout team. The Browns have rookie Allen Patrick from Oklahoma on the practice squad, as well.

Crennel said that Harrison (hamstring) and Wright (stinger) would not practice on Wednesday.

"Any time you get a fast guy with a hamstring, that's a concern," Crennel said of Harrison, who's coming off an 80-yard rushing game on just three carries, including a touchdown. He was injured on the 21-yard pass reception he had to set up a field goal.

If Harrison and Wright can't play against the Texans, an option would be Josh Cribbs.

"I think we might expand his package, so he knows what we've been working on," Crennel said. "Some of that involves running the ball."

Some have expressed concern that Cribbs runs upright, but that hasn't affected his kickoff and punt returns.

"I've seen guys run upright and be effective," Crennel said. "He has to take more hits, and then it becomes more an issue of durability. Josh is a tough kid and whatever we ask him to do, he will give his best."

Lewis agreed.

"I think Cribbs could be good anywhere he is put on the field," Lewis said. "He's an athlete and can do so many things."

So does Brady Quinn.

"He has the ability to score any time he's back there," he said. "He brings a different dynamic."

There is concern that Lewis might be on the downward cycle at the age of 29, but Crennel disagrees.

Lewis has 658 yards on 185 carries with four touchdowns. His average is just 3.6 yards per carry, with a long of 29 yards, which is well below his career average of 4.2. Contrast that to 2007, when he had 298 carries for 1,304 yards with nine touchdowns and an average of 4.4 yards per carry.

"The running back position gets beat up pretty good in their career," Crennel said . "As far as Jamal, he doesn't have the yardage he did last year without the breakout runs. At the halfway point, he wasn't that far off, but let's just see what he does in the final six games of the season."

Crennel was asked why Lewis hasn't had any 100-yard games this season.

"I don't know," he said. "Maybe we haven't blocked as efficiently to help him. He hasn't had any breakout runs like he did last year to get him over the century mark."

Lewis had a 66-yard touchdown run in 2007.

Lewis thinks it's just a matter of not enough opportunities.

"The opportunities haven't presented themselves," Lewis said. "I was always getting 25-30 carries (in previous years).

"I do my best work when I get the feel for what the defense is doing."

Lewis thinks he and Harrison can work together well.

"I think we complement each other well," Lewis said. "A defense can't approach him the same way they approach me. He's much more of a scat back."


Brady Speak: QB Brady Quinn said he feels that he's learning to make the adjustments needed as defenses throw different looks at him.

"I expect pressure every week," he said. "My confidence has always been there and I think I'll get better at making quicker decisions as time goes on."

In his two starts, Quinn has yet to throw an interception, although the Bills had a couple of opportunities.

Walking Wounded: Crennel had a long list of players who did not practice on Wednesday including, RB Jerome Harrison (hamstring), DB Sean Jones (ankle), LB Willie McGinest (rest), DL Shaun Rogers (shoulder), DL Shaun Smith (calf), FB Lawrence Vickers (ankle), DL Corey Williams (shoulder), TE Kellen Winslow (shoulder) and RB Jason Wright (burner).

Crennel said McGinest and Rogers have been rested in recent weeks and continued to play.

"Everyone else, we'll just have to wait-and-see," he said. "Several of the guys have rested and played on Sundays."

Crennel said Winslow sprained his shoulder on his final catch against the Bills, but it is not the shoulder he injured last season. Crennel is hopeful Winslow will be ready.

"It's going to depend on his strength and movement," he said. " If he gets the range of motion, he will be able to go."

Crennel said he doesn't think his injury is worse than what he played through in 2007.

"No. I don't think it is worse," he said. "It's sore. The main issue is his strength and range of motion."

Braylon Better: Crennel said he feels that WR Braylon Edwards is playing better than he was earlier in the season.

"He caught seven in a row in one stretch, which is pretty good," Crennel said. "I think he's still pretty confident. He was pressing at the beginning of the year and now he's just playing the game and not letting a bad play affect his play."

Edwards said he and Quinn have been getting on the same page.

"We were getting in a zone and wanted to just keep it going," he said. "We were just taking what they gave us."

Edwards has been impressed with Quinn.

"He's coming into his own," Edwards said. "He's getting more and more comfortable out there."

The OBR Top Stories