Dorsey Preps for Titans

The Browns emergency quarterbacks vows to give his all against Tennessee. Scout.com provides a look at the Browns as they prepare for a team that could clinch a playoff spot with a win...

Dorsey was 2-8 as a starter with the 49ers. Coincidentally, Dorsey's last start was against the Titans on Nov. 27, 2005, as a quarterback with San Francisco.

The Browns traded Trent Dilfer to the 49ers on May 4, 2006, for Dorsey and a seventh-round draft choice in 2007.

"I'm going to work hard for the guys in this locker room and the city of Cleveland," Dorsey said. "There's no doubt every time I step onto the field I'm going to give everything I have."

Dorsey will not have former Miami Hurricane teammate Kellen Winslow as a target Sunday. Winslow will miss the game in Tennessee with a sprained ankle. Winslow caught 11 passes from Dorsey for 177 yards and one touchdown in the 2002 championship game when Ohio State beat Miami, 31-24, in the Fiesta Bowl.

The Browns are down to their third quarterback because of injuries to Brady Quinn and Derek Anderson. Quinn is on injured reserve with a broken finger. Anderson suffered a torn left MCL playing against the Colts and is on I.R.

The Browns signed Bruce Gradkowski to back up Dorsey. Josh Cribbs is getting some work at quarterback. He played quarterback at Kent State, but he has been with the Browns since 2005 and has not thrown a pass in a regular season game.

"The thing we do know about Josh is whatever we ask him to do, he does it full speed, gung-ho," Coach Romeo Crennel said. "If we asked him to be the quarterback he'd put everything he had into being the quarterback. Whether we ask him to do that or not, in the next couple days we'll make a decision."

Anderson was injured with 1:07 to play against the Colts. The Browns trailed and had first down on the Cleveland 45. Anderson dropped back to pass. Colts left end Robert Mathis plowed into tackle Kevin Shaffer and knocked Shaffer backward as though with a taser. Shaffer fell into Anderson's left knee and then Mathis grabbed Anderson's left leg and pulled him to the ground.

Anderson signed a three-year, $24 million contract extension in March after going 10-5 last season. He was the starter from the beginning of training camp this season.

Everything that could go wrong did go wrong. His favorite receiver, Braylon Edwards, was spiked while running sprints in his stocking feet on Aug. 9. Edwards missed the last three preseason games and has never gotten untracked. He has dropped a league-high 17 passes.

Anderson suffered a concussion playing against the Giants on Aug. 18 and missed the final two preseason games. He was rusty early.

The Browns started 0-3. They were 3-5 when Anderson was benched. Quinn replaced him and was 1-2 before being ticketed for I.R.

Even before Anderson's knee injury, Crennel said Quinn will be the starter next year. And though another coach might be making the decisions two months from now, Anderson seems convinced his days playing for the Browns are over.

SERIES HISTORY: 60th regular-season meeting. Browns lead the series, 33-26. The Browns of the expansion era have played the Titans eight times and are 3-5 against them, but this rivalry goes back to 1970 in the days when the Titans were the Houston Oilers. They met once in the playoffs. Using Don Strock and Mike Pagel at quarterback because Bernie Kosar was injured, the Browns lost the playoff game, 24-23, in 1988. It was the final Browns game coached by Marty Schottenheimer.

 

NOTES, QUOTES

--One theory why Braylon Edwards has dropped 17 passes this season is he is not seeing the ball clearly. He says that isn't the problem.

"I haven't had my eyes checked, and I don't think me dropping passes has anything to do with my eyes," he said. "I never had eye problems. I've always had great vision. We had an eye test, and I could always see from afar and up close with both eyes."

--Ken Dorsey will be the Browns' 12th starting quarterback in 10 years when he lines up against the Titans on Sunday. The others are Ty Detmer, Tim Couch, Doug Pederson, Kelly Holcomb, Spergon Wynn, Luke McCown, Jeff Garcia, Trent Dilfer, Charlie Frye, Derek Anderson and Brady Quinn.

--Games against the Titans are bookends defining Chris Palmer's short career as Browns head coach. The Browns lost their opener as an expansion team in 1999, 43-0, to Pittsburgh. The next day Palmer announced he was benching Detmer to start Couch against the Titans on the road. Tennessee won, 26-9. Palmer's last game as head coach was a 24-0 loss to the Titans in the final game of 2000.

--When the Browns lost 16-6 to the Texans and 10-6 to the Colts, it marked the first time since games 14 and 15 in 2005 that they went back-to-back games without scoring a touchdown.

--Defensive coordinator Mel Tucker is under scrutiny because his unit has tackled poorly and has been burned by long touchdown passes, including a 47-yarder from Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco to Mark Clayton and a 93-yard play from Broncos quarterback Jay Cutler to Eddie Royal. But barring a total collapse in the last four games, the Browns will show improvement from last year in the most important category - points allowed. They allowed 382 points last season and have allowed 247 this year.

--The Browns are 4-8. The teams that have beaten them this season have an aggregate record of 60-36, a record that doubles the 8-4 record of Baltimore because the Ravens beat them twice. The teams they have beaten have an aggregate record of 22-25-1. Half of those victories belong to the Giants.

BY THE NUMBERS: 17 -- Interceptions by the Browns with four games left equals their interception total of 2007.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "It's frustrating now that we have to change again. Derek is a tough guy. He would battle if he could. It's disappointing that the knee won't allow him to." -- Guard Eric Steinbach, on the season-ending knee injury to Derek Anderson.

 

STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL

The Browns signed free-agent reserve quarterback Bruce Gradkowski, a third-year player who was with Tampa Bay in 2006 and 2007, because they were down to their third quarterback, Ken Dorsey. Gradkowski said he is confident he will have enough understanding of the offense by Sunday to play if anything happens to Dorsey.

Gradkowski played in 13 games with 11 starts in 2006 and appeared in four games last year. The Buccaneers drafted him in the sixth round from Toledo in 2006.

Gradkowski completed 177 of 328 passes for 1,661 yards and nine touchdowns as a rookie. He threw nine interceptions. He completed 13 of 24 passes for 130 yards and an interception last year. The Buccaneers cut Gradkowski on June 2. He was with the Rams in training camp and was released Aug. 31.

"We felt like we needed somebody that had actually played in an NFL game and Bruce has played in several of them and has won a couple of them," coach Romeo Crennel said. "We felt like that would be important to us going forward, so that's why we added him to the team.

"Plus, in the Rams system, their terminology is similar to our terminology so that makes that transition just a little bit easier."

The Browns also worked out Tim Rattay before settling on Gradkowski.

 

PLAYER NOTES

--FB Charles Ali missed practice Wednesday with a rib injury.

--TE Kellen Winslow has already been ruled out of the game against the Titans because of a sprained ankle.

--Coach Romeo Crennel said rookie TE Martin Rucker will become more involved in the game plan with Kellen Winslow unable to play.

--DL Shaun Smith was held from practice because of a nagging calf injury. He played with the injury last week.

--WR Syndric Steptoe did not practice because of an ankle injury.

--DE Corey Williams did not practice because of a laceration on his arm.

--QB Brady Quinn had his broken right index finger tip surgically repaired on Wednesday in Birmingham, Ala.

GAME PLAN: The Browns have to curtail the offense for Ken Dorsey, not because he doesn't know it but because he does not have the arm strength to make all the throws.

The Titans have 34 sacks. Dorsey will likely pass after a three-step drop to minimize the pass rush. Dorsey had very little work with the starting receivers in his three years with the Browns until practice Wednesday. Their timing could be off on Sunday.

MATCHUPS TO WATCH: Browns C Hank Fraley and LG Eric Steinbach vs. Titans DT Albert Haynesworth. Fraley and Steinbach will be double-teaming Haynesworth most of the day. Haynesworth leads the Titans with 8.5 sacks and 19 quarterback pressures. It is not a favorable match-up for the Browns. The Browns, though, have done a good job protecting their quarterbacks. They have allowed 15 sacks this year.

Browns LB D'Qwell Jackson vs. Titans RB Chris Johnson. Jackson leads the Browns with 136 tackles. Johnson will be one of his biggest challenges this season because the rookie running back is so quick. Johnson has rushed for 958 yards on 203 carries, an average of 4.7 yards a carry.

INJURY IMPACT: Not having Kellen Winslow (ankle) as a target is a big loss for Ken Dorsey. Steve Heiden can catch the ball, but Dorsey and Winslow have a chemistry carryover from their days at the University of Miami. The other injured players, with the possible exception backup fullback Charles Ali (ribs) should be ready to play by Sunday.

 

 


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