Berea—The Browns are in between the proverbial rock and a hard place.
They face one of the best run stopping defenses in the NFL this Sunday and right in the middle is over 600 pounds of guys named Williams.
Counter that, with the Browns were near the bottom of the NFL in rushing in 2008. Jamal Lewis, who just turned 30, was rumored to have been possibly cut in last week's roster cut down.
"I didn't pay attention to that," Lewis said. "I just continue to do my job."
Lewis is coming off back-to-back 1,000 yard seasons, but averaged just 3.6 yards per carry in 2008. In the preseason, he averaged just 2.6 yards per carry on 24 carries for 63 yards.
"I think Jamal had a good camp," Eric Mangini said. "You see him on tape but you don't know the guy until you get to know him. He's a pro and he works with the young guys whether it's Jerome or James Davis."
Mangini didn't answer a question that was asked him twice if he thought Lewis could still be a 1,000 yard rusher.
"Overall, in terms of the running game, there are things we could've done better," he said. "If we're coordinated, we could do some positive things in the running game."
"They have two guys who are really stout inside and you put them with the other guys they have, they present some challenges," Mangini said. "Defensively, this is an impressive group against the run. They are stout against the run. With Jared Allen, Pat Williams they can create some problems for you."
"They have a top defense," Lewis said. "They have two big guys in there plugging the middle. They try to get you to run outside."
QB Talk: Mangini said he talked with the quarterbacks on Tuesday night and let them know his decision as to the starting quarterback.
In interviews, neither let on what was going to happen.
"I talked to them last night and they both took it exactly the way I expected them to, as pros," Mangini said.
Mangini was asked if it was going to be tough for the players this week.
"I don't think anyone is in an awkward spot to try to maintain a competitive advantage," he said.
The only way to figure out who is starting on Sunday might be by bringing in a body language expert.
"We're getting ready for Minnesota," Brady Quinn said. "It will be better once we get the season started. I think the process will always make the team better and help us to adjust to adversity that might come up."
Derek Anderson had a similar company line. He did say after he talked to the media for a couple of minutes he, hopefully, wouldn't have to talk about it again.
"Both of us support each other," Anderson said. "I thought we played well in the preseason. I think the guys respect both of us."
What about not having chemistry with the first unit.
"We all worked together throughout the preseason and think we're familiar with each other," Anderson said.
Vikings coach Brad Childress said it wouldn't make much difference to them who starts.
"The big thing is we're getting ready for a scheme," Childress said. "Basically, it's getting ready for all the other people in the scheme."
AP: The Browns will get a look at RB Adrian Peterson, who is considered the premier running back in the NFL today.
"Their running game with Adrian Peterson is impressive," Mangini said. "He averaged 4.8 yards a carry with over 300 carries."
Mangini said the Browns defenders have to keep their assignments.
"It's important for us to be coordinated," he said. "At times, we played pretty well, but at other times we had breakdowns. It can't be worked on too much."
The Browns had a chance to draft Peterson but opted for Pro Bowler Joe Thomas with the third pick. The Vikings picked Peterson with the seventh pick.
Facing Favre: Mangini wouldn't say if he knows how to defend QB Brett Favre, since he coached him last year.
"It is not as much fun getting ready for him," he said. "On any given play, he can make things happen. He has excellent arm strength and has good awareness of what is going on. They have some big play guys."
Mangini said he enjoyed his relationship with Favre and considers him a friend.
"Talking to him before acquiring him, he wasn't looking for any special treatment and that's what makes him a special guy," he said. "He's a fun guy to hang around because the way he approaches things."
So what does Favre think of approaching Mangini's defense.
"I'd be curious to see what he says," Mangini said.
Mangini said each of the middle names to his children were named for football related reasons.
"All my children have middle names that are football related," he said.
Mangini said so Jake Harrison was named for Rodney Harrison, while Luke William was for Bill Belichick and Zach Brett was for Brett Favre. He also said Zach was born on Favre's birthday.
Mack or Fraley: Besides the quarterback position, there is some question on who will be playing center when the game starts. Hank Fraley is listed on the depth chart as the starter, but Alex Mack has been getting a lot of the work in the latter part of the preseason.
"They'll both work," Mangini said. "I think it will probably be one more than the other, but they both could play."
Mack just wants to get the regular season started.
"I'm excited to play the game." Mack said.
All Accounted For: In the portion of practice that was open to the media, all the players were on the field. The official injury report wasn't required to be issued until later on Wednesday afternoon.