Thursday Berea Report

The Browns are hoping they can take advantage of a banged-up Broncos secondary; plus, could there be a Ghost sighting in Denver this weekend?

BEREA—When teams go to the Mile High City of Denver, there's always talk about the altitude and rightly so.

However, the Browns hope the thin air, along with the Broncos' thin and young secondary, will be helpful in their passing game.

Two of the Broncos' key starters in the secondary, cornerback Champ Bailey and safety Brian Dawkins, did not practice on Wednesday.

However, fans have learned they can't always trust the injury reports.

Dawkins is a 14-year veteran, who came over to the Broncos as an unrestricted free agent after a Pro Bowl career with the Eagles. He injured his hand, but had a team-high 11 tackles in last week's win over the Bengals.

Bailey, considered by many to be one of the best cornerbacks in the league, is in his 11th season and had seven tackles against the Bengals. He's listed with an ankle injury.

Bailey's backup is listed as Alphonso Smith, who was the Broncos' first pick in the second round from Wake Forest. Andre Goodman is the starter opposite of Bailey.  Jack Williams is the other backup.

Renaldo Hill and Dawkins are the safeties with rookies David Bruton and Darcel McBath as backups. McBath was another second-round pick from Texas Tech, while Bruton was a fourth-round choice from Notre Dame. Another safety, Josh Barrett, was listed as questionable on the injury report with a shoulder injury.

The Browns are expecting the veterans to play. They think they can move the ball through the air, regardless of who plays.

"They have a veteran, physical group of guys," Josh Cribbs said in terms of Bailey, Dawkins and Goodman. "We have to build on our successes."

Mike Furrey feels the Browns offense will be productive.

"This league has totally changed from the 80's and the 90's," Furrey said. "It's about getting first downs and moving the chains. That's what we're working on and as we get our chemistry down, we'll be alright."

Furrey said that offensive chemistry cannot be underestimated.

"Football is the ultimate team sport,"  Furrey said. "If you don't have chemistry, it's hard to be effective. It takes a lot of chemistry to play this game effectively."

Mangini feels rookie Brian Robiskie and Mohamed Massaquoi are coming along and he's confident they can be productive, sooner than later.

"I feel confident with all of our receivers," Mangini said. "I think (wide receivers coach) George McDonald has done a good job with those guys from OTAs until now."

Mangini sees the receivers as just a piece of the puzzle in a productive offense.

"I look at it more in terms of how they played in terms of what we asked them to do," he said. "They can have a really productive season, in terms of helping the team win, without getting 1,000 yards."

Cribbs Ready: WR Josh Cribbs hasn't been covering kickoffs since he's taken on a more prominent role in the wide receiver role, but he said he misses covering kicks.

"I told (the coaches) I'm ready if they need me," he said. "I miss covering kickoffs a lot."

Brown Out: Mangini was asked about his decision to wear brown pants with the white jerseys for road games.

"I think it looked good and the guys felt the same way," Mangini said. "They had used them before and there was nothing more concerning the decision."

Prior to this season, the Browns had worn them only in the preseason game against the Giants in 2008.

Mangini Mum: Mangini didn't elaborate much more on his reportedly being fined $25,000 for his part in not disclosing QB Brett Favre's injury status last year.

"The matter is behind me and I'm focusing on getting ready for Denver," he said. "What I'm always trying to do is make the best decision for the organization and that's what drives me. That's a constant process for me and all the coaches."

Harrison Ready: RB Jerome Harrison is poised to make his first appearance since the opening preseason game with the Packers. He practiced Wednesday and is listed as probable on the injury report with a knee injury.

"He's made great strides over the week, but we thought we would give him another week," Mangini said. "We'll see how he does the rest of the week."

Mangini was asked how Harrison will be used, especially if RB James Davis is unable to play after injuring his shoulder last week.

"It depends on the packages,"  Mangini said. "We might start with one package and the game might dictate it goes another way. You don't know how big or small it might be."

Eric and Randy: Mangini said his relationship with owner Randy Lerner is great.

"He has been great," Mangini said. "I talk to him just about every day. He has given me some of his insight and experiences from Aston Villa. There is carry-over in professional sports. He's committed to the team and the city to winning."

Still Working on Tackling: Not too many NFL teams practice tackling once the regular season starts, but Mangini says the Browns routinely work on it.

"Tackling is a skill set that you have to continue to work on," he said.

The highlight of RB Adrian Peterson pushing off five would-be tacklers last Sunday should be enough inspiration to continue to work on their tackling.


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