Browns-Packers: Game Scout

Scout.com assembles the criticial data for Sunday's battle against the Packers...

Green Bay Packers (3-2) at Cleveland Browns (1-5)

KICKOFF: Sunday, 1:00 ET

GAMEDATE: 10/25/09

SURFACE: Grass

TV: FOX (Ron Pitts, John Lynch)

SERIES: 17th regular-season meeting. Packers lead series 9-7. This will be the first time the Packers have played in Cleveland Browns Stadium. The two former powers in the days before the AFL and NFL merged in 1970 have met twice in Green Bay in the expansion era, with each team winning once.

PREDICTION: Packers 35-7

KEYS TO THE GAME: Browns QB Derek Anderson is completing just 44.4 percent of his passes, but his strong arm forces opponents to respect the deep pass and he gets rid of the ball quicker than Brady Quinn (four fewer sacks in 34 more pass attempts). The ground game remains a concern at just 3.9 yards per carry as Cleveland must win time of possession. Packers QB Aaron Rogers has a 104.5 passer rating but has also taken 25 sacks as he tends to hold the ball too long behind a struggling line. RB Ryan Grant (3.8 yards per carry) also isn't doing enough to create shorter passing downs.

FAST FACTS: RB Ahman Green, signed by the Packers on Wednesday, needs 46 yards to pass Jim Taylor (8,207) as the franchise's all-time leading rusher. ... Browns NT Shaun Rogers leads the NFL with nine blocked field goals since 2004.

PERSONNEL NEWS

Packers:

--WR Greg Jennings didn't practice Thursday and was added to the injury report because of a hip injury that flared up the previous day. The injury isn't considered serious, and Jennings is expected to be OK to play Sunday at the Cleveland Browns.

--LB Brandon Chillar was a Thursday addition to the injury report. He had a neck spasm come on during a team drill in practice Thursday when the players went outside in cool conditions, and he dropped out. Chillar also should have enough time to recover and play Sunday.

--QB Aaron Rodgers made it through a second straight day of a full practice without incident. Rodgers said the foot injury he suffered in the win over the Detroit Lions on Sunday is a non-issue. So, he will be good to make the start against the Browns.

--RB Ahman Green went through his first practice in pads Thursday, a day after he returned to the Packers following a two-year hiatus. Green, who is signed through the end of the season, is targeting his first action of the season to come in the Nov. 1 game against the Minnesota Vikings.

--FB Quinn Johnson returned to practice on a full-time basis after missing Wednesday's workout because of an ankle injury. With Korey Hall out at least one more week because of a calf injury, the Packers are looking to have Johnson, a rookie, complement starter John Kuhn for the second straight game.

--DL B.J. Raji practiced in full for the second straight day and appears on track to play Sunday after the rookie left the last game with an aggravated ankle sprain.

--DE Jarius Wynn hasn't practiced this week because of a hamstring injury, putting the rookie's status likely in doubt for the upcoming game.

Browns:

--KR/WR Josh Cribbs was limited in practice Thursday with a knee injury. He did not practice Wednesday.

--TE Steve Heiden missed practice again Thursday with a knee injury.

--K Phil Dawson missed practice Thursday with a calf injury. He has missed four consecutive games.

--CB Brandon McDonald was limited in practice Thursday with a shoulder injury.

--DE Kenyon Coleman was limited in practice Thursday with a groin injury.

--LB Kamerion Wimbley, who missed the game in Pittsburgh with the flu, returned to practice Thursday. He was limited.

--NT Shaun Rogers, who was ill but played against the Steelers, returned to practice Thursday. He was limited.


INSIDE THE CAMPS

Packers:

Packers coach Mike McCarthy advocates a policy that if a player doesn't practice leading up to a game, he's not going to play.

McCarthy admitted Thursday, however, that there can be exceptions to the rule, and one of those could involve veteran left tackle Chad Clifton.

"When you deal with players that have played 10 years, it's really based on do you think he's prepared to play," McCarthy said. "And, if I think he's prepared to play, then he'll play, and if I don't, then he won't play."

McCarthy has left the window slightly ajar for Clifton to play in the game Sunday at the Cleveland Browns even if he doesn't step onto the practice field this week.

Clifton has been sidelined since aggravating a right ankle sprain in the second half of the win over the Detroit Lions last Sunday. It was Clifton's first game back from the injury he originally sustained in Week 2.

"I had a chance to watch him go through the rehab (Thursday)," McCarthy said. "He's definitely further ahead than he was last week. So, we'll see how he feels in the morning."

McCarthy put Clifton's chances of practicing Friday at 50-50.

For the here and now, the Packers have been preparing rookie T.J. Lang to make his first pro start at Clifton's spot.

Meanwhile, Green Bay's offensive line could be without Jason Spitz for the second straight game.

Spitz continues to nurse back spasms that flared up in practice last week and kept him from making the start at center against the Lions.

Scott Wells would be up at center for the fourth game in a row. Wells lost his job to Spitz in the preseason but was back in the lineup after Clifton was injured the first time and a line shift ensued, with Daryn Colledge going from left guard to left tackle and Spitz from center to left guard.

Veteran right tackle Mark Tauscher, who re-signed with the team Oct. 12, is making progress toward playing for the first time in 2009 after recovering from major knee surgery done in January. Tauscher has participated in team drills, albeit on a limited basis, the last two days.

McCarthy said Tauscher is "a stretch" to be ready for Sunday. The Nov. 1 game against the Minnesota Vikings would be more realistic for the 10th-year player to get on the field.

Browns:

The Browns have fought through quarterback controversies, a four-game losing streak to start the season and learning their best receiver was accused of punching a man outside a bar hours after he failed to catch a pass in an overtime game loss to the Bengals. Three days later, the offending player, Braylon Edwards, was traded to the Jets.

Now the Browns are fighting a flu bug that forced 12 players to miss practice Wednesday. On the bright side, the worst might be over, because only 10 of the 12 stayed home Thursday as the Browns tried to isolate ill players. Also, no additional players have fallen ill.

"This is new ground for me," coach Eric Mangini said.

Linebacker Kamerion Wimbley missed the game in Pittsburgh with the flu. He returned to practice Thursday. Nose tackle Shaun Rogers was ill but played against the Steelers. He also returned to practice. Both were limited. The Browns are hopeful the rest will recover to play against the Packers on Sunday in Cleveland.

"That's a positive," Mangini said. "In terms of the rest of the group coming back, we're still not sure yet, but we're going to just be as cautious as we can with this to make sure that we don't go into the weekend and put the group that hasn't had it in a position where they could get it."

Absent again Thursday were four starters -- center Alex Mack, safety Brodney Pool, tight end Robert Royal and fullback Lawrence Vickers.

Running back Jerome Harrison, defensive back Anthony Madison, wide receiver Chansi Stuckey, linebacker Jason Trusnik, defensive end Corey Williams and practice squad player Brian Schaefering also missed practice Thursday after missing practice Wednesday.

Two players Mangini did not identify were diagnosed with Influenza A. Swine flu is a strain of Influenza A. More could end up with Influenza A, pending testing.

"The presumption is it's swine flu," Mangini said. "We're going through the process of talking to the league and documenting the different things to see where we are. It's open communication, so I'm not sure where it will be."

The league has set up a contingency plan during this flu epidemic. Teams with at least six diagnosed cases of swine flu can promote players from their practice squad to fill the spots of the ill players on game day. The roster moves can be made up to four hours before kickoff. The Browns are hopeful it doesn't get to that point.

Wimbley was eager to get back to practice. He said he feels much better than he did Saturday or Sunday.

"If I could have been out there (against the Steelers), I would have been," Wimbley said. "It was tough. I had to watch the game on TV. I would have preferred being out there, but you have to put the team first."

Wimbley leads the Browns with four sacks.


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