Notebook: Browns' secondary depleted

The Cleveland Browns are in a desperate situation, but will the Steelers take advantage?

PITTSBURGH – In last year's second meeting, a narrow win by the Steelers, the Cleveland Browns started Sean Jones, Brodney Pool, Leigh Bodden and Eric Wright in the secondary. Now, only Wright, the undistinguished second-year cornerback, is expected to play Sunday night against the Steelers.

Pool missed the opener with a concussion and may not play Sunday; Bodden was traded to the Detroit Lions; and Jones underwent knee surgery yesterday. The Browns' secondary is so depleted, former cornerback Ty Law might come off the street to play safety -- unless John Lynch beats him to it.

The Dallas Cowboys attacked the Browns' secondary to the tune of 320 passing yards last Sunday in a 28-10 win, but the Steelers say that's not their style.

"Yes, they're getting ripped," said Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward, "but we're not going to go out and change our philosophy. If we go out and throw the ball 48, 50 times and something bad happens, people are going to want to know why we didn't run Willie Parker. We're going to continue doing what we're doing. When plays present themselves in the passing game, we have to take advantage of it."

Pool did return for limited time in practice on Wednesday. But even if he plays, the Browns' secondary should be ripe for the plucking.

Veteran castoffs Terry Cousin and Travis Daniels are behind Wright and 2007 fifth-round draft pick Brandon McDonald at cornerback. Mike Adams and Nick Sorensen are the backup safeties.

"Hopefully we can exploit some of the inexperienced corners who really haven't had that much playing time," Ward said. "They're definitely limited in the secondary, but they have pride and I'm sure will come out and do a good job."


Willie Parker was named AFC Offensive Player of the Week for the third time in his career.

Parker carried 25 times for 138 yards and three touchdowns in the Steelers' 38-17 win over the Houston Texans. The three touchdowns surpassed by one Parker's 2007 season total.

"He's a little ball of muscle," said Ben Roethlisberger. "He's not the biggest guy. He's not Jerome Bettis. But he's very strong, has good balance, and he's very quick. If he needs to bounce it outside, which he did a couple times, he can do that. He's a presence down there (at the goal line). We need to acknowledge how good he is down there."


Roethlisberger's college go-to receiver, Martin Nance, was signed to the Steelers' practice squad on Tuesday. Nance had 1,498 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns as a sophomore with Roethlisberger at Miami (Ohio) in 2003. But a knee injury midway through the 2004 season brought up health questions the following season and Nance was passed over in the draft.

"My favorite times with Ben were probably just the times we got to spend with our coach Terry Hoepner," Nance said. "He'd have us over to take it easy, kick back, relax, hot tub, rest any injuries we had. We spent time with him and I have some good memories."

Steel City Insider Top Stories