Game SnapShot: Arizona at Cleveland

<b>Game SnapShot</b><br> <b>KICKOFF:</b> Sunday, 1:00 ET<br> <b>GAMEDATE:</b> 11/16/03<br> <b>SURFACE:</b> Grass<br> <b>TV: </b>FOX, Scott Graham, Dale Hallestrae <br> <b>SERIES:</b> 47th meeting against the Cardinals, but only the seventh since 1974. The Browns lead the series 32-11-1, but lost the last time the team's players, 29-21 in Phoenix in 2000. In that game, the Browns blew a 14-point lead. It was a loss that contributed to the firing of coach Chris Palmer.

Cardinals: offense 23rd (22nd rush, 18th pass); defense 9th (11th rush, 13th pass). Browns: offense 31st (26th rush, 28th pass); defense 10th (22nd rush, 5th pass)

Cardinals 21, Browns 16

The Browns are three-games below .500 for the first time under coach Butch Davis, but they're only two games back of first-place Baltimore and the offense is as healthy as it has been since Week 2. RB James Jackson will continue to start in place of suspended William Green. He plays an important role in providing more manageable third-down situations for QB Kelly Holcomb. The Cardinals play their second consecutive road game against the AFC North after last week's rout at the hands of Pittsburgh. It is crucial to stay close and keep RB Marcel Shipp involved in the game plan. The offense is much better at run blocking, and the Browns have allowed a handful of huge games to good running backs.

Cardinals: WR Anquan Boldin leads NFL rookies with 56 catches and 790 receiving yards. ... QB Jeff Blake is 22-7 in his career when he starts a game and completes at least 60 percent of his passes. Browns: The offense has converted just right of its past 39 third-down opportunities. ... Cleveland is 6-1 (.857) when WR Andre Davis has a touchdown reception.



-- TE Freddie Jones has 35 receptions and is on pace for the fourth 50-catch season of his career, but he and his wife, Miesha, a former national-class sprinter in track, got a scare on his day off Tuesday. They were injured in a multiple-car accident while returning from a visit to San Diego. He did not practice on Wednesday. Neither is believed to be injured seriously. He is expected to play Sunday, according to the team.

-- LG Cameron Spikes, who has taken every snap this season, has his streak on the line after suffering a broken thumb and bruised ribs last weekend at Pittsburgh. He did not practice Wednesday but could play. If he does not, Frank Garcia, the projected starter going into training camp, could see his first action of the year at LG.

-- LG Frank Garcia, the projected starter going into training camp, hadn't played a down before he was called to duty at C last weekend after starter Pete Kendall suffered a stinger. Now, Garcia might get his first action at LG after Cameron Spikes, who has taken every snap there, suffered a broken thumb. Garcia lost the job to Spikes while serving a four-game league-imposed suspension for having sued a product that contained the banned substance Ephedrine.

-- C Pete Kendall (stinger) is expected to play. If he goes down again (he's had two in three weeks) the team might have to turn to Chris Dishman if backup C Frank Garcia is playing LG to cover for Cameron Spikes' injuries. Coaches also could place Dishman at LG and Garcia at C. Both have multi-position capability.

-- DE Calvin Pace, a rookie first-round draft pick who has started every game on the right side, sat out practice on a rain-slicked field to protect himself from further injuring a strained groin. He is expected to play Sunday.

-- QB Jeff Blake gave everyone a scare when he banged his knee and left practice. He is believed to be fine, however, and does not appear to be at risk of missing the Cleveland game.

-- K Bill Gramatica (back) will miss his sixth game and for the first time the team is hinting that, he might not be back this season.

-- K Neil Rackers, signed Tuesday after K Tim Duncan was cut, made five field goals in practice. Duncan was cut because he had lost confidence and become erratic, coach Dave McGinnis said.

-- KR Josh Scobey ranks third in the NFC with 26.1-yard average on kick returns.

-- FS Dexter Jackson needs one interception to tie his career high of four in a season.

-- RB Emmitt Smith (shoulder) is out again this week, but might be ready to return to practice by next week. After missing only three games to injury his entire career, he has missed four so far with this injury.

-- WR Jason McAddley (hamstring), who has been out for six weeks, will miss another game.


--LT Barry Stokes ran onto the field Thursday and practiced hard for the second straight day. He missed the last two games with a sprained ankle but will start against the Cardinals.

--CB Daylon McCutcheon remains questionable on the injury report with a knee injury.

--DB Lewis Sanders is recovering from a groin pull. DB Roosevelt Williams will play if McCutcheon or Sanders cannot.

--OL Craig Osika was waived and added to the practice squad.

--WR Frisman Jackson is on P.U.P. but might be added to the active roster Friday. The Browns are down one receiver after waiving WR Kevin Johnson Tuesday.


Yes, it's another road game, and no one need remind the Cardinals that they haven't won one of those since early in the 2002 season (Oct. 6, 16-13, over Carolina in Charlotte). But on Sunday, when they visit Cleveland with that nine-game road skid, they meet a foe that is on their level and is very beatable.

The Browns have dropped three straight since opening 3-3.

It is a game that either will cement the Cardinals in the bottom tier of NFL teams if they lose it, or fan hope that they are making progress toward the middle of the league's pack.

Consequently, it is a game that will mean plenty to the team's mental well-being. If they lose to the Cleveland Browns, they will know as well as every fan knows where that places them.

To that extent, this game will be an interesting gauge of what the team has left after falling to 3-6 in a rout at Pittsburgh last week, which ended a promising but modest two-game win streak.

There is nothing surprising about what the Cardinals have to do: run the ball, control the clock, avoid turnovers and finish with points. The byproduct of that is limited playing exposure by the defense, which is not the strength of the team, and special teams, which recently have failed the team miserably.

There still is a chance for the Cardinals to salvage something positive from a season that appears to be destined to become the next in a non-winning string. They have had only one winning record since moving to Arizona in 1988 - 9-7 in 1998. After their 1-5 start, they could be considered to have salvaged something positive if they get to six or seven wins.

But if they fall to the Browns and limp home at 3-7 to meet St. Louis next week, one wonders how many minds in that locker room will have let go of this season.


The Browns have to play their next three games, starting Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals, without William Green, their leading rusher.

The National Football League Thursday suspended Green four games for violating his treatment program under the NFL substance abuse policy. Green was already in Stage One of the treatment program when he was arrested Oct. 27. His blood alcohol content measured .165 in a Breathalyzer test.

"The suspension is directly related to a violation involving the use of alcohol," Browns president Carmen Policy said.

Green has played only seven of nine games, yet he is the Browns leading rusher with 559 yards, which projects to 1,277 yards over 16 games. He missed the game against New England Oct. 26 with a shoulder injury. The Browns suspended him for the Nov. 9 game against Kansas City for events surrounding the DUI arrest. The NFL is counting that as the first of his four-game suspension. Green is eligible to return to the Browns Dec. 1, a Monday. His first game back will be Dec. 8 against St. Louis.

"It certainly is disappointing," said Coach Butch Davis without speaking directly to the arrest. "The arrest was disappointing for him. It was disappointing for the organization.

"At times he has played brilliantly. There have been games he has not had as good of games, but neither has the team. We will support William. We'll see what happens."

James Jackson is the Browns starting running back. Jamel White and Lee Suggs are the backups.

The league announced Green's suspension two days after the Browns waived Kevin Johnson, their leading receiver.

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