Tomorrow, the Cleveland Browns will take on the Detroit Lions for our second preseason game. I will have my game preview up either tonight or tomorrow morning. As far as today goes, the Cleveland Plain Dealer had two stories in this morning's paper that went more in-depth regarding the failed trade of Lee Suggs and failed drug test of Alonzo Ephraim. First, let's start with Ephraim.
A source said Ephraim failed a drug test before he signed with the Browns on July 29. The Browns were unaware of his impending suspension when they signed him because of communication problems with the league office. - Cleveland Plain Dealer
Not only is that a failure of communication, but it's another major downfall for the Browns' center position. LeCharles Bentley was supposed to be allow the other lineman around him to benefit tremendously. Bob Hallen was supposed to be a regular center, which still wouldn't put too much pressure on the rest of our linemen. Ephraim had been practicing the most with the first unit after those two men, and looked "ok" in the first preseason game, leading us to believe that maybe we could still salvage something. Now, at least for the first four games of the season, Ross Tucker is forced into being our starting center, and Mike Mabry is our primary backup. Ephraim wants to remain a member of the Browns, but here is how his suspension will go down, and what he will/won't be allowed to do during that time.Ephraim will continue to practice and play in the preseason. When the suspension begins on Sept. 2, Ephraim can use the team's facility and attend meetings but must leave the premises during practice. After the suspension is lifted on Oct. 2, the Browns will have one week to re-evaluate Ephraim's status. It's possible Ephraim could be activated then, given the sorry state of the team's center position. - Cleveland Plain Dealer
So, should we keep Ephraim? If he is indeed a manageable backup to Tucker, then we can keep Mabry up until Week 4, and then waive him and activate Ephraim. However, the last time this happened with the Browns with safety Michael Jamison last year, the Browns simply cut him after Week 4. On the same note though, we weren't in desperation mode at the safety position.
Suggs' Return: Typically, teams due not report minor arthroscopic knee surgeries that occur in the offseason. We found out a few weeks ago that Kellen Winslow had it done in January, and it has now been revealed that Suggs had the same thing done in January as well. Suggs was well enough to pass the Browns' physical, but the Jets had different standards.
Apparently, it was concern over that minor tear of the meniscus which caused Suggs to fail the Jets' physical and voided the trade for cornerback Derrick Strait, the source said.
"I've practiced this whole camp and all spring and did all the conditioning stuff," Suggs said. "I passed the physicals here and everything was fine. I went up there and it was something different." - Cleveland Plain Dealer
Now, Suggs is back with the Browns and competing with William Green and Jerome Harrison for the backup running back job. According to sources though, the Browns have not given up on attempting to trade Suggs. The team is still trying to trade Suggs elsewhere for either a cornerback or a center. Running back Reuben Droughns could still face a suspension from the league, but everyone is hoping that things won't come to that. If they do, the Browns may be inclined to keep Suggs.
Surprise Start: Cornerback Antonio Perkins will not play in this week's preseason game, so that means cornerback Ralph Brown will be getting the start as the second cornerback, with Leigh Bodden on the other side. Anyone who makes a play in the preseason at the position could find themselves winning a roster spot. Personally, I was expecting Daven Holley to get a shot first.
McGinest's Status: Crennel stated that linebacker Willie McGinest may not play due to recent elbow surgery. The Browns continue to be cautious with the veteran linebacker, but perhaps it's to give some more playing time to David McMillian and Kamerion Wimbley. McGinest was participating in practice yesterday.
- QB Decision: Crennel also stated that a decision on some of the backup quarterbacks may be made following the Detroit game. Derek Anderson continues to fumble snaps, while Ken Dorsey is being Ken Dorsey. As far as Josh Cribbs playing quarterback, you'll have to wait until next year to see if the Browns try him out at the position.