The Browns aren't out of things just yet. We're only two games out of the division lead with 12 more games to play. That's a lot of time to make up a lot of ground, but the only way we're going to have a chance to pull things together is if the team is healthy. Last season, much of our success depended on all of our top players being available when we needed them most.
This season, we've already had wounds to Derek Anderson, Braylon Edwards, Jamal Lewis, Eric Steinbach, Sean Jones, Brodney Pool, Willie McGinest, Martin Rucker, Beau Bell, Joe Jurevicius, Robaire Smith, Shaun Smith, and more. Imagine a football team trying to compete with the best of the best without those guys being 100%.
Some of them will be close to 100% when we face the Giants in 11 days. Others won't be near that percentage, but at least they'll make their return to the field. Here is a report on how things are going for players who have been out:
A healthy Donte Stallworth will be a huge asset to the offense
- WR Donte Stallworth: This guy has received a ton of heat for the quadriceps injury that has kept him out a month already. However, all of the heat stems from frustration more than personal animosity towards the guy. Stallworth's presence will be a potentially huge upgrade over Syndric Steptoe. Break a leg out there, Stallworth. Err...probably the wrong choice of words there.
- OT Ryan Tucker: He is expected to return from a fractured hip suffered way back on May 14. Surprisingly, the OBR and other sources have indicated that his return may actually be at right tackle, replacing the "struggling" and wounded Kevin Shaffer. Tucker is probably this team's third best offensive lineman.
- LB Willie McGinest: After missing the past two games due to a hamstring injury, he has started practicing again and should be ready for the Giants. That will take some playing time away from Alex Hall, but overall, Hall has probably earned himself more of a cut into McGinest's playing time.
- TE Martin Rucker: There haven't been indications as to whether or not he'll actually be active, but for the first time since having arthroscopic knee surgery, he practiced on Wednesday.
- FB Lawrence Vickers: He was struck in the eye with a bottle thrown from the crowd in the Bengals game. Besides a cut, he'll be fine, thankfully.
- DL Shaun Smith: He had surgery to repair a broken bone in his right hand. For the past two weeks, he has played with a cast over it. He is expected to be ready for the Giants, so really the bye week couldn't have come at a better time for him.
- S Sean Jones: Jones was one of the few players not to return to practice. As of this time, he is not expected to be ready against the Giants.
- WR Joe Jurevicius: The same thing goes for Jurevicius -- it doesn't look as if he'll be even close to ready for the Giants game. If he is to start practicing again, it may not be until the actual halfway point of the season.
- OT Kevin Shaffer: After suffering a concussion on Sunday, an update has not been given as to whether or not he'll be able to play against the Giants. However, considering the reports of Tucker taking over for him, maybe he won't be ready.
Altogether, the news is positive on the injury front.
Crennel said Anderson might need to go back to taking what the defense gives him, like he did in 2007. "He might be trying to go down field a little more than he did last year," Crennel said. "He seemed to take more what the defense gave him last year."
Crennel said Anderson might need to go back to taking what the defense gives him, like he did in 2007.
"He might be trying to go down field a little more than he did last year," Crennel said. "He seemed to take more what the defense gave him last year."
I could've sworn that up until the fourth quarter of the Bengals game, I never even saw Anderson throw the ball down the field. All I kept seeing were comeback routes that defensive backs were sitting on. Our success came when Anderson threw the ball down the field -- like the pass to Winslow amidst two-three defenders down near the goal line.
Finally, remember the apparent Anderson/Edwards/Lewis love-fest on the sidelines during the Bengals' game? According to Anderson, the confrontation wasn't a negative one, reports the Chronicle-Telegram:
Despite television evidence to the contrary, Anderson disputed that any incident occurred.
"There was no argument whatsoever," he said Wednesday. "I just mentioned to him about being smart, getting the personal foul.
"He and I were talking. He wasn’t yelling at me, nothing was going on. Jamal happened to come over and we were in the process of getting the whole offense together. It looked like we were arguing and he grabbed a hold of us, which wasn’t the case."
They probably could've exchanged punches on television and would've stuck with the same story.