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News » Cleveland Browns Strategy and Personnel 2008-09-04

Cleveland Browns Strategy and Personnel 2008-09-04

Cleveland Browns Strategy and Personnel 2008-09-04
Syndric Steptoe, a long-shot to make the final roster at the beginning of training camp, will return kicks and punts for the Browns Sunday unless Josh Cribbs' left ankle heals completely. Cribbs is out of a walking boot and improving after spraining his ankle Aug. 18, but he cannot put all his weight on the ankle and cut through traffic.

Cribbs' practice load increased Wednesday, but he still hasn't gotten the green light to play Sunday.

"When I put all my pressure on it, especially when I have equipment on -- they want it to be able to take hits when I make cuts," Cribbs said. "I'm no good to the team for one play. All I do and contribute to the team, I need to be able to do it."

Meanwhile, Steptoe is eager to face the Cowboys. He showed spunk in preseason and had one kick return of 90 yards against the Giants. Steptoe would also be the third receiver.

"It's something you prepare for," Steptoe said. "It's going to be my chance to get the job done. It's a major role. We have to have a great effort from me if I am put in the situation to step in for Josh."

Steptoe was on the practice squad all last season.


--RB Jamal Lewis practiced on a limited basis Wednesday for the first time since pulling a hamstring Aug. 18 in Giants Stadium.

--Return specialist/WR Josh Cribbs did some receiving drills Wednesday. On Monday he was back in the facility getting treatment on his sprained left ankle soon after the special teams walkthrough had ended.

--LB Antwan Peek is in full pads for the first time since July 31 knee surgery, but he isn't sure how much he will play against the Cowboys.

--S Brodney Pool practiced Wednesday for the first time since suffering a concussion Aug. 18.

--Rookie OLB Alex Hall is back on the right side behind Kamerion Wimbley. Hall had been playing the left side with Peek and Willie McGinest sidelined for the last two preseason games. McGinest participated fully in practice Wednesday.

GAME PLAN: The Browns will need the ultimate in cooperation from the front seven and the secondary to derail the powerful Cowboys offense. That could mean a lot of zone defense, particularly when the Browns use five or six DBs. They could play a combination man-zone with one defender sticking with Terrell Owens and another to Jason Witten while the rest of the secondary plays zone. In the end, though, the Browns must put pressure on Tony Romo. If the pass rush is not successful, the secondary will be backpedaling all day.

MATCHUPS TO WATCH: Browns CB Brandon McDonald, making his second NFL start, vs. Cowboys WR Terrell Owens, making his 159th career start. Owens has an advantage in experience and a five-inch height advantage on McDonald, but McDonald is ready for the challenge. He has been studying tape of T.O. since the OTAs in May preparing for this game.

Browns S Sean Jones vs. Cowboys TE Jason Witten. The Browns struggled against tight ends in the first half of 2007, but got better as safeties Jones and Brodney Pool became more familiar with each other. Witten is one of the best tight ends in the league and sure-handed. He'll make his share of catches. The Browns' mission is to keep him short of the first down on third-and-six or more.

INJURY IMPACT: G Rex Hadnot (knee) is out. That leaves the Browns thin at guard because Ryan Tucker (hip) is slowly working his way back into playing form. ... LB Antwan Peek could be the third-down pass rusher. He missed the preseason recovering from arthroscopic knee surgery July 31. ... S Sean Jones (knee) returned to practice Monday and S Brodney Pool (concussion) resumed practice on a limited basis Wednesday. Jones is ahead of Pool in terms of their recoveries. ... Jamal Lewis never injured a hamstring before pulling one Aug. 18. He is practicing again and expects to start against the Cowboys.

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: September 4, 2008

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Ken Dorsey Name: Ken Dorsey
Position: QB
Age: 27
Experience: 6 years
College: Miami (FL)
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