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News » Cleveland Browns Strategy and Personnel 2008-12-25

Cleveland Browns Strategy and Personnel 2008-12-25

Cleveland Browns Strategy and Personnel 2008-12-25
Bruce Gradkowski is the likely starter against the Steelers because Ken Dorsey is plagued by a mild concussion plus a rib injury and was placed on injured reserve. The top two quarterbacks, Brady Quinn (finger) and Derek Anderson (knee) are on injured reserve.

Rich Bartel was activated from the practice squad. The problem with Gradkowski and Bartel is they do not know the offense completely. Josh Cribbs does and might take an active role at quarterback Sunday in Pittsburgh.

Cribbs was a quarterback at Kent State. He has lined up at quarterback on occasion with the Browns, but he has thrown only two passes from scrimmage, both this season, in four years. Both were incomplete.

"We might have to depend on Josh a little bit more," coach Romeo Crennel said. "We're going to have to do is do a better job of managing him during the course of the game because all of those special teams plays are 40 yards or he's taking a hit. Then when you put him out there and play him on offense as well, you can wear him down."

Crennel said Cribbs would continue to return kicks, but some of his other special teams duties, such as punt and kick coverage, would be handled by other players.


--RB Jason Wright was put on injured reserve with a high ankle sprain. Tight end Brad Cieslak was signed to fill the roster spot.

--TE Darnell Dinkins did not practice Wednesday because of a rib injury.

--TE Kellen Winslow said he will try to play against the Steelers, but an ankle injury that sidelined him the last three games prevented him from practicing Wednesday.

--LG Eric Steinbach missed practice with a back injury.

--NT Shaun Rogers sat out practice with an ankle injury.

--LB Leon Williams missed practice with an ankle injury. It prevented him from playing against Cincinnati.

--P Dave Zastudil rested because of lingering tendonitis in his right knee.

GAME PLAN: The Steelers might rest some of their starters for at least part of the game Sunday. If they do, the Browns won't complain. They have lost five straight and would take any break they can to close the season victoriously.

"(Winning) gives you a better attitude going into the offseason because you did leave on a winning note," Coach Romeo Crennel said. "You can always grab a hold to that. That's important because the attitude going into the offseason kind of impacts what's going to happen in the offseason - maybe how a guy prepares and the choices that he makes and things like that. Every win is a good win."

The way the offense has played, or hasn't played, in the five-game losing streak, the defense has to be nearly flawless. The best chance the Browns have of pulling an upset is by creating takeaways and playing on a short field. They are capable of doing that. They have intercepted 22 passes and recovered eight opponent's fumbles.

MATCHUPS TO WATCH: Browns LT Joe Thomas vs. Steelers LB James Harrison. Harrison is one of the players coach Mike Tomlin might rest. Harrison is bothered by a sore hip. Thomas has regressed from his Pro Bowl year as a rookie, although he made the Pro Bowl again. Harrison has 16 sacks -- only one fewer than the entire Browns team. He did not register a sack when the Steelers beat the Browns, 10-6, in September.

Browns CB Eric Wright vs. Steelers WR Santonio Holmes. Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb beat Wright for a touchdown on a fade to Kevin Curtis and Bengals quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick beat Wright for a touchdown on a fade to Chris Henry. Whether the Steelers use Ben Roethlisberger or Byron Leftwich, Wright can expect the same treatment Sunday.

INJURY IMPACT: The Browns won't be losing much if Bruce Gradkowski has to play if Ken Dorsey (concussion) cannot. Tight end could be a problem. Kellen Winslow's ankle is still bothering him, Steve Heiden is on injured reserve with a knee injury and now Darnell Dinkins has a rib injury.

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: December 25, 2008

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