Thursday Berea Report
Ebenzer Ekuban loses his head (AP)

Posted Nov 4, 2004


Mike McLain is back with your only same-day spin-free report from Berea, where Butch Davis might be ready to unleash the blitz again. Maybe. Possibly. Well, we'll see. He'll get back to us on it. Also, roster moves and injury updates aplenty. Countdown to the Ratbird face-off continues...



 

BEREA – The Browns might be ready to begin blitzing more, but not necessarily this week against the ground-oriented Baltimore Ravens.

Coach Butch Davis admits that the defense has done a poor job of creating sacks. If the matchups are favorable, look for more blitzes.

“It’s kind of a catch-22,” Davis said. “We’ve played a lot of teams that are good against the run. We’ve kind of made it our cross to bear with Baltimore and Jamal Lewis, Washington and Clinton Portis and Cincinnati with Rudi Johnson, that we were going to stop the run. We probably haven’t focused significantly on trying to stop the pass. That’s something we have benefited from. We haven’t gotten pressure, and we’ve given up big pass plays.”

The defense has 11 sacks in seven games. Ends Kenard Lang and Ebenezer Ekuban lead with four each. Lang had three against Ravens tackle Ethan Brooks in the season opener.

None of the 11 sacks have come from players other than the down linemen.

“As the game unfolds, you have to be versatile and flexible enough to adapt your scheme to whatever the opponent is trying to do,” the coach said. “You’d be foolish to go into this game not realizing that the number one thing they’ve done in recent years is run the football.”


TAYLOR RECOVERING: Outside linebacker Ben Taylor is making a good recovery from surgery on his torn pectoral muscle. He hopes to be 100 percent healthy by the time the Browns begin offseason conditioning in March.

Taylor has gotten past the mental stage of adjusting to a season-ending injury. The injury occurred when he tackled New York Giants running back Tiki Barber in week three.

“I’m past the mental part now,” Taylor said. “After you first have the surgery you’re pretty down. After I saw that I’m well on my way to recovery, it’s just a matter of doing things I’ve done many times before.”


RETURN OF THE KICK RETURNER: Richard Alston has been activated from the practice squad to return kicks. Alston had five returns for an 18.2-yard average against the New York Giants, but he was placed on the practice squad the following week so Mason Unck could be activated to replace injured linebacker Barry Gardner.


ROSTER MOVES: Offensive lineman Anthony Oakley was signed to the practice squad to replace Alston. Oakley was in training camp as a rookie free agent but was waived.

Offensive lineman Javiar Collins was waived to open a spot on the 53-man roster for Alston.


POINTS ON THE BOARD: The Browns have scored 20 or more points in three straight games and have surpassed 30 points in two straight games. The Browns haven’t scored at least 30 points in three straight games since the 1968 team had a streak of seven straight games of reaching the point total.


INJURY UPDATE: Receiver Andre Davis had another good day on the practice field as he recovers from an injury to a big toe. He had been listed as probable, but coach Butch Davis indicated that Andre will play against the Ravens.

Offensive tackle Jonathan Ogden (hamstring) and tight end Todd Heap (ankle) are questionable for Baltimore. Listed as probable are quarterback Kyle Boller (back), defensive tackle Maake Kemoeatu (ankle), linebacker Ray Lewis (knee), returner B. J. Sams (knee) and running back Musa Smith (shoulder).


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