OBR News and World Report: 8/13

OBR News and World Report: 8/13

The Browns have gotten more than their share of bad luck during this pre-season. What this means, of course, is that the media is annoying. John Taylor provides his unique slant on the events of the day...

Are the mounting injuries—which seem to be mounting with the frequency of Jenna in her prime—and uncertainty at several key positions beginning to wear on general manager Phil Savage?

In a story in this morning's Dayton Daily News

(Note to the DDN: turn down the freaking sound on your #&*@$! Hyundai ads.  Don't need for it to sound and feel like an NBA game when clicking on a story.)

…the normally affable Savage grew testy when asked by reporters about the team's backup quarterback situation.  What follows is Savage's "diatribe" toward the media, as relayed by The Daily News' Sean McClelland:

"I'm not going to assess the whole team for you guys after one preseason game. I don't really care after one game. This is a little bit ridiculous. I mean, I'm walking off the practice field and all of a sudden I'm having a press conference. It's ridiculous. ... To get surrounded like this after one preseason game? What do you think it makes these (players) feel like? It's wrong. It's wrong. You don't judge players after one practice or one game. You do it over the course of all the games. ... I talk to you guys way too much."

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The Browns are "cautiously optimistic" that cornerback Gary Baxter will be available for the club's regular season opener against the Saints.  Baxter suffered a slight tear in his right pectoral muscle during Thursday's preseason opener.

Baxter himself is supremely confident that he'll be in uniform and on the field Sept. 10.

"You guys can bet I'll be ready for the season opener," Baxter said. "Right now, all I can do is get better, and it will not slow my progress from me getting better."

Head coach Romeo Crennel told reporters following practice—a practice in which Baxter was limited to –that Baxter will not need surgery to repair the damage.

(Of course, Crennel told reporters earlier in the week that offensive lineman Bob Hallen had "back issues", and we all know how that circus played out.)

With Daylon McCutcheon likely to miss the entire preseason following late-July knee surgery, the Browns will likely be scouring their list of available defensive backs.

For the time being, though, Pete Hunter—he of the scorched-by-Hank Baskett Hunters—and Antonio Perkins will split time as the starter opposite Leigh Bodden.

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According to one Browns insider, the injury to Baxter could be a blessing in disguise.

Say what?  Or, as Gary Coleman was wont to say, "Whatchoo talkin' ‘bout, Willis?"

Baxter has been suffering from a knee injury that was slightly worse than what either the Browns or Baxter letting on.  With this latest injury, the insider suggested, Baxter will be forced to downshift a gear or two, which will facilitate not only the healing of the pectoral muscle but also the knee.

There was some fear that Baxter's knee injury was of the lingering variety; now, that fear has been somewhat assuaged by the expected rest that the CB will be forced to receive.

Additionally, Baxter has, by all reports, had a tremendous camp, which leads observers to believe that he's fully recovered from his torn right pec of a year ago and these latest injuries are mere blips on the radar.

*****

Getting back to the secondary as a whole, wide receiver Josh Cribbs tells the Canton Repository that he intends to go to the coaching staff and volunteer his services to the depleted unit.

Such a move would not be unprecedented, especially to Crennel.  Troy Brown, in addition to his starting job at WR, became a key contributor in New England's nickel package during the Patriots last Super-Bowl winning season in 2004.  Brown had three picks and five passes defensed during his stint at cornerback.

And, just who was the defensive coordinator who successfully integrated Brown into the secondary?  Crennel, of course.

Cribbs, a quarterback at Kent State, has made tremendous strides in his second season in Browns camp as a receiver.  The second-year veteran currently sits third on the team's WR depth chart, and is also listed as the team's number one kickoff returner.

*****

Don't be surprised when, barring injury or a trade, Ross Tucker assumes the starting center position from Alonzo Ephraim by the third or fourth preseason game.

The coaching staff is surprisingly high on the journeyman's potential and feels that, in the long term, Tucker is a more viable option than Ephraim, who is more comfortable at the guard position.

For a good read on Tucker, click HERE for the Elyria Chronicle Telegram's/Medina Gazette's Scott Petrak and his take on the newly-acquired center.

*****

On the heels of Willie McGinest being held out of the preseason opener—and given the injurious twists and turns this training camp has taken—the linebacker being absent from yesterday's practice due to "personal reasons" might cause some to tumble further into panic mode.

Not to worry, though, as the Akron Beacon Journal is reporting that the veteran LB was excused from practice to attend the birth of his daughter.

*****

Isn't funny how head coaches and general managers huff and puff over the media attaching rumors and innuendo to their clubs, yet have no problem stretching the truth like two brothers fighting over the lone Stretch Armstrong doll?

*****

QUOTE OF THE DAY: "If you continually go out and lay an egg," he said, "chances are you'll lay an egg during the regular season."—head coach Romeo Crennel, on the importance of preseason games.

QUOTE OF THE DAY, THE SEQUEL: "Is a preseason game important? Yes. Is it crucial? No. I mean, can you guys even tell me what the score was of any of our preseason games last year?"—general manager Phil Savage, on the importance of preseason games.

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