BEREA - One of the reasons Robaire Smith signed with the Browns was because of his association with Todd Grantham and the familiarity he had with Grantham’s defensive schemes.
“The relationship (Coach) Grantham and I have is special and the style of defense he’s trying to implement is what I’m used to,” Smith said.
Smith played at Michigan State while Grantham was an assistant there. He then was with the Texans as their defensive line coach when the Texans signed Smith as a free agent. Smith had his two most productive NFL seasons to date in Houston when he had 100 tackles, including three sacks in 2004 and then followed that up with 102 tackles and two tackles in 2005.
“I think you have to have some familiarity with what’s going on and the way (Grantham) broke it down made me feel good and comfortable about what’s going on here with the Browns.
“I was used to the 4-3, but have no problem in the 3-4,” Smith said. “There is different footwork and techniques involved.”
The Browns have been bogged at the bottom of the NFL for years in terms of stopping the run. The team knows they have to stop the run or the rest of the team will suffer.
The 6-4, 320 pound veteran is counted on to be a big factor in helping the Browns be a better run stopping team.
“All I know is what I heard,” he said. “We have a lot going on now. I think this defense is capable of a lot. The defensive coaches definitely want to be aggressive and get after it.
“We’re more on the same page and the more we are the better we can do.”
Smith was counted on to replace Alvin McKinley’s spot at one end position. The other key addition was Shaun Smith to alternate with Ted Washington at nose tackle. However, with the arthroscopic knee surgery to Orpheus Roye, Shaun Smith has been moved to the end opposite of Robaire.
“When you change a system it’s not easy,” Romeo Crennel said. “(Shaun) was getting comfortable at nose and now he’s trying to get comfortable at the end position. He’s making good progress there, though.”
If Roye is unable to return, a possibility will be Shaun Smith on run downs and Simon Fraser on passing downs.
QB Derby: Crennel didn’t commit on who will start Saturday’s game with Kansas City, other than to say that the NFL requires a depth chart and Charlie Frye will be listed as the starter with Derek Anderson as the backup.
“Charlie will be first on the depth chart,” Crennel said. “It’s still competition and they’re still battling. Both will play. It’s a competition. Both will play at least a half between the two of them.”
Crennel said the play of the pair in the game will give a chance for one to stand out.
“Generally, in competition, one guy steps ahead of another one,” he said. “Both guys can run the team and we’ll go a bit further to see if one separates. These bullets aren’t real, but that might carry a little more weight than practice.”
The pair say it doesn’t matter to them who starts.
“The only thing that matters to me is to start the first game against the Steelers,” Frye said.
“The preseason games are important for everyone,” Anderson said. “If it happens, it happens. I just want to be ready when my time comes.”
Injury Update: LB Willie McGinest (back), DB DeMario Minter ( foot) and OL Isaac Sowells (concussion) missed practice. Sowells is getting better according to Crennel. WR Tim Carter returned to practice with a fter missing some time with a hamstring injury. RB Jamal Lewis and WR Braylon Edwards rode the stationary bike during kickoff drills but missed no team time.
Crennel said that TE Kellen Winslow and RB Jamal Lewis might play a quarter against the Chiefs.
“ Kellen looks better overall than he did last year,” Crennel said. “ We’re still trying to manage him, but he’s made good progress. Jamal looks pretty good. His weight is down and he has a burst.”