BEREA - As an advertisement for an insurance company says, ‘Life comes at your fast.’
That is also true in the NFL. The Jets started the season at 1-9, but then knocked off the Pittsburgh Steelers two weeks ago, before knocking off the Dolphins last Sunday.
With just four remaining games in the regular season, the Browns know they can’t overlook the 3-9 Jets, especially on the road.
“They’re playing well,” Derek Anderson said. “They’re making plays. We have to focus on this game because there are only four left. The Jets are playing much better now.”
The Browns defeated the Jets last season, 20-14, when it came down to a last play touchdown by the Jets being ruled out of bounds. It was similar to Kellen Winslow’s last play that was ruled out of bounds last Sunday.
Regardless, the Browns can’t afford a slow start like they had last week against the Cardinals when they dug themselves an early 14 point deficit.
“We have to pay attention to details better and get it going,” Anderson said.
The Jets put up 40 points last Sunday against the Dolphins and have been moving the ball since Kellen Clemens was installed as their starting quarterback.
“Any team is dangerous,” Robaire Smith said. “It comes down to how the team plays on that day. We need to play our best and get a win. (The Jets) are playing good ball right now.”
The Browns need to bounce back quickly from last Sunday’s disappointing loss.
“It is what it is,” Smith said. “We have to have a short memory. We have put ourselves in some tough positions to come back on the road.”
The Browns know they are going to have to put up points on Sunday. The Jets are giving up 24.3 a game. The Jets are susceptible to the run as they are 29th in the NFL against the run, one slot below the Browns. The Jets are giving up just over 141 yards a game rushing.
Jamal Lewis knows the importance of being able to run the ball, especially at this time of year.
“If everybody does their job we can move the ball,” Lewis said. “This is the time of the year to move the ball on the ground.”
Special Matchup: This week’s game pits KR Leon Washington and Joshua Cribbs, arguably the top two return men in the NFL. Washington has returned three kickoffs for touchdowns. Cribbs leads the NFL with a 31.2 average, while Washington is second at 30.6. Many think either Cribbs or Washington will be the Pro Bowl return man.
“It’s a big matchup,” Cribbs said. “Definitely, I think I play well in big games, but I don’t set personal goals from this game. I want to do what I need to do to help the team win.
“If it comes down to me personally performing, that’s fine,” he said. “But, I want to do my job and prepare well because it will be a battle for special teams.”
Getting Their Attention: Crennel spoke about the mistakes and penalties that plagued the Browns last Sunday. He said he’s addressed the situation and hopefully, won’t have to deal with it this Sunday.
“We’ve addressed it in meetings and in practices,” he said. “If it comes up again on the field, we’ll address it there.”
Trick or Treat: Eric Mangini and the Jets are known for using a lot of trick or gadget plays. The Browns used one on the two-point conversion last week successfully, when KR/WR Joshua Cribbs took a direct snap and threw it to TE Kellen Winslow.
Crennel was asked if he liked to use trick plays.
“If they work, I like them,” Crennel said. “As for the Jets, you have to be ready for the trick plays at all times.”
On Nose Tackle: Crennel talked about the play of the nose tackles thus far this season. The team started the season with Ted Washington before moving to Ethan Kelley and then switching to Shaun Smith after Kelley was injured.
“We’ve been able to move guys around and they’ve held up,” Crennel said. “We started with Ted and then we moved Ethan around. We had Shaun in there and even (Louis) Leonard.”
Griffin to IR: LB Kris Griffin was placed on injured reserve with a right knee injury suffered in last Sunday’s loss to the Cardinals. Griffin played primarily on special teams and was fourth on the team with 14 special teams tackles. To take Griffin’s spot on the roster, the Browns signed LB Colby Bockwoldt.
Bockwoldt (6-2, 245 pounds) is a three year veteran who has played in 48 games, with 24 starts with the Saints and the Titans. He was originally a seventh-round draft choice of the Saints in 2004. He led the Titans last season with 20 special teams tackles. Bockwoldt was with the 49ers in training camp, but released before the season.
“He’s a guy who can help us replace Griffin on special teams,” Crennel said.
Kelley, Wright Might Return: Crennel said that DL Ethan Kelley and DB Eric Wright will do some things in practice on Wednesday. He indicated that he is hopeful that Kelley might be able to play against the Jets. Wright’s status will be evaluated at practice. Crennel said there are a number of players who will not practice on Wednesday due to ‘bumps and bruises’. He doesn’t anticipate any of the injuries to be long term. Those who will not practice Wednesday are: DL Simon Fraser (flu), TE Steve Heiden (ankle), LB David McMillan (knee), LB Antwan Peek (knee), DL Orpheus Roye (knee), OL Kevin Shaffer (knee) and DL Robaire Smith (knee).
“Everybody is dealing with bumps and bruises, so we are no different than any other team,” Crennel said.
Wright said he is going to do some more running today and see how it goes.
“(The knee) has felt pretty good when I did some running around last Friday,” he said. “It’s been hard just watching. I’m a competitor and I want to get back on the field and play.”
Nice Gesture: For the second year in a row, Jets’ coach Eric Mangini treated the Cleveland media to lunch. He had a local restaurant cater in an array of Italian food dishes. Mangini started his NFL career as an intern with the Browns under Bill Belichick in 1993.