Berea - The Browns are banking on some of the smaller sets of shoulders on the defense to carry the load in the secondary this season.
With the departure of Leigh Bodden and the injury to Daven Holly, Brandon McDonald enters the season as the starter. McDonald and Holly were slated to battle for the starting right cornerback spot, but with the injury to Holly, the job is McDonald's by default.
McDonald (5-10, 185 pounds) has started just two games in his brief career, but his play toward the end of the 2007 season caught the coaching staff's eyes. McDonald had two interceptions and 11 passes defensed. He also was a key contributor on special teams with 17 tackles.
He knows that between he and Eric Wright, the corners are going to have a bulls eye on their chests.
"I think other teams are going to challenge us," McDonald said. "I am sure we are going to be ready for that challenge. Eric has a high confidence level and so do I, so we are just going to go out and try to get things done." The Browns traded up to get Wright on draft day in 2007. His story was well documented that he was considered a top 15 talent, but fell because of an off-the-field incident at USC.
On the other hand, McDonald was a fifth-round draft choice (140th overall) from Memphis.
He thinks the duo of Wright and himself can be productive for a long time with the Browns.
"Since rookie mini-camp of last year, we came in and we roomed together and we just had a close bond," McDonald said. "We kind of feed off each others energy, so when I see him doing something that I don't think he should do, I let him know and he does the same for me."
Edwards Spot: Several receivers rotated in place of WR Braylon Edwards with the starting unit, including WR Steve Sanders, WR Syndric Steptoe and WR Travis Wilson. Edwards is out for a week or more after receiving stitches after he was stepped on in practice while not wearing shoes.
"Braylon's at home resting," Romeo Crennel said. "I'm not worried about him. There's no concern about when we get him back. He's a Pro Bowl player and when he's ready, we'll put him out there."
Sanders received several rotations as the starter and Crennel said he's coming along.
"He's an extremely hard worker," he said. "The fact he plays multiple positions helps him as well."
Back to Work: Several of the walking wounded were back at practice Monday including TE Steve Heiden, FB Lawrence Vickers, TE Kellen Winslow, OL Seth McKinney and DL Louis Leonard. WR Kevin Kasper did not practice.
"It's coming along and I'm doing better," McKinney said.
"The main thing is just getting back into playing shape," Heiden said.
Crennel was glad to see the pair on the field.
"It was good to see them out there,"
Tucker Getting Closer: Crennel said that OL Ryan Tucker is progressing in his rehab and could be on the field in the near future.
"We've increased his work load and if he keeps progressing, we'll have him back out here."
Razzle Dazzle: The first play of 11-on-11 scrimmage was a pass from QB Derek Anderson to TE Kellen Winslow, who then threw to the other side to a wide open RB Jamal Lewis for a touchdown…Anderson hit WR Joshua Cribbs for a touchdown, as did QB Brady Quinn.