BEREA –The Browns knew they had to do something with their secondary, which ranked near the bottom of the NFL last season.
One of the key offseason moves was trading for veteran Sheldon Brown. He has been a steady, stabilizing force with the young secondary with the likes of rookies Joe Haden, T.J. Ward and Larry Asante.
Brown says he’s up for the challenge.
“First of all, it’s up to me to learn the terminology and learn the plays,” Brown said. “The only way you can help young guys is to perform and work and teach them to be a professional. You lead by example.”
Brown (5-foot-10, 200 pounds) is known as a hard-hitting tackler, who lit up Reggie Bush in the playoffs a couple of seasons ago.
“I can do that when the opportunity presents itself,” he said. “It’s just the game of football and that’s why the fans love it. When I have the opportunity, I try to do my best.”
Brown is in his ninth year out of South Carolina and this is the first time he’s been on another team than the Eagles with whom he was drafted in the second-round by Browns’ GM Tom Heckert in the 2002 NFL Draft.
“It’s a positive environment,” he said. “There are a lot of good guys in the locker room and a great staff.”
Brown had 68 tackles with five interceptions in 2008. He also had 17 passes broken up and a fumble recovery.
Brown and White Scrimmage: Mangini said he expects Saturday’s Family Day at Cleveland Browns Stadium to be exciting and as close to a game as can be.
“We’re trying to make it as realistic as we do in the game,” Mangini said. “Mechanically speaking it will be like a game, but without tackling. We’re not hitting the quarterback or kickers. The mechanics of challenges, two-minute warning and penalties will be as close to a game-like setting.”
The teams will play a full quarter starting at 1 p.m.
Mangini said the Brown team will watch video of the White team at meetings Friday night and vice versa.
“I’m looking forward to a big crowd,” he said. “We have the Browns Backers in this weekend. I know my Mom goes to a Browns Backers restaurant on away games and my brother found one in Australia.”
Quarterback Jake Delhomme is on the Brown, while Seneca Wallace is with the White.
Wallace was asked if he could guarantee a win.
“I can’t guarantee a win,” he said. “I can’t do that. You don’t know what Coach Mangini will do.”
Wallace hit TE Alex Smith and had a nice throw to WR Syndric Steptoe. He also had a pass batted down and he threw an interception to CB Brandon McDonald.
Meanwhile, Delhomme hit WR Mohamed Massaquoi on a slant for a score and WR Brian Robiskie on a short curl in the end zone for a touchdown.
The only players that Mangini said will not play are the players on the PUP list (Shaun Rogers, C.J. Mosley and DB Coye Francies) and DB Chris Roberson.
At stake is more free time for the winners.
“They will get a little bit of time off in terms of curfew.”
Injury Update: Besides the PUP players, others not practicing were DB Chris Roberson (leg), LB Titus Brown (undisclosed) and RB Peyton Hillis (leg).
P Dave Zastudil was back but did not practice. Mangini said that Hillis was getting better.
Mangini said there wasn’t any new news on Zastudil.
“I don’t think we’ve drawn any conclusion or there’s anything new.”
Official Zebras: NFL referee Mike Carey and is crew officiated the practice session Friday. Carey and his crew met with the media prior to practice to update the rules and answer questions.