BEREA — The Browns entered the season with only four safeties on the roster, including Gary Baxter. It almost cost them Sunday.
Starter Brodney Pool was knocked out of the game with a concussion after he led with his helmet on a hit. Mike Adams, who suffered a wrist injury earlier in the game, took his place.
The Browns had no other safeties active — Baxter’s still trying to come back from a pair of torn patellar tendons — and would’ve had to use a cornerback at safety if something happened to Adams or starter Sean Jones.
Coach Romeo Crennel said Pool will have a baseline test today to see if he’s recovered.
“With a mild concussion, hopefully he can get back and we’ll have him later in the week,” Crennel said. “But if he doesn’t get back to baseline, then we’ll have to wait awhile on him. Not having him would impact us some. Mike Adams came in and did a commendable job filling in for him.”
If Pool doesn’t look like he’ll be ready for Sunday’s game in Oakland, the Browns will add a free agent or convert a cornerback for the week.
Punter Dave Zastudil only had to kick twice Sunday, and that was a good thing. The sore back that kept him out of the opener hasn’t healed completely and he looked in great pain after a late punt. The kick was short but took a good bounce and stopped at the 9-yard line.
“My best worst punt I’ve ever had,” he said.
“He was a little sore and we’ll have to play that day by day,” Crennel said. “We made it a gametime decision this week to see what he’d be able to do. We’ll go through this week to see where he is and then we’ll make a decision.”
Paul Ernster, who kicked in the opener, is still on the roster.
Crennel lost another challenge Sunday, dropping him to 0-for-3 this year and 1-for-18 in his career. Bengals receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh caught a pass in the left corner of the end zone that was ruled a touchdown, but he appeared to get only one foot inbounds.
The call stood.
“It looked like it should have gone in our favor, but it didn’t,” Crennel said. “There’s not much you can do about it.”
On the same play, the play clock hit zero before Carson Palmer received the snap. The officials didn’t throw a flag, and the call wasn’t reviewable.
“I saw zero and I was excited,” Crennel said. “The official, in explaining their procedure, said that he is looking at the clock and if the clock says zero, then he looks to the ball. If the ball is still on the ground, then he blows the whistle. If the ball is not on the ground, then he feels like the ball had been snapped before the zero showed up.”
Quinn’s not in
Derek Anderson’s huge game allowed the Browns to stick to their plan of keeping rookie Brady Quinn on the sideline and not rushing him into action.
“The first plan is to win the game,” Crennel said. “We’ll see how Brady progresses. Situations are different and you have to go week to week with the situation and see what happens.
“I told Brady he needs to be ready to go because he’s one play away. I think that he will do everything he can to be ready to go when he is called upon.”
For the second straight day Crennel made a point of thanking the fans for their support.
“I was standing on the sidelines at the beginning of the game and our fans were behind us all the way,” he said. “They helped us during the course of the game. I really felt good about that, the support they continue to give us.
“Hopefully, if we can continue to play like we played Sunday, then we’ll give them a lot to cheer for going forward.”
The Browns-Bengals game will be shown again on NFL Network tonight at 8 in a 90-minute format.
• Crennel gave game balls to the entire offense, Joshua Cribbs on special teams and defensive end Robaire Smith. He had four tackles, a sack and two quarterback hurries.
Contact Scott Petrak at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.