April 24, 2014

Elyria
Intermittent clouds
38°F
test

Browns notes: Failure to stop run could bring lineup changes

BEREA — After watching his run defense get run over in three straight games, Browns coach Romeo Crennel has seen enough.
Pittsburgh’s Willie Parker, Cincinnati’s Rudi Johnson and Oakland’s LaMont Jordan have all had 100-yard games against Cleveland, leading to the team’s 31st ranking in the NFL in rushing defense and total yards allowed.
“I’m really disappointed because I know you can’t win in the NFL if you can’t stop the run,’’ Crennel said Monday afternoon. “We’ve got some guys who are not quite disciplined enough to get aligned where they need to get aligned. Other guys are not in the right position. We’ll take a look at (possible lineup changes) on Wednesday.’’
Any changes can’t come soon enough for the Browns, who are on pace to shatter the franchise records for the most points (462) and rushing yards (2,736) allowed in a season. This year’s totals project to a whopping 560 points and 2,826 rushing yards against.
With star running back Willis McGahee and the Baltimore Ravens coming to town Sunday, those numbers might balloon even more.
“Defensively, the big deal is just to improve, period,’’ Crennel said. “Both in pass coverage and run stopping.’’
While the coach did not reveal what lineup changes he is considering, one may be at nose tackle, where Ethan Kelley got the nod ahead of mammoth Ted Washington against the Raiders.
No one within the organization is saying — on or off the record — why Washington was benched.
The only positive defensive development in Oakland came at linebacker, where Kamerion Wimbley had his first two sacks of the season.
Wimbley dropped Josh McCown and Daunte Culpepper one time apiece, but the Raiders’ duo still posted a passer rating of 96.0.
“We did some good things, we just didn’t make big plays,’’ Wimbley said. “No one is panicking about it. I’m confident in all my teammates and we’re confident in each other.’’

Injury report

Tight end Kellen Winslow Jr. suffered a bruised left shoulder on his final reception in Oakland, while guard Seth McKinney hurt his hand and wide receiver Tim Carter aggravated a knee problem.
Winslow had his shoulder wrapped and received treatment on it Monday, but the team offered no additional details.
“Everybody else made it through the game OK, and we should have them ready,’’ Crennel said.
Linebacker Antwan Peek (foot) is unlikely to practice this week, but the coach said he would probably play against the Ravens.

Wright or wrong

Rookie cornerback Eric Wright had his second straight rough game and was beaten for his fourth touchdown of the year against the Raiders. Though Daven Holly has returned from a concussion, Crennel downplayed talk of him taking Wright’s job.
“I think Eric understands the importance of the position, but sometimes he tries to do too much,’’ he said. “Other times, he’s in very good position against a receiver, but he needs to be in great position. Those are the kinds of things he’ll understand down the road.’’

Mixed reviews

Quarterback Derek Anderson was his usual erratic self in Oakland, completing 18 of 37 throws for 248 yards, one touchdown, two interceptions and a 57.0 rating. His career record as a starter fell to 1-4 with Sunday’s 26-24 defeat.
“We were hoping he’d be on the great side again, but (he was) a little inconsistent,’’ Crennel said. “We need to take what thedefense gives us and not force the ball. Ultimately, the guys have to make the plays on the plays that are called.’’

 

King of Kent State

Joshua Cribbs became the second Browns player to gain 3,000 career yards on kickoff returns with 174 against the Raiders. His yardage total in Oakland was the fourth highest in team history, trailing his 183 against Cincinnati one week earlier and Richard Alston’s games of 212 (at Cincinnati) and 197 (at Baltimore) in 2004.
Cribbs and Bobby Mitchell now share the Cleveland record for career kickoff returns for a touchdown with three.

Player’s club

Scott Player took over the team lead in punting by averaging 46.8 on five kicks against the Raiders. Dave Zastudil, who continues to be hindered by a strained lower back, is second at 43.0, while the departed Paul Ernster sits at 36.6. Despite using three punters in three weeks, the Browns are eighth in the NFL with a 40.0 team net average.
“(Player) came in and did a nice job, and so did the punt coverage,’’ Crennel said.

Quotable

“From an upside down perspective, everything looked good.’’ — long snapper Ryan Pontbriand on the ill-fated game-ending sequence Sunday in Oakland.
Contact Brian Dulik at sports@ohio.net.