BEREA — Jason Wright has only made three starts in his four years in the NFL, but is likely to add to that total Sunday when the Browns host Miami.
Leading rusher Jamal Lewis continues to be sidelined with a foot injury and is in a walking boot, forcing Cleveland to prepare for the Dolphins with Wright as its top running back.
“I (prepare as if I’m starting) every week because you never know,” Wright said Thursday. “Last week is a case in point of how you never know what can happen. Jamal gets hurt on the first play (against New England) and you’re in for every snap the rest of the game.”
Wright responded in his first extended playing time of the year with 102 yards from scrimmage against the Patriots. He rushed for 59 yards and had 43 more on four receptions.
It was his best statistical performance since joining the Browns in 2005 and proved to his teammates that they can run the football, even if Lewis can’t play.
“We have guys who can step up and make plays for us,” tight end Kellen Winslow Jr. said. “Jason Wright and Jerome Harrison are both here and can do the job.”
Though coach Romeo Crennel said he was “going to do everything I can to get Jamal to Sunday and see where he goes then,” he showed confidence in Wright as a fill-in.
On the season, Wright is averaging 5.4 yards on 19 carries, compared to Lewis’ 5.0 yards on 77 rushing attempts.
“Jamal’s tackle-breaking ability is great, whereas Jason will try to make them miss,” Crennel explained. “He’s more of an effort kind of guy. He has some suddenness. We’re not changing the offense, but there may be one or two plays that you might call for Jason that you wouldn’t call for Jamal.”
Tight end Darnell Dinkins, one of the club’s top special teams players, has also been unable to practice this week. His injured right hand is in a cast, but he expressed hope that he can play against Miami.
Browns wide receiver Joe Jurevicius (knee), safety Brodney Pool (thigh) and Winslow (shoulder) were limited in practice, but all are expected to play.
The Dolphins reported the same status for wide receiver Derek Hagan (hamstring), center Samson Satele (neck), defensive end Jason Taylor (neck) and defensive tackle Rodrique Wright (ankle).
Quarterback Trent Green (concussion), defensive tackle Vonnie Holliday (ankle) and safety Travares Tillman (knee) did not step on the practice field Thursday.
Center LeCharles Bentley, who is on the physically unable to perform list, is eligible to be activated Monday.
Bentley is working his way back from a devastating knee injury that caused him to miss the entire 2006 season, but has not practiced with the Browns this year.
“The window (to activate him) opens next week, then there is a three-week window to take a look at him,” Crennel said. “So we can do something next week or wait until the first of November to do something.”
At the end of the second “window”, the Browns must either add Bentley to their active roster or place him on season-ending injured reserve.
• When asked about the status of safety Gary Baxter, Crennel said he is “not ready yet.” Baxter ruptured both patellar tendons last fall and is attempting an unprecedented comeback from double-reconstructive surgery. He is on Cleveland’s 53-man roster and has been inactive for its first five games.
Ian Eagle and Solomon Wilcots will be behind the mic for the Browns/Dolphins game on CBS. The contest is being shown throughout Ohio, Florida and New York, as well as small portions of Indiana and Pennsylvania. It is the lone early contest not to be shown in high definition Sunday.
• Miami public relations director Harvey Greene — a legendary sports business figure — has one of his assistants working out of Cleveland’s team headquarters this week.
l• The Browns have only beaten the Dolphins once in the last 20 years. Their lone win came in 2005 at Cleveland Browns Stadium.
Quote of the day
“I hope they haven’t gotten big heads because we really haven’t done anything. I don’t think we’re in a position to get a big head, believe it or not, so I don’t know why we would even consider that.” — Crennel on the possibility of his players taking the Dolphins lightly.
Contact Brian Dulik can be reached at 330-721-4059 at BRISports@hotmail.com.