Who's in and who's out for the Browns

Staff reports

Cleveland’s final cuts will not upset the balance of power in the AFC North.

As General Manager Phil Savage put it Saturday when explaining why he cut his 2006 third-round draft pick, Travis Wilson, the young man’s failed bid to be the No. 3 wideout wasn’t that big a deal.

“Our No. 3 receiver last year had eight catches,” Savage said. “That works out to a half catch a game.”

Savage asked some media people if they even remembered who the 2007 No. 3 was. C’mon. Who could forget speedster Tim Carter?

Making the final cuts -- getting the roster from 75 to 53 -- did raise a lot of questions, though, now that the group going into the Dallas game is set.

One key question is how many injured players can return in time to face the Cowboys. Savage contended “50 or so” of the 53 should “be able to play against Dallas if needed.”

Those questions are covered in the following analysis of the depth chart emerging from Saturday’s cuts:


1. Derek Anderson; 2. Brady Quinn; 3. Ken Dorsey.

Key points: Neither Savage nor Romeo Crennel is eager to detail where Anderson stands in relation to the concussion that felled him Aug. 18. After Thursday’s Chicago game, Romeo Crennel said “nope” when asked if he could predict whether Anderson will face Dallas next Sunday.

Savage: “The expectation is that D.A. will be back and ready to go.” (Pressed to say if that means “ready to go” against Dallas) “I feel he’ll be ready to play this weekend.”

Running backs

1. Jamal Lewis; 2. Jason Wright; 3. Jerome Harrison.

Waived: Travis Thomas*.

Key point: Lewis missed the last two preseason games with a hamstring injury.

Savage: “Jamal should be good to go in the next day or so. ... If Jamal were gone for an extended period of time, you would basically see Jerome take over the first- and second-down type plays, and Jason would probably stay in the role he has now, which is a third-down back and a special teams guy.

When Jamal is healthy, it takes 15 to 20 carries to really get to a point where you maximize what he can do. When that happens, it is difficult to get a second or alternate runner a lot of touches. Jason is a third-down back and special teams guy. If something were to happen to Jamal, it would be kind of a committee-type thing with (Wright and Harrison).”


1. Lawrence Vickers; 2. Charles Ali.

Key points: Vickers’ return from a hamstring issue helps. It appears Rob Chudzinski will use him on quick-hitter runs to keep defenses honest.

Savage: “We were pretty impressed with what Charles Ali did in camp.”

Wide receivers

1. Braylon Edwards; 2. Donté Stallworth; 3. Joshua Cribbs; 4. Syndric Steptoe; 5. Paul Hubbard. PUP: Joe Jurevicius, ineligible until Game 6.

Waived: Travis Wilson, Steve Sanders, Efrem Hill, Lance Leggett*.

Key points: Wilson caught six passes in the preseason finale but dropped a possible touchdown pass. Edwards told Jim Rome his spiked foot has healed and he will face Dallas. Cribbs is recovering from a high ankle sprain. Steptoe and Gerard Lawson are candidates to replace Cribbs on returns.

Savage: “There were a couple off different things going on with (Wilson). We feel he had ample opportunity this go-round. ... Josh Cribbs is up in the air to a degree.”

Tight ends

1. Kellen Winslow Jr.; 2. Steve Heiden; 3. Darnell Dinkins; 4. Martin Rucker*.

Waived: Brad Cieslak, Kolo Kapanui*.

Key points: Savage raves about Dinkins’ improvement via increased reps forced because other tight ends were hurt. Round 4 draft pick Rucker is recovering from a knee scope. He is a better receiving threat than Heiden or Dinkins.

Savage: “The expectation is (Rucker) will probably be back on the field in the next three or four weeks. I wanted to keep him alive for the year.”

Offensive tackles

1. Joe Thomas; 2. Kevin Shaffer; 3. Isaac Sowells.

Waived: James Lee*, Jonathan Palmer.

Key point: Ryan Tucker’s return from a hip injury is a key partly because he would move to right tackle if anything happened to Thomas or Shaffer. If it was Thomas getting hurt, Shaffer would slide from left to right tackle.

Sowells made the team a third straight year, but he has appeared in only one game.

Savage: “(Tucker) is a little bit up in the air. Is it two weeks? Is it six weeks? (Thomas) knows he has to improve because he’ll be going against some better pass rushers this year. I think he will improve.”


1. Eric Steinbach; 2. Tucker; 3. Rex Hadnot; 4. Seth McKinney; 5. Nathan Bennett*.

Key points: Bennett, undrafted out of Clemson, made the roster for now because of injuries to Tucker, Hadnot and Lennie Friedman. Left guard Steinbach is the third-best guard in the NFL according to ex-NFL center Randy Cross, via his “Hot 101” in the Sporting News. Tucker is the preferred right guard when he comes back. The fact Hadnot went down with a knee injury Thursday makes it fortuitous to have re-signed free agent McKinney. McKinney started the first eight games at right guard in 2007. McKinney figures to play right guard against Dallas.

Savage:  “(Hadnot) is probably going to be down at least a short time. (Bennett) fought hard and played pretty decently at right guard in the preseason.”


1. Hank Fraley. Hadnot, McKinney and Tucker all have experience at center.

Waived: Marvin Philip.

Key points: The ideal guard-center depth the team had in June is shaky now, with Friedman placed on injured reserve -- ending his season -- with a shoulder injury. LeCharles Bentley hasn’t found another team, but that bridge is likely burnt to a crisp.

Outside linebackers

1. Kamerion Wimbley; 2. Willie McGinest; 3. Antwan Peek; 4. Alex Hall*.

Waived: David McMillan, Chase Ortiz*. Shantee Orr was terminated as a vested veteran and became a free agent.

Key points: Hall didn’t make many plays in extended preseason-game action, but Savage put a hard sell on the rookie Round 7 pick out of St. Augustine. Hall pushed 2005 Round 5 pick David McMillan off the roster. Peek says he’ll return from a knee scope and be ready for Dallas.

Savage: “The player who emerged the most during training camp was probably Alex Hall. He’s 6-4, 250 pounds and he runs a 4.6. He kind of put Shantee Orr on the bubble. Alex belongs. The coaches are pretty excited about him.”

Inside linebackers

1. D’Qwell Jackson; 2. Andra Davis; 3. Leon Williams; 4. Kris Griffin; 5. Beau Bell*.

Key points: Jackson, Davis and Williams ranked first, third and fifth on the team in tackles in 2007. Supposedly, they’ll look better behind the revamped line. Rookie Round 4 pick Bell is recovering from a knee scope.

Savage: “Beau should be back on a limited basis in the next week or so. We felt like we might need him on the back half of the schedule.”

Defensive line

1. Shaun Rogers; 2. Corey Williams; 3. Robaire Smith; 4. Shaun Smith; 5. Louis Leonard; 6. Ahtyba Rubin*.

Waived: Melila Purcell, Chase Pittman.

Key points: Rookie Round 6 pick Rubin is strictly a nose tackle for now. The other five can be used at either end spot or at nose tackle on the three-man front. Williams failed to make a preseason splash after arriving from Green Bay for a Round 2 pick.

Savage: “We’re real excited to see what Shaun Rogers brings to the table. This is a transition year for (Williams) moreso than Shaun in terms of the defense he’s in and the experience he has. What we’re anxious to see is (Williams’) third-down pass rush from the inside. That’s what he did well for Green Bay.”


1. Eric Wright; 2. Brandon McDonald; 3. Terry Cousin; 4. Travis Daniels; 5. Gerard Lawson*.

Waived: A.J. Davis, Jereme Perry.

Key points: Late arrivals Cousin and Daniels are veterans who can handle nickel and dime duties. The only way Ty Law would have come in was as a starter, which would have clashed with Savage’s plan to develop 2007 draft picks Wright and McDonald in tandem without breaking the budget.

Savage: “Eric showed last year that he is inexperienced, and Brandon McDonald has never started a game in this league, so they will be tested early and often, but I think both of these players are going to be good. Terry Cousin will do what he does best and that’s cover the slot in the nickel-type role.

“Everybody wants to talk about getting a big name, but a big name is not always the answer. This is what we’re going with. If Romeo says he needs a starting corner, then maybe we will start some talks.”


1. Sean Jones; 2. Brodney Pool; 3. Mike Adams; 4. Nick Sorensen.

Waived: Travis Key, Brandon Mitchell*

Key points: Adams and Sorensen manned the two safety spots in the last two preseason games. Jones is expected to return from a knee injury in time to face Dallas. Pool is iffy because he is recovering from a concussion. Adams is the No. 3 safety.



Players who were released by the Browns as they reduced their roster to 53 Saturday:

2008 draft picks: None.

2007 draft picks: DL Melila Purcell, DL Chase Pittman.

2006 draft pick: WR Travis Wilson.

2005 draft pick: LB David McMillam.

Undrafted rookies: TE Kolo Kapanui, DB Travis Key, OL James Lee, WR Lance Leggett, LB Chase Ortiz, PK Jason Reda, OL Derrick Morse, RB Travis Thomas.

Others with NFL experience: LB Shantee Orr, TE Brad Cieslak, WR Efrem Hill, DB A.J. Davis, DB Brandon Mitchell, OL Jonathan Palmer, DB Jereme Perry, WR Steve Sanders, OL Marvin Philip.