Coming off bye, Browns wary of winless Rams Print
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Thursday, 25 October 2007 11:48
NFL Headline News

 ST. LOUIS (AP) -Coming off their bye week, the Cleveland Browns believe they're poised for a playoff push. The winless St. Louis Rams are a discombobulated mess.
Coach Romeo Crennel sees danger, though, in this week's wounded, beaten-down opponent. He's warned players not to take anything for granted, and reminded them they're 0-2 on the road.
``I just point out to them games around the league where a team was supposed to win and got beat, particularly as it relates to our division,'' Crennel said. ``Baltimore went up to Buffalo and they were supposed to win and they got beat. Pittsburgh, they went to Denver and they were supposed to win and they got beat.
``Some of the guys here might not believe it, but the Rams have a lot of firepower.''
Used to, anyway. Even the potential return of running back Steven Jackson after missing a month with a partially torn groin might not be enough to revive a puny offense dragged down by multiple injuries on the line. That line became further short-handed following the release of guard Claude Terrell, charged earlier in the week with assaulting his wife.
Among this week's shuffles, center Brett Romberg will miss his first game of the year with a pair of sprained ankles, and Brandon Gorin will get his first start of the year at right tackle.
``It's not the greatest scenario moving these guys around and having different lineups,'' coach Scott Linehan said. ``But we really have no choice.''
Marc Bulger came back last week after missing two games with two broken ribs and was no help, throwing three interceptions in a 33-6 loss at Seattle. Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce, long one of the top wide receiver tandems in the league, both have been off their games a bit.
The Rams (0-7) are averaging 11 points, they're 30th in the league in total offense and have been outscored 55-9 the last two weeks, with zero touchdowns. Players hope a healthy Jackson can revive the attack against a Cleveland defense that has allowed 30 or more points in four games.
``Any play he touches the ball he can take it all the way and that's something I think we've been missing,'' Bulger said. ``I'm really excited about Steven coming back. That's probably an understatement.''
He'll be facing a defense that's 30th against the run, a deficiency addressed during the bye. The Browns have allowed a 100-yard rusher in every game.
``Knowing we can't fix everything at one time, we tried to identify some things that if we do better, then we'll play better,'' Crennel said. ``We'll see if they were listening.''
The Rams' start is the worst in franchise history, eclipsing an 0-6 beginning of a 1-12-1 year in 1962. Jackson believes this could be the week to end the struggles.
St. Louis' bye is next week, and that could make the minibreak a little more pleasant.
``We're 0-7, we realize that, but when we take the field on Sunday we don't have 0-7 on our chest,'' Jackson said. ``We have our problems around here, but that's life.
``Life is full of problems and we have to find the solution.''
Even with a defense that has improved in recent weeks, St. Louis figures to have trouble keeping up with the Browns (3-3). They're averaging 32 points in five games since quarterback Derek Anderson, Jackson's teammate at Oregon State for three years, got the starting job, including scoring 51 against the Bengals and 41 against the Dolphins before the bye.
Anderson is 3-2 as the starter this year after going 0-3 last season.
``He's done an exceptionally good job for us,'' Crennel said. ``He's helped us be a .500 team right now and gotten us into position to play out these 10 games.''
The Browns could get running back Jamal Lewis back, too, after missing two games with an injured right foot.
``I'm not really quite sure on his situation, but when he's in there he helps us a ton,'' Anderson said.
Anderson threw two interceptions and Phil Dawson's last-second 40-yard field goal attempt was blocked in a two-point loss at Oakland. Anderson was picked off three times in a 34-17 loss at unbeaten New England.
``You talk about not digging a hole for yourself,'' Crennel said. ``You have to avoid those kinds of plays to give your team the best chance.''
The Rams had all 11 projected starters on the field for the first time last week and held the Seahawks to 289 total yards. But this week, defensive end Leonard Little is likely out with a torn ligament in his left big toe, which cut into his playing time last week and makes it difficult to push off on the pass rush.
So it goes with the Rams.
 

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