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Cowboys @ Browns: Eyeing the opener

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The Cleveland Browns were the chic pick for breakout-team in the AFC that could challenge the established powers this year. They won 10 games last year, they have weapons on offense and have finally found their QB. Then they started playing preseason games and the ankle injuries piled up, not for the team, but for all the people jumping off their bandwagon. Poor preseason performances coupled with real injuries, not just those to the bandwagoneers, have revised projections down for the Brownies.

The Dallas Cowboys will get the first crack at determining just who the Browns are, an up-and-comer or a pretender. The Browns defense is the unit that could relegate them to pretender, they have a young and inexperienced secondary coupled with a defensive line that was very easy to run against last year. They’ve tried to address the defensive line by importing some players including Shaun Rogers and Corey Williams. The Cowboys are entering the game with Cory Procter at left guard; if the defensive tackles can force double-teams with Gurode always having to help Procter, then watch out for blitzes up the middle and overloads/stunts on the other side for Bigg and Columbo to handle. They better be able to get pressure, because the Cowboys starting WR/TE combo looks like a mismatch for the Browns secondary.

Cleveland is battling a lot of injury problems right now. QB Derek Anderson is supposed to play after sitting out with a concussion. Braylon Edwards and Jamal Lewis are also expected to return. But they have even more injuries than that as chronicled here. Today’s practice is supposed to go a long way towards determining who will be able to play Sunday against the Cowboys.

One guy who probably won’t play is special teams super-stud Josh Cribbs.

Special teams star Josh Cribbs (high ankle sprain) dressed and participated in light special teams walk-through, but went back inside when the real session got underway. He sounded resigned to sitting out the opener even though he wants to play.

"I've got so many responsibilities,'' he said. "I can't let this thing linger.''

With our special teams coverage units under siege, it would be a huge relief if they didn’t have to face Cribbs.

The Browns offensive line also has injury and depth issues, meaning the Cowboys front-five could have a very good day.

It’s informative to read an overview of the Cowboys from the outside, here’s one from a Cleveland paper.   

Montrae Holland feels small among the Cowboys gargantuan linemen. 

The Cowboys officially sign Keith Davis to a one-year deal. 

You have to, I repeat, you have to go read this story on MB3. Turns out MB3’s first love was defense and hitting people and was brought to college as a defensive back. There are some really good stories about MB3 from other players in the league. E.J. Henderson's quote sums them all up. 

E.J. HENDERSON, Vikings LB
He's the toughest back in the league to tackle. Dude's for real.

Hat tip Wmillion for posting the link.