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News » Cleveland Browns Inside Slant 2008-07-18

Cleveland Browns Inside Slant 2008-07-18

Cleveland Browns Inside Slant 2008-07-18
--The Browns play the seventh most difficult schedule in 2008. Opponents' final 2007 records are used for the calculation. The 2008 opponents of the Browns and Bengals finished 140-116 in 2007.

Fortunately for both teams, the Steelers have the toughest 2008 schedule. Their opponents were 153-103 in 2007. The Ravens have the third most difficult schedule. Opponents of the Ravens, Vikings and Titans finished 141-115 last season.

The strength of schedule does not factor in the variable of the Browns playing five games in prime time and four others at 4:05 or 4:15 p.m. And since they do not play a game west of Nashville, those 4 p.m. starts are designed to feature the Browns in late afternoon games, allowing the team to be seen by more viewers.

The Browns are attractive to the networks because they won 10 games last year, have a high-powered offense and have stars such as Kellen Winslow, Braylon Edwards, Jamal Lewis, Joe Thomas, Joshua Cribbs and Derek Anderson.

"The season was tough last year when you looked at the schedule," Coach Romeo Crennel said. "So what we're going to do is embrace the fact they want us on national television five times and try to live up to those expectations."

Last year the Browns played 12 games that started at 1 p.m. Eastern and of their four 4 p.m. games, one was in Arizona and one was in Oakland, so they didn't have to kill a lot of time in their hotel rooms waiting to head to the stadium for those games.

This year the Browns host the Steelers at 8:15 p.m. Sept. 14, a Sunday, host the Giants in a Monday night game Oct. 13 and host the Broncos at 8:15 p.m. Nov. 6, a Thursday. Their last two primetime games are in Buffalo Nov. 17 and Philadelphia Dec. 15.

"It's something new to this team, but it's deserving," said linebacker Willie McGinest, now in his third season with the Browns after 12 with the Patriots. "Monday night is totally different. You lay around all day. It's a totally different preparation, but we have a good staff here and they'll have us ready.

"We have enough leaders on this team to rally around them. It's going to be a long week. Before some of those games it's going to be a long day. You can't get too excited too early. When the lights go on you have to be ready to play. After a Monday night game it's a short week."

Joe Jurevicius played in his share of Monday and Sunday night games over eight years with the Giants, Buccaneers and Seahawks. He said the extra attention is great for Cleveland.

"I've been on teams when we played three Monday night games," he said before a knee operation July 1 sidelined him for at least the start of training camp. "As players, it's something we'll have to deal with. It gives you an extra day to prepare but it also takes away the normalcy of the work week.

"We have our work cut out for us. I do believe if we take it for what it is and not over-hype it, it can be managed. But it's definitely difficult. Enjoy the Monday night lights, but realize it's just a football game a day later than normal."

The Browns have not played on Monday since 2003.

CAMP CALENDAR: Training camp opens at the Browns' in-season training complex in Berea, Ohio, with an afternoon practice July 23. Training camp ends on Aug. 16 with a morning and evening practice. The Browns do not scrimmage other teams. The only break in the routine is an evening practice in Cleveland Browns Stadium on Aug. 1.


Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: July 18, 2008

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Rex Hadnot Name: Rex Hadnot
Position: C
Age: 26
Experience: 5 years
College: Houston
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