Patriots expect a physical game against Browns


Patriots expect a physical game against Browns

By Danny Picard

FOXBORO -- The Cleveland Browns have one of the worst offenses in the NFL. They average only 16.9 points per game and don't have a star-studded depth chart.

But coming off a bye week, the Browns are a team that feels good about itself, having defeated the defending Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints, 30-17, in New Orleans, nearly two weeks ago.

It was only their second win of the season, but it came in the type of style that Cleveland is supposed to be known for: its defense.

Linebacker David Bowens intercepted two Drew Brees passes, and returned both for touchdowns. The Browns picked Brees off four times in the game.

The Patriots are preparing for a similar type of defensive battle against the Browns on Sunday.

"These guys are a physical bunch, they can score a lot of different ways, and it's our job to stand up to the pressure and win the ball game," said Patriots tight end Alge Crumpler on Thursday.

"They're very solid," he said. "They're a much more physical bunch than the group Vikings that we just played. They're very disciplined, and they're a little rested, so I'm sure they're going to come out with some new looks."

But some looks will be similar. Browns head coach Eric Mangini spent six seasons on the Patriots' coaching staff as a defensive backs coach and the defensive coordinator.

"I would expect to see some similarities across the board," said Crumpler.

Another familiar face is tight end Ben Watson, who is in his first season with Cleveland after spending six years in New England. Watson has two touchdown receptions and 336 receiving yards in seven games for the Browns. In Cleveland's West Coast-style offense, a lot of the focus is on the tight ends.

The Pats' defense will be focusing on it as well on Sunday.

"Watson is one of the fastest tight ends in the league, so I mean, I would want to get the ball in his hands, too," said Patriots cornerback Kyle Arrington.

Even with familiar faces on Cleveland's sideline, the Patriots will also be expecting some new looks from Mangini's squad. The reason? The Browns are coming off a bye week and their coaching staff has had extra time putting the game plan together.

It's the same thing the Patriots did against the Ravens in Week 6.

"You've got coaches sitting there, thinking of a thousand different things to try, since you've got a few extra days," said Crumpler. "And I'm sure they'll throw some new looks at us, just like we threw some new looks at Baltimore when we had our bye week."

Danny Picard is on Twitter at http:twitter.comDannyPicard

Patriots place Tre' Jackson on reserve/PUP list


Patriots place Tre' Jackson on reserve/PUP list

The Patriots announced three roster moves on Monday night. Two resulted in players parting ways with the team. The other opened a roster spot without a departure. 

In addition to releasing both defensive tackle Terrance Knighton and center Bryan Stork, the Patriots also placed guard Tre' Jackson on the reserve/physically unable to perform list.

Jackson began training camp on PUP, and he has not practiced with the team since camp kicked off. Now that he is on the reserve/PUP, the second-year player out of Florida State will be forced to miss the first six weeks of the regular season, but he will not count against the active roster during that period. 

Jackson, a fourth-round pick last year, played through knee issues at times as a rookie, seeing action in 13 games and starting in nine. He has been spotted on the practice fields this summer, but he has been limited to warm-ups and conditioning work. 

In his absence, the Patriots still have depth at guard, which may have had something to do with the team's willingness to make Jackson unavailable for almost the first half of the season. Rookie Joe Thuney looks like he will be the starter at left guard, while Josh Kline could be the option at right guard to start the season. Jonathan Cooper and Shaq Mason are dealing with injuries at the moment, but they both returned to the practice field on Monday, and they also have a shot at the right guard job. Rookie sixth-rounder Ted Karras could also factor in as a reserve at either guard or center if he makes the club. 

The Patriots currently have 80 players on the active roster and need to reduce that number to 75 by 4 p.m. on Tuesday.