Browns have major secondary issues Premium Story
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Browns safety Brian Russell
Browns safety Brian Russell

Posted Oct 25, 2006

When Chad Pennington sees a weakness in a secondary, he goes after it like a hungry lion attacks a deer. But the question this weekend is, which weak spot in the Browns deep patrol will he go after.

Four key players in Cleveland Browns secondary are hurt.

Their best cornerback, Gary Baxter, blew out both his knees last Sunday, and is done for the season.

The team's other starting cornerback, Leigh Bodden, is questionable with an ankle injury that has kept him out for about a month.

Also, three Browns safeties are banged-up.

Starting free safety Brian Russell also has a sprained ankle. He didn't practice on Wednesday, and is listed as questionable.

And if he can't go, it's unknown who would replace him because both of the team's backup safeties are hurt.

Backup strong safety Brodney Pool is questionable with a hamstring problem, and reserve free safety Justin Hamilton is also questionable with a hamstring injury.

The Browns only healthy safety is starting strong safety Sean Jones.

And the Pool injury presents another problem. A very mobile, athletically-gifted safety, Pool has the ability to fill-in at cornerback. He did just that against the Carolina Panthers, and did a fine job covering Keyshawn Johnson.

If Bodden joins Baxter on the sidelines, the starting cornerbacks will be inexperienced Daven Holly, and journeyman Ralph Brown, a former New York Giant. Brown is best suited to a dime back role.

So as you can see, Pennington has the potential to put up big numbers this Sunday in Cleveland.

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