Reporting Daryl Ruiter
BEREA (92.3 The Fan) – Running back Willis McGahee knows that he has plenty left in the tank.
He showed a burst of that during last Sunday’s 17-6 win over Cincinnati – especially in the fourth quarter that saw him tally runs of 9, 5 and 9 yards on the Browns’ 12-play, 91-yard scoring drive that helped set up the put-away touchdown.
“I think it showed that I’m here to play,” McGahee said. “I know I ain’t Trent Richardson but I’m here to play. I’m gonna come in and just be Willis McGahee. That’s all I can be.”
McGahee ran for 46 yards on 15 carries Sunday after totaling just 9 yards on 8 carries in his Browns debut at Minnesota. He feels those numbers will increase even more as time goes by and hopefully with regular carries to help get him in the groove.
“I’m a running back so of course I’m gonna say 15 (carries) or more,” McGahee said. “As long as I’m there, being a part of it. It’s a new NFL. Probably a handful of players, Adrian Peterson might get 28 carries, things like that, but that’s long out the door.”
McGahee didn’t get much time to rest – along with the rest of his teammates – as they host the Bills Thursday night but he’ll be ready to go no matter what.
“Being a running back, you’re going to get hit every play,” McGahee said. “So you’re gonna have more bumps and bruises than the norm. It’s a quick turnaround. We had to come in and practice. The body’s used to resting after a Sunday and you’re just watching film. But we had to get out there and loosen up. At the end of the day, you gotta be a professional.”
McGahee has been in Cleveland for 2 weeks. He’s seen a lot and won a lot over the course of his 10-year career and he sees something brewing in Berea.
“It reminds me of my first year in Denver,” McGahee said. It was really a young team. You had Champ, he was an older guy. I was one of them. Stokley. It was really a young team, young o-line that had been together 3-4 years. That’s what I see in this team. It’s gonna click, it’s gonna happen.”
D’Qwell In Charge – If there was any question as to who the leader of this year’s Browns team was, defensive coordinator Ray Horton answered that Wednesday – it’s D’Qwell Jackson.
“When I first came in, D’Qwell Jackson, our leader, made the statement, ‘We’re tired of losing,’” Horton said. “Profound. I mean that’s the first thing he said to me. He goes, ‘We’re tired of losing.’ And I think they’re taking a sense of ownership and a sense of pride and it’s something that they want to show statistically that they are doing better. I think they want to show it’s not just a fluke.”
Horton said that Jackson, drafted by the Browns in the 2nd round of the 2006 draft, runs his own meeting following their Friday practices and he also gathers players to meet at his home as well.
“I was impressed when the first phone call you get after you’re hired is from your leader and your captain, D’Qwell Jackson,” Horton said. “He just said, ‘Coach, you tell us what to do, and we’ll do it. We’re tired of losing.’ So it gives you that clay to mold because they weren’t set in their ways, they weren’t wretched, they weren’t going to fight, meaning fight what we do.
“He is unquestionably the leader of this team and what he says goes here…He’s really instrumental in changing the culture with us. This is what it takes to be a championship-caliber type defense, and he’s been really an extra coach on the field for me.”
Horton’s new 3-4 attacking defense has improved in every statistical category this season and they are ranked in the top 10 against both the run and pass.
Playing Like A Rookie – Barkevious Mingo is slated to make his second straight start at outside linebacker against Buffalo with Jabaal Sheard recovering from a sprained knee.
Horton had an interesting response when asked about Mingo playing “well” Sunday against Cincinnati.
“I didn’t use that adjective – ‘well.’ But I think he played like a rookie,” Horton said. “He did some very good things, and he did some not so good things. I think that’s a work in progress where athletically he’s off the charts, and when we talk about having 50 percent of the defense in, that’s part of the reason. You’re playing a lot of different guys and some young guys and I think, I hope, as he gets better, more comfortable, you’ll see the defense really start to take off also ‘cause we can so many things with him. But I’m very pleased with athletically what he did on the field, and we’re trying to eliminate his rookie mistakes. But we also understand it was his first start in the NFL and he missed three of the four preseason games. So he’s a work in progress, and I think he’ll be a good barometer of our defense. How he improves, we’ll improve.”
Mingo tallied 5 tackles – 4 solo – and recorded a sack in his third straight game to become the first rookie in team history to do that in his first 3 games.
Wet Weather Report – Rain is in the forecast for Thursday night’s game.
The Browns are encouraging fans to bring/wear rain gear since umbrellas are not permitted in FirstEnergy Stadium.
Injury Report – OUT: DT Billy Winn (quad); DOUBTFUL: LB Quentin Groves (ankle), LB Jabaal Sheard (knee); QUESTIONABLE: Shawn Lauvao (ankle) DE John Hughes (knee); PROBABLE: K Billy Cundiff (quad), RG Oniel Cousins (chest), QB Brandon Weeden (thumb), RB Chris Ogbonnaya (thigh)
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