BEREA (923TheFan) – If the Browns offensive line thought that they had a tough day against the Bengals – just wait until this Sunday in Indianapolis.

Defensive ends Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis of the Colts might be the best tandem in the NFL and could be a nightmare for the Browns.

“Part of what you talk about is trying to minimize the effect that those guys have on the game because they are just dynamic pass rushers,” Browns Coach Pat Shurmur said. “They play hard and they get after the quarterback. We have things in the plan like what most teams who play the Colts where you have to try to minimize their effect on the game because they are going to affect the game in some way.

“You just have to minimize it.”

Pro Bowl left tackle Joe Thomas will draw Freeney while the revolving door of Oniel Cousins and Artis Hicks get to defend Mathis on the right side.

“It’s funny because he is kind of known for the spin and for his speed,” Thomas said of Freeney. “He’s one of the strongest players in the league. You see him picking up 335 lbs. tackles and throwing them and getting to the quarterback.”

Shurmur said Wednesday that he will continue to rotate Cousins and Hicks at right tackle with Tony Pashos still out with an ankle injury.

Pashos, who continues to miss practice, is not expected to play against the Colts but Thomas thinks that Cousins and Hicks are playing better than people think.

“I don’t think that they’ve played poorly,” Thomas said. “I think they’ve done a nice job (considering that) both guys have been here about a week. I think that anytime an offensive line can get more reps together it’s going to be beneficial.”

As for dealing with Mathis, Hicks is well aware of the problems that both defensive ends present up front.

“They are special guys, they have a special skill set,” Hicks said. “When you give them a chance to pin their ears back and get after the quarterback they can be a nightmare. You just have to try and be successful on first and second down and keep yourself out of the Freeney and Mathis killer downs, which are third and long.

“You have to give them both a lot of attention because if you don’t both of those guys have the ability to change the outcome of a game. They are that special.”

Will The Third Be The Charm: With starter Reggie Hodges and now Richmond McGee on injured reserve the Browns have turned to 14-year veteran Brad Maynard to take over the punting duties.

Maynard spent 10 seasons with Chicago before being cut by the Bears. He was cut again by the Houston Texans on September 3rd.

“That was a humbling experience for me,” Maynard said. “To never have been released by a team, it really made me respect this game, not that I didn’t before because I do, but it was definitely humbling.”

He had the worst average of punters in the NFL last season at 40.1 yards per punt. His career average is just 41.9 yards but Maynard comes to Cleveland with a chip on his shoulder.

“This team is getting a hungry man right now,” Maynard said. “I’ve got a lot of people in Chicago that don’t think I can punt anymore. I felt like Houston would’ve been an easier route to prove it but I think I was born to be a cold weather punter.

“I focus more and I just feel like I play games with the returners and the cold weather and wind help me do that better.”

The McGee Mystery: So what exactly happened Sunday to McGee?

Shurmur shed a little light on the subject Wednesday when he admitted that he knew before kickoff that McGee was not right.

“Just prior to kickoff I was made aware of the fact that he had some soreness in his back which happens at times with players,” Shurmur said. “The decision was made to just play him and punt him. After the game he came in and in the morning he had soreness and wasn’t really fully evaluated until after we spoke yesterday.

“That’s not uncommon with players at any position.”

Shurmur was asked if he felt he should have spared McGee some of the criticism that came from fans and media for his 36 yards per punt average – especially because he played hurt.

“Not really, the reason I say that is there are a lot of guys that play in games and may not feel perfect and then they go play,” Shurmur said. “When you lose a game then blame gets assigned. I don’t like all the stuff that comes with losing. That’s why we fight so hard to win. With that being the case, I think it is important that you just make decisions to get going. As players they understand that and as coaches we understand that.

“When you don’t win that’s part of it.”

McGee was placed on injured reserve Tuesday.

Practice Squad Moves: The Browns lost a pair of practice squad players to 53-man rosters Wednesday. Fullback Eddie Williams was signed by Seattle and running back Quinn Porter was signed by St. Louis.

To replace them, the Browns signed fullback Will Ta’ufo’ou and running back Xavier Omon to the practice squad. Both were on the practice field Wednesday.

Tasty Time For Worthy Cause: Monday evening the Browns hosted the 13th annual “Taste of the Browns” at Cleveland Browns Stadium to raise money for the Cleveland Foodbank.

Pro Bowl left tackle Joe Thomas co-chaired the event which was attended by several current and former Browns players as well as team president Mike Holmgren. The finest cuisine from dozens of Cleveland’s hottest local restaurants were on display for sampling.

For every dollar raised by the “Taste of the Browns,” the Foodbank is able to provide enough food for four healthy meals. In 2010, the Cleveland Foodbank distributed nearly 33 million pounds of food – enough to provide 25 million meals.


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