Skrine to start at corner for Browns
CLEVELAND – The competition has ended at right cornerback, and the winner is Buster Skrine.
Skrine has been told that he will start Sunday against the Miami Dolphins. He spent all of training camp contending with rookie Leon McFadden and free-agent arrival Chris Owens.
McFadden fell out of the competition quickly as rookie mistakes plagued him. Owens hurt his cause by missing considerable time with a foot injury.
The news was welcomed by Skrine, who has been criticized for his struggles covering big receivers on the outside.
“I feel like I got better this year,” Skrine said. “I’m a smarter player and the coaches have confidence in me.”
Skrine, entering his third season, came off the bench in 16 appearances in 2011. He again appeared in 16 games last season, including six starting assignments.
Skrine (5-9, 185) has the body frame and quick feet needed to cover smaller, slot receivers. He’s had issues when working out of the slot.
“The game has slowed down for me,” he said.
The secondary faces a stern challenge against the Dolphins, who boast the speed of receiver Mike Wallace and the craftiness of Brian Hartline.
“Hartline, Mike Wallace and (Brandon) Gibson are all good receivers,” Skrine said. “We’ll have to bring our ‘A’ game.”
DECISION PENDING: Coach Rob Chudzinski will take long looks at recent additions Bobby Rainey and Dennis Johnson. The two running backs were awarded to the Browns off waivers after being released by the Ravens (Rainey) and Texans (Johnson).
“We have a group (of backs) we feel confident about,” Chudzinski said. “We’ll take a look at those guys and see where they are. Rainey has been in a similar system from an offensive standpoint. We still have a lot of flexibility with ‘Obby’ (Chris Ogbonnaya). We’ll be in fine shape. I have no concerns.”
GETTING CLOSER: Linebacker Barkevious Mingo continues to inch closer to playing time as he recovers from a bruised lung. Team physicians continue to monitor how Mingo reacts to strenuous exercise. He left the second preseason game after spitting up blood following a long sprint on kick coverage.
Mingo participated in most of the individual drills Wednesday. He didn’t do work on the blocking sled.
HERE WE GO: It appears the Browns will enter the season with Johnson Bademosi as the kick returner. Bademosi wasn’t impressive in the role during the preseason.
BIG LOSS: Dolphins receiver Brian Hartline, who played at GlenOak High School near Canton, admits the loss of receiver Davone Bess to the Browns in a trade was significant.
“He’s a special talent. He has a rare skill set,” Hartline said of Bess. “He busts his butt every day. Anytime you put those things together it’s hard to replace. The coaches felt they wanted to go in a different direction. At the same time I still see things on film that we did a year ago that we can use as teaching examples. However you want to feel about that, he’s definitely a guy that was a well-noted loss, to say the least.”
INJURY REPORT: Not practicing for the Browns was guard Shaun Lauvao, who’s out with an ankle injury. Defensive lineman Desmond Bryant (back) and Mingo were limited. Injured players who were full go included tight end Gary Barnidge, Bess, tight end Jordan Cameron, guard Garrett Gilkey, defensive lineman John Hughes, linebacker Eric Martin and Owens.
Not practicing for the Dolphins were cornerback Will Davis (toe), quarterback Pat Devlin (ankle) and cornerback Jamar Taylor (groin). Tight end Dion Sims (groin) was limited. Injured players able to practice fully were linebacker Jonathan Freeny, defensive end Dion Jordan and safety Jimmy Wilson.