2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Browns head to camp hoping to shed losing image

By TOM WITHERS - AP Sports Writer
    2013-07-23 11:29

CLEVELAND (AP) - Rob Chudzinski has his dream job. There's no telling how long he'll keep it.

Hired as Cleveland's sixth coach - and fourth in six years - since 1999, Chudzinski returns to the team he cheered for as a kid and the one he helped to a 10-6 record in 2007 as the offensive coordinator. The orange helmets are being directed by Chud now, and while the Browns still have a long climb to contention, he inherits more talent than any of his predecessors.

The Browns have lost at least 11 games in each of the past five seasons, a streak they should be able to stop.

However, to do so, they'll need stability at quarterback, a position of constant change since the Browns returned as an expansion franchise. Second-year quarterback Brandon Weeden showed promise last season but needs to make major strides under new offensive coordinator Norv Turner, who has a track record for developing QBs.

Cleveland's spending spree in free agency - mostly on defense - gave worn-out Browns fans reason to hope that 2013 would bring a turnaround and dawn a new era. But some of the optimism has been erased by new owner Jimmy Haslam's legal troubles, which have cast a shadow over the season already.

Five things to know as the Browns open training camp this week:

1. RICHARDSON ROLLING: Running back Trent Richardson may be the NFL's toughest man. Playing most of his rookie year with two broken ribs he kept secret until the season ended, Richardson still rushed for 950 yards and scored 11 touchdowns. The Browns need Richardson, who reported to camp banged up last season, to shed the ``injury-prone'' label and be 100 percent healthy from the outset. He's ready to roll after missing some of the spring workouts with a sprained shin muscle. He averaged just 3.6 yards per carry - 45th among the league's runners.

2. WEEDEN GROWS: Weeden passed for 3,385 yards in 2012, not bad for a rookie. But he was overshadowed by an elite class of first-year QBs, three of whom - Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III and Russell Wilson - led their teams to the playoffs. The Browns are adjusting their offense to better fit Weeden's strengths, and Chudzinski said he has already seen marked improvement in the 29-year-old's footwork, quickness and speed in getting rid of the ball. Weeden believes he has grown as a leader as well and feels ``like a completely different player'' than last year.

3. HASLAM'S HEADACHE: The owner's ongoing legal entanglement has Browns fans on edge, and the NFL on watch. Haslam's arrival gave Cleveland a much-needed boost and he's already sunk millions into overhauling the roster, the team's suburban headquarters and a $100 million face lift of FirstEnergy Stadium is reportedly in the works. Haslam recently reached a settlement with customers his Pilot Flying J truck-stop chain cheated out of rebate money. Unless he is indicted, the league will not consider sanctions against Haslam, who has professed his innocence from the start.

4. KICKING IT: Phil Dawson's departure leaves the Browns with some huge cleats to fill. The Pro Bowl kicker, who signed as a free agent with the 49ers, was an invaluable asset for 14 years, handling field-goal and kickoff duties while mastering the tricky winds off Lake Erie. The Browns signed veteran Shayne Graham, who made 31 of 38 field goals and scored 138 points for Houston last season, to compete for the job with rookie Brandon Bogotay. The winner will have a difficult time replacing the dependable Dawson, the second-leading scorer in franchise history.

5. FLASH GORDON: Wide receiver Josh Gordon's two-game suspension for violating the NFL's drug policy makes it imperative the Browns find some other offensive playmakers. Gordon will miss the opener against Miami and the following week against Baltimore, depriving Weeden of his top target. But more importantly, the Browns have to hope Gordon, who was suspended for marijuana use in college, gets his head on straight and stays clean in the future. His teammates rave about his athletic gifts and view the 22-year-old as a future star - if he stays on the right path.

---

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

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Bobby WagnerOct 29 09:23p

Seattle Seahawks TE Zach Miller (ankle) and LB Bobby Wagner (toe) were each unable to practice Wednesday, Oct. 29, and each is already ruled out for Week 9 against the Oakland Raiders.

Max UngerOct 29 09:23p

Seattle Seahawks DT Jordan Hill (ankle), SS Jeron Johnson (concussion), CB Byron Maxwell (calf) and LB Malcolm Smith (non-injury related) did not practice Wednesday, Oct. 29. OG James Carpenter [ More ]

J. CunninghamOct 29 08:53p

The St. Louis Rams signed OT Steven Baker, WR Emory Blake, OT Travis Bond and TE Justice Cunningham to the practice squad Wednesday, Oct. 29.

Marcus LattimoreOct 29 08:53p

San Francisco 49ers RB Marcus Lattimore (knee) returned to practice Wednesday, Oct. 29. He remains on the reserve/non-football injury list.

Brian QuickOct 29 08:43p

The St. Louis Rams placed WR Brian Quick (shoulder) on the reserve/injured list Wednesday, Oct. 29.

A.J. EddsOct 29 08:33p

Atlanta Falcons FS Sean Baker, Carolina Panthers RB Darrin Reaves, Denver Broncos DE Greg Latta, New England Patriots OG Chris Barker, New York Jets LB A.J. Edds, Oakland Raiders [ More ]

Damian WilliamsOct 29 08:33p

The St. Louis Rams promoted OG Brandon Washington from the practice squad to the active roster Wednesday, Oct. 29, and they signed free-agent WR Damian Williams.

Patrick WillisOct 29 08:03p

San Francisco 49ers CB Tramaine Brock (toe), SS Jimmie Ward (quadriceps) and LB Patrick Willis (toe) were listed as limited participants in practice Wednesday, Oct. 29. CB Chris Culliver [ More ]

Ronnie HillmanOct 29 08:03p

Denver Broncos RB Ronnie Hillman (shoulder) was limited in practice Wednesday, Oct. 29.

Anthony CollinsOct 29 07:53p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers OT Anthony Collins (foot) and LB Brandon Magee (knee) did not practice Wednesday, Oct. 29. C Evan Dietrich-Smith (knee) and DE Michael Johnson (hand) were listed as limited participants.

Lamarcus JoynerOct 29 07:53p

St. Louis Rams S Cody Davis (concussion), DT Aaron Donald (shoulder), LB Jo-Lonn Dunbar (toe), DE William Hayes (foot), CB Janoris Jenkins (knee), S Rodney McLeod (knee), OT Rodger [ More ]

Billy WinnOct 29 07:43p

Cleveland Browns WR Rodney Smith (hamstring), DE Phil Taylor (knee) and OT Joe Thomas (non-injury related) did not participate in practice Wednesday, Oct. 29. DT Ahtyba Rubin (ankle) was [ More ]

A.J. GreenOct 29 07:33p

Cincinnati Bengals WR A.J. Green (toe) returned to practice on a limited basis Wednesday, Oct. 29. Green said he feels good, and he'll try to do more Thursday, Oct. [ More ]

Johnathan JosephOct 29 07:33p

Houston Texans LB Jadeveon Clowney (knee), LB Brian Cushing (knee), CB Johnathan Joseph (knee), LB Brooks Reed (groin) and LB Jeff Tarpinian (knee) did not practice Wednesday, Oct. 29. [ More ]

Stepfan TaylorOct 29 07:33p

Arizona Cardinals RB Stepfan Taylor (calf) did not practice Wednesday, Oct. 29, and he has been ruled out for Week 9.

Patrick PetersonOct 29 07:33p

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Brandon ThompsonOct 29 07:23p

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Miami Dolphins OG Daryn Colledge (illness) and TE Dion Sims (toe) did not practice Wednesday, Oct. 29. OG Nate Garner (neck), LB Chris McCain (foot), LB Koa Misi (ankle), [ More ]

Brian RobinsonOct 29 06:43p

Minnesota Vikings DE Brian Robinson (glute) and CB Jabari Price (hamstring) both did not participate in practice Wednesday, Oct. 29. CB Josh Robinson (ankle), DT Sharrif Floyd (ankle, knee), [ More ]

Cyrus GrayOct 29 06:23p

Kansas City Chiefs WR Donnie Avery (groin) did not participate in practice Wednesday, Oct. 29, and has been ruled out for the team's Week 9 game. CB Jamell Fleming [ More ]

R. Griffin IIIOct 29 05:53p

Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III is expected to start in the team's Week 9 game against the Minnesota Vikings, according to league sources.

Tracy PorterOct 29 05:53p

Washington Redskins S Ryan Clark (ankle, shoulder) and OT Trent Williams (knee) were limited in practice Wednesday, Oct. 29. LB Ryan Kerrigan (wrist), LB Trent Murphy (knee), CB Tracy [ More ]

Jon BeasonOct 29 05:33p

New York Giants LB Jon Beason (foot, toe) was placed on the Reserve/Injured list Wednesday, Oct. 29.

Jonathan GoodwinOct 29 05:23p

New Orleans Saints LB David Hawthorne (hand) and FB Austin Johnson (knee) both did not practice Wednesday, Oct. 29, and have been ruled out for the team's Week 9 [ More ]

Pierre ThomasOct 29 05:23p

New Orleans Saints RB Pierre Thomas (rib, shoulder) did not practice Wednesday, Oct. 29, and has been ruled out for Week 9.

Jimmy GrahamOct 29 05:23p

New Orleans Saints TE Jimmy Graham (shoulder) was limited in practice Wednesday, Oct. 29, and is questionable for the team's Week 9 game.

Brandon BrownerOct 29 05:03p

New England Patriots DE Chandler Jones (hip) did not participate in practice Wednesday, Oct. 29. FS Nate Ebner (finger), DE Dominique Easley (knee, shoulder), OT Cameron Fleming (finger) and [ More ]

Demario DavisOct 29 05:03p

New York Jets CB Darrin Walls (calf, knee) didn't practice Wednesday, Oct. 29. OG Oday Aboushi (shoulder), OG Willie Colon (knee), LB David Harris (shoulder), LG Trevor Reilly (knee) [ More ]

Terrell SuggsOct 29 04:53p

Baltimore Ravens WR Michael Campanaro (thigh), DT Haloti Ngata (shin), CB Jimmy Smith (foot), LB Terrell Suggs (neck), CB Lardarius Webb (non-injury) and OG Marshal Yanda (knee) all did [ More ]

Justin ForsettOct 29 04:53p

Baltimore Ravens RB Justin Forsett (ankle) did not participate in practice Wednesday, Oct. 29. Forsett is dealing with an ankle injury.

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