By Tony Grossi | ESPNCleveland.com
Extra Points …
Great expectorations: Did Ray Rice spit on Phil Taylor in the Game 2 meeting in Baltimore, or not?
The incident on the second play of the game resulted in Taylor drawing a 15-yard roughness penalty after he was caught head-slapping Rice. Taylor later apologized to his team for losing his cool.
This week, Rice gave his version of what happened.
“We were two guys jawing at each other, and I had my mouthpiece in, so when I went to say something back to him, it looked as if I projected towards him,” Rice said in Baltimore. “But I had my mouthpiece in, I was saying something, he was saying something, and then, obviously, that’s what happened.”
Taylor responded Thursday, “I mean, it is what it is, you know? We’re both moving on from it and getting ready for this game.”
Taylor is mindful of playing under control, but he’s not going to promise he’ll be on best behavior.
“They’re gonna try stuff to try to get under my skin. That’s what every team does. They try to draw the penalty. I’ll just go out and play my game,” he said. “You just have to keep your cool in certain situations. I apologized to my team for getting the penalty. But I play with a lot of passion and a lot of people can respect that.”
Two forgotten aspects of that game: 1. Rice was held to 36 yards rushing on 13 attempts before leaving in the fourth quarter with a hip injury. 2. Rice hasn’t been right since and is having his worst NFL season with 242 rushing yards through seven games. His season rushing average of 2.8 yards is the same as it was in that Sept. 15 game.
There is a feeling in Baltimore that Rice might be in his best shape all year following the team’s bye week and the Ravens will seek to crank up the notorious Browns-killer.
“This is supposed to be his first game (healthy) back. So we’ll see,” Taylor said. “We just got to go in and prepare like every other week. He’s a great player, good out of the backfield catching the ball, running the ball.”
Cribbs being Cribbs: Former Browns return specialist Josh Cribbs created a stir in Cleveland and in Twitter-ville this week with inflammatory comments he made following a 49-9 loss to the Bengals.
Cribbs, recently signed by the Jets, told Newsday that he didn’t think the huge loss would result in a season meltdown for his team because: “We’re not the Browns. We’re not the team that gives up. We have fight in this team.”
Two reactions from the Browns’ locker room on Thursday:
From Browns special teamer Johnson Bademosi: “I have a lot of respect for Cribbs’ ability. I’m very surprised he would say something like that. That’s not our mentality. It’s not important. He’s apart from this team, no longer with us. That’s the noise and we ignore the noise from the media or people from other places. We take care of business here. We have a good team here. We’re going to get things done here.”
From offensive captain Joe Thomas: “Josh is always a guy that likes attention, so he’s not afraid to say things that will bring attention to him. But I think he’ll kind of regret saying that because I don’t think he’ll realize how much bad press he’ll get for that. I’m not offended. He was part of the team, too, and he’s saying he quit. People say stuff in the media all the time because they’re emotional after a game and they’re prodded or don’t think about what they’re saying.”
Horton’s weekly pearls: Defensive coordinator Ray Horton, who said after second-half breakdowns against Detroit that halftime coaching adjustments were over-rated, wouldn’t attribute the positive turnaround in Kansas City to adjustments, either.
After a terrible first half in Kansas City Sunday, the Browns sacked QB Alex Smith five times, limited him to 1 of 7 third-down conversions, and held the Chiefs to 50 yards total offense and a field goal.
“I think the biggest adjustment was a mental adjustment by the players,” Horton said. “I think they were embarrassed that (the first half) happened.
“There’s always somewhere in a season a turning point event. I hope that that halftime was our turning point.”
Horton always brings a battery of statistics to his weekly media sessions. On Thursday, he offered this:
“Other than one game, Green Bay, if you look at start of the fourth quarter, we are either leading or behind at most by three points,” he said. “So what we’ve been harping on is: What does it take to finish? We’ve got to find someplace in there (to finish). Maybe it was halftime in Kansas City. I hope.
“With 15 minutes to go, we’ve got to find a way to dig down. Whatever that is, somewhere on this team, we have to find a way -- whether it’s coaching calls, players, plays -- to swing a game that’s winnable.”
|Tony Grossi covers the Browns for ESPN 850 WKNR, ESPN 1540 KNR2 and www.espncleveland.com. |
He has covered the Browns with distinction since 1984 and is one of 46 voters for the National Football League Hall of Fame. Email your “Hey Tony” questions to firstname.lastname@example.orgFollow Tony on Twitter @tonygrossi
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