|CB Sheldon Brown will be back on the field after a one-game benching. (US Presswire)|
Why had veteran cornerback Sheldon Brown been replaced when he was listed as probable? It seemed that he had recovered from the neck stinger suffered the week before.
Yet he was replaced by inexperienced Buster Skrine, who struggled mightily in the loss to the Bengals. The secondary was the primary reason for the defeat that lowered the Browns' record to 0-2.
The truth was told Thursday by Brown, who revealed that he was indeed healthy and simply benched. But rather than express bitterness over losing his starting job, he spoke of understanding.
"It's their car -- they have the keys," he said. "I didn't need any explanation. I'm far past that in my career. I've seen that happen to a lot of older guys in their careers."
The benching might be the shortest in NFL history. Coach Pat Shurmur stressed that Brown would receive significant reps Sunday against Buffalo. Shurmur indicated early in the week that Brown would play in three-receiver sets, which the Bills use extensively. But he added on Thursday that Brown could also be used in traditional two-receiver sets as well.
The cornerback seemed more concerned with the psyche of Skrine, who was badly shaken after the defeat. Skrine consistently allowed receivers to separate and had major problems tackling. Brown urges him to put the game behind him.
"Buster has been one of my favorites of all time from Day 1," he said. "I would tell him that one game doesn't define your career. It's over and done with. Get a pick or break up a couple passes and you're a hero."
From uncle Fritz to nephew Pat: Shurmur said he's been a fan of defensive coordinator Dick Jauron well before the two met. Shurmur's uncle Fritz, who was an assistant coach in Detroit in the mid-1970s, spoke highly of Jauron to his nephew at that time. Jauron was a highly respected defensive back with the Lions. Fritz continued to praise Jauron after the latter forged his own coaching career.
"I used to ask Fritz questions about things and people," Shurmur said. "It came up that Dick Jauron was his favorite guy in the league as a player and a coach."
Shurmur said he was pleased when he landed the job in Cleveland that Jauron was available.
"He's a highly moral, highly principled guy," Shurmur said. "He's a bright coach. ... We as coaches sometimes get our emotions involved, but Dick isn't like that. He's a very calming influence for me."
Has time come for TE Cameron? The concussion that has kept TE Alex Smith out of practice this week could result in significant playing time for second-year pro Jordan Cameron against the Bills on Sunday.
That could be a problem. Smith is the team's best blocker from that position and fullback Owen Marecic has struggled in all areas. Cameron is expected to take his vast pass-catching abilities from the practice field into games, but Shurmur has made it no secret that he must improve his blocking to earn more reps.
And Cameron knows it.
"It's something I'm getting better at," he said. "I'm working on my technique, my hand placement and where to put my helmet." Cameron, however, added that he doesn't feel he'll never play if he misses a block.
Making progress vs. ground game: The Browns have yielded an average of 4.2 yards per carry (14th in the NFL) and 115 rushing yards per game (18th). In 2011, opponents averaged 4.4 yards per rush (21st) and 147.4 per game (30th).
They will make no one forget about the 1976 Steelers, but it is an improvement. After all, the Browns have already faced Pro Bowl back LeSean McCoy and well-respected BenJarvus Green-Ellis.
"We're better at stopping the run this year and I think that will reveal itself as we play out the season," Shurmur said. "But keep in mind that [the most important thing] is eliminating the score."
The Browns have yet to surrender a rushing touchdown.
Stay dialed in on the Cleveland Browns on Twitter at @CBSSportsNFLCLE throughout the season with on-site updates from CBSSports.com RapidReports correspondent Marty Gitlin.