BEREA - Ryan Tucker`s transition from right tackle to right guard has been smooth, but it has the potential to hit a speed bump Sunday.
Cardinals defensive tackle Darnell Dockett (6-foot-4, 290 pounds), who will line up across from Tucker, leads all NFL interior linemen with eight sacks.
"He`s a good player," Tucker said. "He`s a tall guy and has great get-off. He has this knack for timing up snaps you don`t see a whole lot."
Tucker, an 11-year veteran, said his years at tackle give him an advantage against a quality interior pass rusher.
"I set different than most guards," he said. "Most guards step up into the line, where I sink. That really benefits us, because we don`t get picked on (stunts). It benefits us in a lot of ways."
Tucker took over at guard three games ago after Seth McKinney (shoulder) was placed on injured reserve. Tucker hadn`t played guard in more than eight years.
"I like it a lot," he said. "It`s been working out great. I`m happy with it."
At 6-6, 320, Tucker forms a sizable duo with right tackle Kevin Shaffer (6-5, 325).
"Ryan`s done a nice job at guard," coach Romeo Crennel said. "Ryan embraces playing football. He`s a football player and he just wants to be out there playing."
Romeo goes national
Crennel was a call-in guest on "Mike and Mike in the Morning," a sports talk show on ESPN Radio and ESPN2. Does he like the attention?
"No, not really," he said. "Because it takes away from my time and I can be doing something else. But it kind of goes with the territory a little bit, so you do some of it.
"I feel good for the players and for the city â€“ the fact that when they talk about the Cleveland Browns now, they`re talking in a positive light rather than the negative light they`ve been speaking in for the last several years. It makes it a more enjoyable day when you wake up and they`re saying good things about you."
With the Browns 7-4, Crennel has gone from the hot seat after Week 1 to a coach of the year candidate. He doesn`t notice a difference.
"Romeo Crennel has been Romeo Crennel ever since he got here in 2005 and has been doing the same thing and will continue to do the same thing," Crennel said. "Whatever they want to say about Romeo Crennel, they can go ahead and say. If it`s positive, I`ll feel a little bit better about it. If it`s negative, I`ll feel a little worse about it. But I`m going to do what I think is best for the Cleveland Browns."
Staying or going?
Running back Jamal Lewis signed a one-year deal in March worth $3.5 million, with another $1.5 million in incentives. He can become a free agent in the offseason.
"If it works out here, it works out here," he said. "If it don`t, it don`t.
"As long as I keep doing my job, it takes care of itself. I don`t worry about that."
Lewis has rushed for 741 yards, a 4.1 average and eight touchdowns. He said he likes it here, but acknowledged that he signed a one-year deal to show the rest of the NFL that he can still be an effective back.
General manager Phil Savage thinks he accomplished his goal.
"A good Jamal is a hungry Jamal," Savage said. "I think that theme has played out this year. Jamal has given us a demeanor and a toughness and just a temperament on offense we didn`t have before. That has to be factored in."
Savage said a decision hasn`t been made on whether to pursue a long-term deal with Lewis.
"Jamal and I have a good relationship," he said. "I will keep him in the loop."
Receiver Braylon Edwards missed his second straight day of practice to rest a strained hamstring, but Crennel didn`t sound worried.
"I expect him to play," he said. "We`ll see what he can do (today). He came up and put his arm around me (Wednesday), so I told him I`m going to give him another day off."
Nose tackle Ethan Kelley, defensive end Orpheus Roye and cornerback Eric Wright missed practice with knee injuries. Roye seems the most likely to play Sunday.
Shaffer, defensive end Robaire Smith and linebacker Antwan Peek, also all with knee injuries, returned to practice in a limited role and are expected to play.
Kellen Winslow II is on pace for 1,271 yards receiving, which would fall 19 yards short of the best season by his Hall of Fame father.
A gambling Web site has a proposition bet on whether Winslow will pass his dad`s mark. No is the favorite, requiring a $200 bet to win $100. A $100 wager on Winslow II would bring $150.
Crennel was asked to compare the Winslows.
"I don`t want him to have to try and be his father. I want him to be himself," he said. "That`s why he is K2 and not K1. He`s a different player at a different time. I want Kellen Jr. to be as good as he can be."
Crennel was asked about the city`s reaction to the team`s success.
"I think this town has always loved the Browns," he said. "Now that the team is doing well I think there`s a sense of pride in the fans and a sense of pride about the team. They want the team to continue to do well."
* Crennel has told the team to hydrate during the week to prepare for the game in the desert. He said if you wait until the game, it`s too late.
Contact Scott Petrak at 329-7135 or email@example.com.