Green staying away from the spotlight
Friday, December 10th 2004, 8:18 pm
News On 6
William Green has been lying low since his costly fumble against the New England Patriots.
The Browns running back wasn't seen in the locker room during the media interview period this week.
Interim coach Terry Robiskie benched him Sunday after he lost the ball on the third play of the second half, and it was returned by Patriots cornerback Randall Gay for a touchdown.
The turnover cost the Browns any momentum they had built with a touchdown just before halftime that closed the gap to 14 points. The Patriots won in a rout, 42-15.
Robiskie danced around the issue of whether he was trying to send Green a message when he sent in Adimchinobe Echemandu for the rest of the game, saying the coaches had planned to let the rookie play.
But Robiskie spent five years in the NFL as a running back with the Oakland Raiders and Miami Dolphins and fumbled six times in 159 carries in 33 games. Robiskie made it clear Monday when he said, ``If you fumble it, we won't let you play.''
Asked how Green had bounced back, Robiskie said Friday, ``I hope he got the message.''
``He's been good in practice, he's been focused, running hard. Of course he's had to carry the load again because Lee (Suggs) was out.''
Sunday at Buffalo, Green will test the league's fourth-ranked rushing defense (97.6 yards per game). Echemandu will get some carries, while Suggs remains questionable with turf toe.
Robiskie said he hasn't talked to Green one-on-one, but tried to encourage him in practice.
``I saw him out there and I'd say, `Good cut,' '' Robiskie said. ``A couple times I saw him walking to the sideline with his head down. I patted him on his head and said, `Get your head up. There's nothing in the ground.' I don't know if he had his head down for any particular reason.
``I've learned since I played running back that you can't sit and dwell on it. The more somebody talked to me about it, the more I thought about it. The more I thought about it, the more it happened. Forget about it and move on.''
Green, who has 563 yards with four games remaining, might also be down because he's virtually lost all chance for a 1,000-yard season, which will cost him millions in incentives.
Browns defensive tackle Gerard Warren was fined $5,000 by the NFL for his helmet-to-helmet hit on Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.
But Robiskie stepped up his week-long defense of Warren, showing the media about 10 of Warren's plays from the Patriots game.
Warren dominated right guard Stephen Neal to the point that the Patriots had to double-team Warren and sometimes turned their protections toward him.
The film session was motivated by recent newspaper criticism and whispers around the building about Warren, Robiskie said.
It also seemed directed at owner Randy Lerner, who might have been turned off by Warren's threat to Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and might be considering cutting Warren.
``Gerard Warren is in there with that Michael Dean Perry guy we used to have here,'' Robiskie said, comparing him to the five-time Pro Bowler from 1990-95. ``Good football players are hard to find. Like I told Mr. Lerner, he's a good football player. If he's a bad person, I'm going to fix that.''
Robiskie said because Warren doesn't have 10 sacks (he has three) in a scheme that is middle-linebacker friendly, people think the third overall pick in the 2001 draft is a bust.
``When you watch Gerard Warren play, he's a long way from being a bust,'' Robiskie said.
``The perception people have of me not being a hustle guy, not giving great effort on the field are all lies,'' Warren said. ``Coach Robiskie knows that he's got to defend the truth. If I wasn't hustling, he'd come out and tell you `he's not worth a darn and he's not getting the job done.' ''
Warren was lifted in the fourth quarter against the Patriots, but Robiskie said that was the decision of defensive line coach Andre Patterson.
Robiskie said Patterson told him Monday that Warren had some problems with his technique.
``Gerard didn't take himself out of the game,'' Robiskie said. ``Andre Patterson took him out. I never questioned why. I believe in the coaching staff here. When Gerard came off he went and sat on the bench and he was upset. I walked over to him and said, `What's the matter?' He said, `I don't know why 'Dre took me out.' I walked over to coach Patterson and he said, `Because I'm the defensive line coach.' End of discussion.''
Warren said Patterson didn't tell him why he was replaced, but several teammates were also lifted when the score got out of hand.
Robiskie said he received an e-mail Monday from Cincinnati Bengals coach Marvin Lewis, who is preparing to face the Patriots on Sunday.
Robiskie said Lewis praised the efforts of defensive linemen Kenard Lang and Alvin McKinley and strong safety Robert Griffith against the Patriots.
``He said, `If you can get your team to play like those three guys, you'll be in pretty good shape,' '' Robiskie said.
Receiver Andre Davis, already on injured reserve, underwent surgery on his left toe. Cornerback Daylon McCutcheon (separated left shoulder) was able to take part in team drills for the first time this week, but is still listed as questionable. ``It looks like he's got a chance to maybe play,'' Robiskie said. Quarterback Kelly Holcomb (three cracked ribs) only threw on the side for the past three days.