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Shurmur says Brown's role will be changing

The SportsXchange

With the Browns getting ready for their second game without suspended left cornerback Joe Haden, Coach Pat Shurmur has some decisions to make about what to do at right cornerback.

Buster Skrine started in place of 11-year veteran Sheldon Brown at right cornerback against the Bengals and did not play well. Brown was on the field for only one play to keep alive his streak of consecutive games played, which is now at 162. He has never missed a game in his NFL career.

The Browns host the Bills on Sunday. Brown might be back at his normal position, but his role with the Browns is changing.

Brown suffered a neck stinger in the season opener against the Bills. The injury report issued by the Browns indicated he participated fully in each practice last week, but the injury did contribute to the decision to not start Brown against the Bengals.

"He was limited throughout the week," Shurmur said. "I've been with Sheldon a long time and I'm a big Sheldon Brown fan, and I'm his coach. I think his role will change here as it goes along.

"There's a good chance you'll see him in there more this week. He was banged up through (last) week and I don't think that's going to be an issue as we move forward."

Skrine, 5-foot-9, 185 pounds, had his hands full with A.J. Green. He tried to bump Green at the line of scrimmage and missed. He also missed tackles in critical situations.

It doesn't get any easier for the Browns' defense this week. The Bills ran over the Chiefs to win 35-17. Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick did not have to pass often, but he was successful when he did -- 10 of 19 for 178 yards and two touchdowns.

"There were a couple times (in Cincinnati) when I thought Buster lost his footing, where it would have helped him either get a little closer to the catch and tackle him without yardage or maybe make a play on it," Shurmur said. "I don't care how big you are, you can't slip. He's quick and he's a guy that challenges. I don't think it's significant to his size."

Many players are faster than Brown, among them Skrine, a fifth-round draft choice by the Browns in 2011. What Brown lacks in speed he makes up in savvy. He definitely was not taking a shot at his teammate when he said the following, but he is very persuasive when he says playing cornerback isn't about running the 40-yard dash.

"The older guys always told me dependability is better than ability in most cases," Brown said. "You can have all these guys running around pretty in shorts, but you can't depend on them on Sundays because you don't know if they're going to wake up and feel a certain way.

"A guy who runs a 4.1 is like a Lamborghini. He might be flashy, but I'll take a Toyota if it's dependable."

Just how dependable Shurmur still believes Brown is will be revealed in the coming weeks.

The Browns still have to play three games without Haden, who is serving a suspension for violating the league's performance enhancing policy. Haden reportedly tested positive for the stimulant Adderall during a routine drug test in the offseason.

The Browns play on the road against the Ravens and Giants after hosting the Bills.
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