After trading Braylon Edwards(notes) despite their problems offensively, the Browns look to end a 10-game losing streak Sunday against a struggling Bills team that is still waiting for a breakout performance from Terrell Owens(notes).
Cleveland (0-4) traded Edwards to the New York Jets on Wednesday for wide receiver Chansi Stuckey(notes), linebacker Jason Trusnik(notes) and two undisclosed draft choices. Edwards’ off-field problems were apparently too much for coach Eric Mangini, who also dealt talented-but-enigmatic tight end Kellen Winslow(notes) to Tampa Bay in February for draft picks.
“This is a business and the business is winning,” Browns Pro Bowl offensive tackle Joe Thomas(notes) said. “And the man in charge is going to decide if you’re helping us win. If you’re not, you’re going to be gone.”
Edwards had 10 receptions for 139 yards and was held without a catch for the first time in his career in Cleveland’s 23-20 overtime loss to Cincinnati last Sunday.
A Pro Bowler in 2007, Edwards allegedly punched promoter Edward Givens, a friend of NBA star LeBron James, following an argument in downtown Cleveland on Monday. The NFL is investigating whether Edwards violated the league’s conduct policy.
Edwards has a long history of troublesome incidents.
He was partying with suspended Browns wide receiver Donte Stallworth in Miami the night Stallworth drove drunk and killed a pedestrian in March. Edwards was not with Stallworth at the time.
Even with Edwards, Cleveland averaged 8.0 points during its 10-game losing streak.
Buffalo (1-3) has scored a total of 17 points in its last two games despite taking a chance on the outspoken Owens this past offseason, signing the well-traveled star to a one-year contract two days after he was cut by Dallas in March.
Owens, who was expected to spark a methodical passing attack, has been held to eight catches for 158 yards and one touchdown. The headline-grabbing receiver has been well-behaved for the most part, but Buffalo is in desperate need of more big plays.
Quarterback Trent Edwards(notes) is having trouble going deep, even though he has Owens and big-play threat Lee Evans(notes) at his disposal. Twenty of Edwards’ 117 attempts have traveled 16 yards or beyond.
Edwards has regressed since helping the Bills win five of their first six games last season. In his last 12 games, he’s averaging 190.0 yards with Buffalo losing nine of those contests.
He threw three interceptions, one of which was returned for a TD, in a 38-10 loss to Miami last Sunday.
Owens, who has been critical of quarterbacks and others in the past, has resisted placing blame on Edwards or the offense.
“We just have to get back to the drawing board and keep working,” he said.
Bills coach Dick Jauron, meanwhile, has had no problem taking fault for his team’s issues. He called the loss to the Dolphins “embarrassing,” with the offense managing 206 yards and converting 1 of 11 third-down chances.
“I point the finger at myself first,” said Jauron, who had three straight 7-9 seasons before being retained for another year by owner Ralph Wilson.
Mangini may soon be facing some heat as well if his moves don’t pan out. Though Edwards and Winslow were distractions at times, they were the Browns’ top two threats on offense.
Rookie Mohamed Massaquoi(notes) will likely take Edwards’ spot in the starting lineup, and Stuckey will compete for playing time as a slot receiver. Stuckey had 11 catches for 120 yards and a touchdown in a starting role for the Jets.
Anderson completed 26 of 48 passes for 269 yards with one TD while also running for a score. He gave the Browns a boost after they scored a total of nine points in their previous two contests.
Harrison, a fifth-round pick in 2006, scored his only career rushing touchdown from 72 yards against Buffalo last season, and Phil Dawson(notes) connected on a career-long 56-yard field goal with 1:39 remaining to give the Browns a 29-27 victory Nov. 17.
Trent Edwards threw three interceptions in that game.
Dawson, who has missed the last two games is listed as doubtful with a calf injury, and Cleveland may also be without LB D’Qwell Jackson(notes) (hamstring), who led the league with 188 tackles last season.
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