FOXBORO, MA — Former Patriots defensive tackle Greg Spires is expected to start on Sunday for Cleveland in place of Browns defensive end Courtney Brown who is currently sidelined with an ankle injury.
Spires currently has 3-sacks on the season and plays on a Cleveland defense that is currently ranked 1st in the NFL in interceptions with 25.
As for Cleveland’s offense they are ranked last in the NFL in total yards from scrimmage and are 16th in the NFL in points-per-game with 19 compared to New England who is currently ranked 8th with 23. Browns quarterback Tim Couch is said to be making big strides for Cleveland, with head coach Butch Davis reportedly impressed with what he’s seen from his quarterback. Couch was taken as the first overall selection in the 1999 NFL Draft, and according to Davis, he’s practiced well this week saying, “This has been a great week for him. He’s thrown the ball really well.”
But make no mistake, his quarterback has seen plenty of tape on the Patriots, and he knows that he’s going to have his work cut out for him.
“They’re an aggressive defense,” said Couch earlier in the week. “I think they are doing some good things with their [defensive] fronts. They are playing a lot of different looks up front. They move Willie McGinest around quite a bit and so we are going to have to account for where he is on the football field at all times.”
“You know their secondary is good. They’re a real experienced secondary. You know Ty Law and Otis Smith and those guys can really play and they’ve been around and seen a lot of different things.”
But like New England quarterback Tom Brady, Couch may also catch a break this week. The Patriots won’t have to deal with Courtney Brown, but it appears that the Browns may also be free of defensive lineman Willie McGinest who is nursing a leg injury. According to Belichick McGinest is expected to be a game-time decision.
“Willie hasn’t done too much this week,” said Belichick on Friday. “Actually I probably should clear that up a little bit. When he was hurt a couple of weeks ago we thought it was a bruise and it was a bruise, but he pulled a muscle [and] it was kind of a simultaneous injury. So that has held him back a little longer than we originally thought it would.”
“So that will probably be more of a game-time call there. He is definitely getting better, but it will be close”
Meanwhile, the Browns will be keeping an eye on wide receiver Terry Glenn in the event Belichick decides to play him on Sunday. Glenn has a history of playing well against Cleveland, and according to Davis his team will be in for a long afternoon if they don’t account for him. “You’d have to be asleep at the wheel to not see what he’s done in the past,” Davis said. “Everybody knows he’s a very accomplished receiver.”