July 23, 2014

Medina
Cloudy
67°F

Browns: McGahee wants to prove worth

BEREA — Willis McGahee admits his Browns debut was a dud, but vows to be much better Sunday when Cleveland hosts the Cincinnati Bengals.

The veteran running back gained 9 yards on eight carries in the Browns’ 31-27 win at Minnesota, which occurred just three days after he signed with the team.

New Browns running back Willis McGahee, right, is proclaiming his production will improve Sunday vs. Cincinnati. (AP PHOTO)

“It’s going to be a dramatic improvement this week,” McGahee said Thursday prior to practice. “I am going to have more than 9 yards, don’t worry about that.

“Something is gonna pop out. Whether it’s a touchdown or a 100-yard game, I don’t know, but something is definitely popping for me on Sunday.”

The 6-foot, 235-pounder looked out of sync against the Vikings in his first NFL game since Nov. 18, 2012. On the plus side, he said his right knee felt fine, which was a concern since he suffered a torn medial collateral ligament and compression fracture in his last pro contest.

Cleveland coach Rob Chudzinski said McGahee will again split carries with Chris Ogbonnaya and Bobby Rainey, but left the door open for one of them to win the job outright.

“Oby is doing a great job, whether he’s at fullback or tailback,” said McGahee, who will turn 32 on Oct. 21. “I can’t complain about that. But for me as a competitor, I like touching the rock. I think we’re going to work well together.”

The trio must be more productive than it was in Minnesota. The Browns’ leading rusher in Week 3 was safety Josh Aubrey, who gained 34 yards on a fake punt. Ogbonnaya was second with 23 on two carries, while wide receiver Josh Gordon had 22. Rainey added 17 on four totes.

“I learned something last week: You just can’t come out of your house and get 100 yards,” said McGahee, who has 33 such performances in his career. “I got blasted once and it woke me up. Once that happened, I knew I was back.

“I’m still getting a feel for my blockers, but I guarantee you I’ll be a lot better in the next game.”

McGahee remains the 42nd-leading rusher in NFL history with 8,106 yards, but is within striking range of No. 41 Priest Holmes (8,172), No. 40 Gerald Riggs (8,188), and No. 39 Roger Craig (8,189).

Injury update

Browns kicker Billy Cundiff (right thigh), quarterback Brandon Weeden (right thumb), linebackers Jabaal Sheard (knee) and Quentin Groves (ankle) and defensive tackle Billy Winn (quadriceps) did not practice. Chudzinski is expected to announce today whether Cundiff will be able to kick against Cincinnati.

Guards Shawn Lauvao (left ankle surgery) and Oniel Cousins (chest) were limited, while wide receiver Josh Gordon (ankle) and defensive ends Desmond Bryant (wrist) and Ahtyba Rubin (calf) took part in all team activities.

Lauvao, who underwent an arthroscopic procedure on Aug. 9, did not appear optimistic about making his season debut this week.

“Honestly, I feel kind of rusty because I’ve been out of the game for a little while,” the starting right guard said. “My ankle is sore because I’ve definitely been taking on a bigger workload, so I’m taking it day by day.” …

Bengals cornerbacks Leon Hall (hamstring) and Dre Kirkpatrick (hamstring), guard Mike Pollack (knee) and safety Reggie Nelson (hamstring) have not practiced this week. Running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis (ankle) and cornerback Terence Newman (knee) were full participants.

Legendary

Linebacker Galen Fiss (1956-1965) and guard Abe Gibron (1950-1956) will be inducted into the Cleveland Browns Legends as part of the franchise’s alumni weekend Sunday. They will become the 53rd and 54th members of the club.

Two-time Pro Bowl selection Fiss played in 139 games and made 13 interceptions while helping the Browns reach the playoffs four times. He was a member of Cleveland’s 1964 NFL championship squad.

Four-time Pro Bowl honoree Gibron blocked for Hall of Fame quarterback Otto Graham and running back Marion Motley. He appeared in 84 games with Cleveland and later coached the Chicago Bears.

Extra points

The Browns/Bengals game is designated as the No. 3 matchup of the week on CBS, but it will be shown in the smallest geographic area of its five contests. It will only air in Ohio (excluding Steubenville) and a portion of Kentucky.

• The Browns’ road win over the Vikings drew a season-low 26.8 local television rating and 54 share in Greater Cleveland. The game earned a 30.4 rating and 65 share in Minneapolis-St. Paul.

Quote of the day

“Kind of the unwritten NFL rule is teams take four deep shots a game, one a quarter. You know it’s going to come somewhere, but you don’t know when it’s going to come.” — Browns defensive coordinator Ray Horton.

Contact Brian Dulik at brisports@hotmail.com.