Saturday's injury to Braylon Edwards (needing stitches in his right foot when he was stepped on by Donte' Stallworth while jogging in socks) once again opens the door for Cleveland's young receiving corps.
The group had its first chance to shine when Stallworth missed the first few days of camp with a hamstring strain suffered while training at home. Now there's a possibility Edwards could have seen his last action in a preseason game. Coach Romeo Crennel is already on the record as saying his starters won't play in the finale Aug. 28 against Chicago. That leaves Monday's game at the New York Giants and Aug. 23 at Detroit. Crennel isn't likely to rush back a Pro Bowl player who already has developed chemistry with quarterback Derek Anderson, especially when Crennel must make sure Edwards' stitches are healed.
But a surprise came in Monday's practice when first-year man Steve Sanders spent quite a bit of time in Edwards' spot instead of Travis Wilson. Sanders, a Cleveland East High and Bowling Green product, toiled on the practice squad in 2007. Wilson had seemed to be making strides in OTAs and minicamp, then caught three passes for 58 yards in the preseason-opening loss to the Jets, drawing post-game mention from Crennel.
Sanders, 6-3 and 205, has good size, is a hard worker and is very intelligent (he majored in integrated mathematics at BG). But the fact that Crennel isn't using this time without Edwards to hone Wilson's skills seems puzzling. Could Crennel and general manager Phil Savage have seen enough from Wilson to decide the third-round pick from Oklahoma in 2006 won't ever be a good fit? Has his confidence been so damaged from spending every game in 2007 on the inactive list that it's irreparable?
Wilson has caught only two passes for 32 yards in his career, so it doesn't seem likely he's trade bait. Roster cuts come on Aug. 26 (to 75) and Aug. 30 (to 53). With Joe Jurevicius sidelined indefinitely with a staph infection, the Browns must find a dependable No. 3 receiver before Sept. 7. The question is whether they've determined Wilson will never be that guy.
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