posted on Aug, 22 2004 @ 09:05 AM
Former college teammates Lee Suggs and Kevin Jones are showing why they should be starting running backs in the NFL.
Suggs ran in untouched for two scores in the Cleveland Browns' 17-10 victory Saturday night over Jones and the Detroit Lions.
Suggs, who shared carries with Jones in Virginia Tech's backfield in 2002, said he wasn't looking to show up his former teammate.
"I want to outshow every back on the field -- I don't care who it is," Suggs said.
He rushed for 63 yards on six carries, including touchdown runs of 8 and 15 yards to the wide-open right side. Suggs is competing for the starting job
with William Green, who averaged four yards a carry and recovered his own fumble.
Browns coach Butch Davis would not declare a winner.
"They're still in competition," he said.
Jones was one of the few bright spots for the Lions. He gained 29 yards on six carries in his first action this preseason. The rookie, out last week
because of a hamstring injury, outplayed Artose Pinner and Shawn Bryson.
"He sees things very well ... from what I see he knows how and when to move laterally and when to lower his head and go forward," quarterback Joey
Jeff Garcia led the much-improved Cleveland offense, which failed to score a touchdown in its exhibition opener last week.
He used his mobility to get outside the pocket and went 5-for-7 for 55 yards. It was a big improvement over last Saturday when he was 3-of-5 for 23
yards in a 24-3 loss to Tennessee.
"I think he fits well in the system," Lions coach Steve Mariucci said. "They are using him in a smart way because he is good on the move."
Garcia's 25-yard completion to Kellen Winslow Jr. on third and 13 set up Cleveland's first touchdown. The rookie tight end turned and leaped to make
the tough catch before his head was driven into the turf.
"That is one of the catches that will get him to the top," Lions wide receiver Roy Williams said.
The Lions sputtered on offense and couldn't stop Cleveland's running game.
Williams again failed to make a catch. Harrington threw several balls his way but they were either high, behind him or at his feet.
"It is OK. ... The passes are going to come," Williams said.
Harrington went 5-for-12 for 45 yards and a touchdown to Charles Rogers. His backups weren't much better as Mike McMahon was 11-for-17 for 86 yards,
and Rick Mirer was 0-for-3.
Davis wanted improvement on special teams and got it in the form of a 56-yard kickoff return by Dee Brown and a blocked field goal by defensive tackle
Gerard Warren on Jason Hanson's 48-yard attempt.
Winslow also came close to blocking a couple punts.
"When you're doing things like that on special teams, it really sets your offense and defense up," Davis said.
The Browns looked inept early as Garcia fumbled the snap on the Browns' third play from scrimmage.
The Lions quickly capitalized with a 10-yard touchdown pass from Harrington to Rogers, who jumped for the high throw and showed great concentration --
juggling it slightly before pulling the ball in.
Detroit backup kicker Chris Snyder made a 21-yard field goal attempt to make it 14-10 with 3:25 left in the third quarter. Derek Schorejs increased
Cleveland's lead to 17-10 with a 38-yard field goal with 4 minutes left.
The Browns sustained several injuries: defensive back Chris Crocker left with a concussion after a helmet-to-helmet collision with tight end Casey
FitzSimmons in the third quarter, but said after the game that he was feeling OK; defensive back Michael Lehan (foot) and offensive lineman Joaquin
Gonzalez also left in the second half. X-rays taken on Gonzalez's injured ankle were negative.
Detroit linebacker James Davis limped off in the second quarter with a right ankle sprain. X-rays were negative.
"That is the most concerning for us," Mariucci said. "We are a little thin at that position.