• 52°

Davis doesn#039;t like bye week

BEREA -- Butch Davis learned how tough it is to be an NFL fan these days.

Davis spent much of the Cleveland Browns' bye week kicking back. He relaxed, spent quality time with his family and got a few chores done around the house.

On Sunday, Davis decided to get back to football, and, with remote control in hand, he plunked himself down in front of the TV to watch a few games.

He's still recovering.

''I'm not a good fan,'' he said. ''If you got up and went to the refrigerator in the last two minutes you missed most of the game. In just about every game that was on TV, whether it was the Chicago Bears-New England game or the Steelers, everybody went down to the last two or three minutes.

''It looked like everybody had our game plan and tried to win in the last 14 seconds.''

Well, at least now Davis knows what it's been like to root for the Browns (4-5) the past two seasons.

Or just about anyone else this season.

Cleveland's week away from the field gave some of the Browns a chance to get healthy for a stretch run they hope will take them to the AFC playoffs.

Safety Robert Griffith (broken shoulder), cornerback Corey Fuller (torn knee tendon), running back Jamel White (separated shoulder) and linebacker Kevin Bentley (broken hand) could all be back for this Sunday's game at Cincinnati.

''For us, it (the bye) came at a good time,'' Davis said.

With seven games left, and with 12 of the conference's 16 teams currently having four or five wins, the playoffs are still a possibility for the Browns.

''Definitely it is,'' defensive end Kenard Lang said. ''We're 4-5, it's not like we're 7-9 and there's no games left. There are too many games left, and I'm ready to get back in it.''

As Davis witnessed from the comfort of his family room on Sunday, anything is possible this season. Parity is the norm around the league, where even the lowly Bengals can claim an upset.

But while Davis will preach the ''any given Sunday'' mantra to his players, he doesn't want them thinking too far ahead.

''The most important thing is to take care of us,'' he said. ''It would be a horrible mistake for our football team to start focusing on what happened in the South, North or West. Just take care of us and let's try to play the best we can for the next seven weeks.''

After getting the last four days off, the Browns practiced again Monday. Just as he had hoped, Davis felt the time away recharged his players.

''They came back excited and reinvigorated,'' Davis said. ''They were crisp.''

The same was true of his coaching staff, which returned from college scouting trips. For the second year in a row, Davis sent his assistant coaches out for a few days to evaluate players eligible for next year's draft.

Before they left, Cleveland's coaches helped Davis analyze the first nine games and the plan for the final seven.

Davis said the club has scrapped several running plays that didn't work and won't be tried again this season.

''We eliminated the ones where we had ample attempts, but we just weren't getting it,'' he said.

Davis doesn't plan any immediate personnel changes, and again showed his unconditional support for rookie running back William Green, averaging a woeful 2.3 yards per carry.