Ex-Browns playing well for Broncos

September 26, 2005

DENVER // Courtney Brown saw the ball loose on t h e ground and pounced. Gerard Warren saw an offensive lineman trying to get the ball from Br ow n , s o Wa r r en pounced on him.

It's still early, but that sequence last week was one of several signs that Denver's decision to make the Cleveland Connection - one of the most questioned and criticized offseason maneuvers in the entire NFL-might actually be working for the Broncos.

Tonight, Warren, Brown and company get their biggest test when the Broncos (1-1) face one of the best offenses in the league, the AFC West-rival Kansas City Chiefs (2-0).

The Broncos' defense, ranked fourth in the league last year but criticized because it didn't make big plays, has five takeaways through two games. Last season, the Broncos finished with 20 all season.

Last week in a 20-17 win over San Diego, the Broncos had four sacks and held the Chargers to 41 yards over the second half.

Individually, the decision to pick up Brown, Warren, Ebenezer Ekuban and Michael Myers, all from the Browns' defensive line, made sense. None was an overly expensive move and all four players had pedigrees that were worth looking into. Of the four, only Myers wasn't a firstround pick.

But add them together, and combine it with the fact the Broncos had earlier hired Browns defensive line coach Andre Patterson, and the move was, well, ripe for ridicule. The Browns, after all, were not very good last year. They had the NFL's worst run defense.

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