PFW recently caught up with Bengals S Chris Crocker, who played three seasons with the Browns (2003-05) at the beginning of his career, and asked him about a couple of Cleveland-related topics, including his take on the 2010 Browns:
PFW: What's your favorite memory of your time playing in Cleveland?
Crocker: My first game as a rookie. I was the staritng nickel back, and it was against the Indianapolis Colts. Unfortunately, we lost the game, 9-6, but I played very, very well, and I was playing against Peyton Manning, Marvin Harrison, Reggie Wayne, Edgerrin James. These were some guys I had watched on TV. I didn't realize how big it was. It was a home game also. It was the first home game. It was packed, and it was really electric. That's probably the most memorable memory I have from there.
PFW: Having played the Browns earlier this season, what was your impression of them?
Crocker: One thing I can say about them this year is that they play very hard. They're smashmouth. They really are, to the definition, a smashmouth-type of the team. That's what you want out of a Cleveland team if you're a fan. They truly are now. Peyton Hillis has come on, just out of nowhere, and he's been a really big part of their offense. You always have Josh Cribbs. He's one of my favorite players that I played with. … They're definitely getting better. It doesn't look like they're far away.
PFW: You've played for a pair of AFC North teams now, as well as for Atlanta and Miami. Having played elsewhere, do you think the style of play in the AFC North is different than other divisions?
Crocker: I do. It's all outdoor football. You think of the AFC North, you think of cold, rainy, just low-scoring games. And that's what it is. It's a lot more physical, I think, in this division. We all run the ball. Cleveland, Cincinnati, Baltimore, Pittsburgh — we all have very good running backs, and we grind it out. We all have good defenses. It's very tough. When we play each other, the records really don't matter.