Wake-up: Haslam optimistic about Browns

November, 30, 2012
11/30/12
8:00
AM ET
It's Friday and that means predictions will be posted around noon and the Final Word will come out early afternoon. But, like every morning, here's your wake-up call:

RAVENS: Paul Kruger has dealt with adversity before, surviving a gang attack four years ago and a four-wheeling accident as a teenager. Maybe that's why he has been able to tough it out after struggling early in his career. Kruger now leads the Ravens with 5.5 sacks after making only one in his first two seasons. "I've matured a lot," Kruger told The Baltimore Sun. "I had never had money before in my life. You start being around a lot of different influences. I learned the hard way, being around bad agents, being around girls, being around parties. You start to realize, 'This is not the path I want to go down, this is not who I am.'"

STEELERS: Sunday's game in Baltimore may be Charlie Batch's last appearance in the NFL. If Ben Roethlisberger doesn't play Sunday -- which doesn't appear likely -- he should be back next week. That means Batch is entering the final game in what could be his final season. "I know I didn't play well last week," Batch told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "Anytime that you have another opportunity like this week, for me this is going out there and making sure I don't make those mistakes again." While Batch's three-interception performance didn't inspire much confidence, Roethlisberger believes in him. "I think he's ready to rise to the occasion," Roethlisberger said.

BENGALS: Just when the Bengals found their No. 2 wide receiver, they might have to go without him Sunday in San Diego. Rookie third-round pick Mohamed Sanu was added to the injury report after Thursday's practice with a foot injury. According to The Cincinnati Enquirer, Sanu will be evaluated by the team's medical staff Friday morning. Sanu has caught a touchdown pass in three consecutive games, becoming another threat in the passing game opposite Pro Bowl receiver A.J. Green. If Sanu doesn't play against the Chargers, Brandon Tate would likely get the start. Tate is sixth on the team with nine catches this season.

BROWNS: New Browns owner Jimmy Haslam told The Plain Dealer that he feels the team is on the cusp of being a playoff contender. "We're 3-8, but if you went back through the season, I could make a case where we could easily be 6-5," he told the paper. "Dallas, Philly, Indy are all games I think we should've won. If we win those three games, we're 6-5 and in the hunt for the playoffs, right? We're very close. We weren't competitive against the Giants after jumping off to an early lead, but every other game we've been in in the fourth quarter. As you know, some of them have gone down to the last minute or two."

Jamison Hensley

ESPN Ravens reporter

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