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Posted by ESPN.com's James Walker
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|Cleveland's counting on second-year corners Eric Wright (left) and Brandon McDonald this season.|
BEREA, Ohio -- Although they are the subject of many jokes in Cleveland, Browns starting cornerbacks Eric Wright and Brandon McDonald aren't laughing.
In fact, both players are extremely confident they will fill their roles in the secondary this year even when most outsiders view them as Cleveland's biggest weakness.
"We have a lot of athletic ability," Wright said, fending off questions of their readiness. "We are ready for the challenge. If guys want to throw at us, they will be sorry later."
Both Wright and McDonald are second-year players. Wright was taken in the second round and Cleveland snagged McDonald in the fifth round. But a combined 15 starts between them on a team with high expectations presents a cause for concern.
Expect teams to test Cleveland's secondary early and often. It will start in Week 1 when receiver Terrell Owens, quarterback Tony Romo and the Dallas Cowboys come to town in one of the best matchups to open the season.
"I am sure we are going to be ready for that challenge," McDonald said. "Eric has a high confidence level and so do I so we are just going to go out and try to get things done."
Cleveland traded its top cornerback -- Leigh Bodden -- to the Detroit Lions along with a third-round pick for defensive tackle Shaun Rogers, who has been dominant so far in training camp. The Browns also acquired defensive end Corey Williams to help with the run and generate a pass rush along the front seven.
The Browns sacrificed their depth in the secondary as a result. But for years Cleveland has seen the alternative of having a decent secondary with no strength up front, and the old way hasn't worked.