It may not scare the imperious Patriots, but the way the Browns are moving the football is shocking many of their fans.

It may not scare the imperious Patriots, but the way the Browns are moving the football is shocking many of their fans.


A year ago through four games, the Browns had 69 points. After four games this year, it’s 109.


In 2006, Charlie Frye quarterbacked the Browns to 896 yards and five touchdowns in his first four outings. In 2007, Derek Anderson has thrown for 964 yards and nine touchdowns.


Through four games last season, the Browns rushed for 284 yards. This season: 459.


The record isn’t up a lot -- 2-2 from 1-3 -- but optimism seems to be.


The architect of the improvement, Offensive Coordinator Rob Chudzinski, covered some of the relevant issues Friday before practice.


Item: The Patriots are allowing 69.8 rushing yards a game, tops in the NFL.


The pass defense (156.3) is allowing more yards than only Jacksonville.


Chudzinski: “There’s no cracks or chinks in the armor. They have a solid scheme. They’re well-coached. Fundamentally, they’re strong. They’re physical, great tacklers and they have great players for the scheme.


“(Safety) Rodney Harrison has been out, but they’ve done a great job with guys stepping in.”


Item: Anderson is making just his sixth NFL start against a state-of-the-art 3-4 scheme.


Chudzinski: “They disguise coverages. They do a little bit of everything. Derek just has to go play ball and read his way through his progressions, do the things he’s been doing and keep getting better like he’s been doing.”


Item: Kellen Winslow ranks behind only Antonio Gates in 2007 receiving yards by a tight end, but he’s playing with a shoulder injury.


Chudzinski: “He played through it last week, and he’s been OK with it.”


Item: Offensive lineman Ryan Tucker is back from a four-game suspension. What happens with him?


Chudzinski: “His conditioning is pretty good, and he’s kept up with things mentally. We’ll wait and sit down in the next couple of days and talk that out.”


Item: The Patriots have blown out all four opponents. The Browns are 16 1/2-point underdogs. Might they assume a what-do-we-have-to-lose mindset?


Chudzinski: “Our mentality is aggressive anyhow. That’s one of the things we want to be. That doesn’t mean we’ll be throwing bombs every play. If you’re trying to score, then the things you’re doing should be aggressive. I don’t like the term rolling the dice, because you like to think things are calculated. We’ll come out and be an attacking offense the way we’ve been.”


Item: Joshua Cribbs keeps making things happen on returns and kick and punt coverage. Is he doing too much to add more offense to his repertoire?


Chudzinski:  “He’s such a valuable player on the team. We have a package for him. He’s playing more wide receiver in a more normal situation for us. That package will continue to grow.”


Injury report


The Browns are being cautious with left guard Eric Steinbach’s neck stinger, which knocked him out for part of the Baltimore game. He is listed as questionable. Veteran Lennie Friedman is staying ready, and Ryan Tucker is available.


Gary Baxter, who has occupied an active roster spot for four weeks without playing, could make his comeback from double patellar tendon surgery. He is listed as questionable. It’s possible the team will wait until the bye week and make a final decision on Baxter before Game 7 at St. Louis.


Defensive end Orpheus Roye is questionable with a knee issue.


Reach Repository sports writer Steve Doerschuk at (330) 580-8347 or e-mail steve.doerschuk@cantonrep.com