A team with 15 rookies will usually not boast many players with a thorough knowledge of franchise history. Most of the young Browns are not in tune with the passion of the fans about Art Modell, who died Thursday morning nearly 17 years after he moved the team to Baltimore.

But several veteran players do have a greater awareness. Two of them are wide receiver Josh Cribbs and placekicker Phil Dawson. Both understand that the organization is in a sensitive situation regarding its fans.

If the team honors Modell with a moment of silence before the season opener Sunday, it is certain that many fans will boo. The team issued a one-sentence condolence to his family and it's quite likely it will do nothing more. Cribbs agrees that the task of creating a ceremony in memory of Modell should fall upon the Ravens, but he also believes that the situation calls for respect.

"We all understand the severity of this," he said. "The fans are just voicing their opinions. Fans are die-hard. But this is a person's life. That's a loved one. He has a family and he was loved in the NFL. There might not be so much love in Cleveland, we all understand why, but at the same time, that's a person's life. We should respect that and respect a person's family. A man's life is more important than football."

Dawson declined to express his view on the proper response by the organization. Instead, he offered that his football legacy should be put in its proper perspective at this time.

"When someone passes, thoughts go to (the) family," he said. "There should be nothing more than that. In terms of how the NFL [or team] handles this, that's a question for people who make those decisions."

And Modell's legacy in Cleveland?

"There are people a lot more knowledgeable about that than me," he said. "By the time I got here, all that was said and done."

Dawson arrived in Cleveland with the expansion Browns in 1999.

Helping Brown hang: Veteran CB Sheldon Brown could be put to the test Sunday against Philadelphia if he lines up opposite receiver DeSean Jackson. But defensive coordinator Dick Jauron indicated he thought Brown and the secondary had the situation under control.

"Sheldon has a lot of experience in this league," he said. "He can read routes extremely well, play down and distance situations and use his hands to slow him down by jamming in the five-yard area. We can help him out at times by putting someone out there on top of him, go high and low. But you shouldn't sell [Browns's] athleticism short."

Brown will face a burner no matter what. If Jackson lines up against cornerback mate Joe Haden, Brown must cover speedy Jeremy Maclin.

Making of an NFL receiver: By the end of the preseason, the most effective Browns wide receiver was rookie Josh Gordon. Gordon received plenty of playing time, even in the last game against the Bears in which most first-teamers rested.

Browns offensive coordinator Brad Childress praised his progress.

"I watched him play more fluid and play faster because he was starting to get it," Childress said. "I was watching that evolution."

Gordon finished the preseason with a team-high six catches for 105 yards. Most encouraging for a team that is seeking to stretch the field vertically was his 17.5 per-catch average. He is listed as the third receiver behind Greg Little and Mohamed Massaquoi, but he showed more promise than both in the preseason and will most assuredly see plenty of playing time from the start.

Grain of salt for depth chart? Asked why RB Montario Hardesty is second on the depth chart behind Trent Richardson and ahead of Brandon Jackson, coach Pat Shurmur said, "I wouldn't read too much into that."

Jackson outplayed Hardesty through most of the preseason, which he finished with 135 yards on 34 carries and one touchdown. Hardesty fumbled twice while rushing for 97 yards on 30 attempts.

Stay dialed in on the Cleveland Browns on Twitter at @CBSSportsNFLCLE throughout the season with on-site updates from CBSSports.com RapidReports correspondent Marty Gitlin.