Les: What's Wrong with Ex-Ravens?

Carmen Policy and Dwight Clark brought with them a gang of 49ers. Butch Davis brought a batch of Floridians. Both were complete failures. Now, Phil Savage and Romeo Crennel are bringing ex-Ravens and Patriots to town. Will it work this time?

I don't see any negatives about the Browns attempt to acquire free agent linebacker Peter Boulware. 

Fans question the front office's desire to load up with players that either Phil Savage or Romeo Crennel are familiar with, and that is understandable based on the history of the team since its return in 1999.  Carmen Policy and Dwight Clark loaded the roster with as many former San Francisco 49ers, and Butch Davis and Pete Garcia did the same with players that had ties to them at the University of Miami, either as recruits who went elsewhere, or ones that played against Miami or played in the state of Florida. A decade earlier, Bill Belichick wasn't hesitant about grabbing up former New York Giants players, even if they had nothing left in the tank.

The San Francisco connection didn't work, because Policy and Clark did a poor job in evaluating how good those players could still be. The problem with Davis and Garcia was that they were not able to equate the level of talent of the collegiate players to what it takes to succeed in the pro ranks. 

It's different this time. 

Gary Baxter and Kyle Richardson, former Ravens, are nowhere near the downsides of their careers, and the same can be said about offensive lineman Joe Andruzzi. And from all indications, Peter Boulware is still at the top of his game, even though the Ravens wanted to limit his action on the field.

I can understand why Boulware would consider Seattle, where his brother plays, because he may perceive that the Seahawks are much further along than the Browns. 

But the Browns are banking on the fact that Crennel, fresh off his Super Bowl successes, would feature the talents of Boulware as he installs the 3-4 defense, along with his former teammate Gary Baxter. 

It is also believed that Boulware has a good relationship with Savage, who obviously is running the show in Berea.

Despite recent events involving Kellen Winslow, Jr., which was beyond the Browns control, I still have faith in what Savage and Crennel are doing. If they think Boulware can still get the job done, I won't criticize them for taking someone with whom they are familiar. 

That's the way it has always been done in the NFL, and the lack of success in that regard in Cleveland since 1999 should not deter their efforts, and the fans should understand that.

There is not much left to be said about the Winslow situation, but I was troubled by quotes coming out of the Browns locker room this week.  The company line of the players, who are talking, seems to be ‘Kellen is our teammate, and we are backing him all the way'. 

Doesn't that bother you as a Browns fan, or do you think it is just lip service?

Certainly the players should help him with Winslow's re-hab in any way they can around the Berea complex.  But is seems a little mis-guided to think of him as a great teammate, when his actions of carelessness wouldn't make anyone think that he feels the same way about them. 

All indications are that he is embarrassed by the whole situation, which would be an under-statement, but before I would back him publicly as a teammate, I'd first like to hear a public apology from him to the organization, his teammates, and the fans. 

Now, however, the line has been drawn in the sand by the Winslow family, and any apology at this point would be a little late in forthcoming.

‘More Sports & Les Levine' can be seen M-F from 6-7pm and 11pm-midnight in northeastern Ohio on AdelphiaChannel 15.  E-mail msandll@aol.com or www.leslevine.com

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