The Owl on Crennel and Edwards

Our wise old feathered friend has seen many hotshot players come and go. He turns his gaze today to the relationship between Romeo Crennel and new WR Braylon Edwards, and opinons on how Crennel has handled his new weapon. Analysis and commentary you can't find anywhere else...

Since the first day he was hired, The Owl has been touting Romeo Crennel's ethics and honesty, the frankness with which he deals with his players and with reporters covering the team.

Having rookie wide receiver Braylon Edwards start with fifth team quarterback Lang Campbell was the right thing to do. It showed the rest of the team and Edwards Crennel would not play favorites. Crennel did not play Edwards in the preseason opener and except for a "cameo" appearance in the first half against the Lions, Edwards did not play until later in the game.

Good for Crennel. If a coach is going to establish who is boss, he has to do it from the beginning. As a wise man once told me, it is much easier to go from the Wicked Witch to Snow White than the other way around.

But the point has been made, and here's hoping Crennel lets Edwards play with the first team offense Friday night in the third preseason game. If it's as the third receiver, that's fine. I wouldn't ask Crennel to sit Dennis Northcutt in favor of Edwards, but Edwards has to get used to playing with Trent Dilfer, because when the games start to count he sure won't be catching passes from Doug Johnson, or for that matter Charlie Frye.

Timing is everything for quarterback and receiver, and the practice field and exhibition games are the time to take care of it.

"It's important but not important," Crennel said. "Everyone wants to push Braylon up. The guy has talent and we knew that when we drafted him. He missed some time and it wouldn't be fair to him and the rest of the guys on the team to throw him in there when he's not in the condition he needs to be in.

"He has made good progress, he's coming along and he's going to be a good player. There is no problem about that. I don't think it's right to throw him in there this game. We'll bring him along just like we've been bringing everyone else along on this team."

Edwards should be the third receiver because he is better than the others competing for the job. Should Crennel play Brandon Rideau, Frisman Jackson or Joshua Cribbs instead? No, no and no.

Asked about Jackson even as the fourth receiver now that Andre Davis has been traded, Crennel did not exactly give him a ringing endorsement.

"Frisman is having a decent camp," Crennel said. "I thought he was a little inconsistent early, but sometimes that happens in training camp until you can get your work with the quarterback down.

"He's a big receiver that is a big target and can cover some ground. He had been playing ‘Z' receiver so we'll move him to ‘X' to let him play there a little. I think that he'll have a chance to compete to make the team."

It's true fans and media should not get carried away about the touchdown catch Edwards made with 54 seconds to play against the Lions. He did everything perfectly on that play. He jumped facing Charlie Frye, he got both hands on the ball and he managed to keep both feet in bounds. He is a quick learner.

The red flag though is he made the play against a fourth-string cornerback who probably won't be around a week from Tuesday when final cuts are made. Whether a craftier corner would have prevented the catch is hard to say.

Edwards needs time going against top-notch corners and he needs time with the Browns best quarterback. Nothing against the cornerbacks the Browns have now, but with Daylon McCutcheon, Gary Baxter and Michael Lehan all down with injuries the test the receivers face daily isn't accurate.

No one should think Edwards would be getting pampered treatment if he played with the starters Friday. From this perch, it's the right thing to do.


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