Owl: Noise Begets Noise

Wherein a wise old bird offers some advice to help a new head coach turn CBS into home...

Hey, Romeo. I like the way you're bringing this team along, man, but there's something I have to tell you, and I want to get this message to you before the Browns play another game.

Quit being so polite, will you? Start bitching at the officials when a call doesn't go your way. You think Bill Cowher's face is contorted that way naturally? Well, it isn't. He gets in an official's ear every time a call goes against the Steelers, and judging by his facial expressions very few penalties called on Pittsburgh are correct.

I understand your dilemma. You and Phil Savage are trying to build a class organization here, and all signs point to a successful beginning. You don't want a bunch of jackasses on your football team and you probably figure if you act like one they will take your lead, especially after you preached about the taunting penalties Braylon Edwards and Antonio Bryant got in the Colts game.

So what you have to do is pick your spots. You don't have to rip a down marker away from the little guy in glasses holding it and then throw the down marker at the ref like a javelin. What you do is yell at the guy who threw the penalty flag on Frisman Jackson for the illegal block that wiped out an 82-yard punt return by Dennis Northcutt for a touchdown.

You said that was a touch foul. Yelling wouldn't change the call in that game, but maybe the next time one of your players commits a similar infraction the zebra will look the other way.

And while we're giving etiquette lessons here, let me remind you that red rag in your pocket is for throwin', not for nose blowin'.

Challenge something. Anything! You've coached nine games now, including preseason, and not one challenge. What's up with that? Butch would have made four or five challenges by now.

Don't feel that just because you are a first-year head coach that you have to pay some kind of dues before you can start barking. This might be your first year with The Big Whistle, but you certainly are no rookie. You've been on the sideline for a quarter century in the NFL. You know what they say about the squeaky wheel always getting the grease? Well start squeaking.

You might have noticed by now the fans in Cleveland Browns Stadium aren't the noisiest bunch in the NFL. Oh, they used to be all right, when the Browns played in the old stadium and the day was more about football than G.E. Smith and packaged sound so loud you can't hear yourself think.

The Owl remembers sitting on a beam in the old stadium and being almost knocked off his perch the sound was so loud. Those posts were a pain, sure, but if you went to the old joint enough it was almost as though you could see through the posts.

We'll reminisce some other time, but if you want to get the fans riled up and on your side, do something to get them going. Whip off your head set. Yell at somebody. You're not a screamer. We can see that. But if you yell at a ref, fans will follow your act and start yelling at the other team.

That's about it for this week, but as long as we're handing out free advice, how about running a few more times a game? Say, about 23 carries for Reuben Droughns and five or six for William Green? There's nothing like moving the chains with a first down on the ground to get this crowd going.

Tell your offensive coordinator Maurice Carthon he has already proven he mixes things up well. Don't get the wrong idea. I didn't have a problem with Trent being in the shotgun on the first play last week. The problem was it was not a great snap and Dilfer should have caught it. The call was fine.

Just remember to give the ref an earful Sunday. Save being polite for the next time you go out to dinner.

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