Coach Romeo Crennel is taking a more active role in play calling because of problems the Browns have had converting third downs. It is a good time to change directions because the Steelers, the Browns' opponent Sunday, are near the bottom of the league in third-down defense.
The Browns have converted 32 of 95 third-down situations, a success rate of only 33.7 percent. They had one of their better days while converting seven of 16 against the Titans, but Crennel wants more consistency.
"Everybody's involved on third down," Crennel said. "We have to protect better. We have to run better routes. We have to catch better. We have to throw better. Also, I told (the players) that maybe I have to call better plays on third down to try to help us get over the hump and be more efficient.
"We're all in it together, so we're going to work at it together and try to do better. I know that if we can move the sticks, we have a chance to move the ball and put some points on the board."
The Browns have been in third-and-2 or third-and-3 25 times and converted 30 percent of their chances. They have been in third-and-4, third-and-5 or third-and-6 23 times and converted 38 percent. Crennel was at a loss to explain why the success rate was higher at the longer distance.
"On third-and-7 to -10, we fell back," Crennel said. "On third-and-11-plus, we weren't very good at all."
Part of the problem is the Browns are too predictable. They called for pass plays on each of their first nine third-down situations against the Titans. They finally changed up on third-and-16 with a draw play to Reuben Droughns. The Titans were looking for a pass, and Droughns ran 23 yards. Crennel said running more often could improve third-down production.
REPLAY: Dennis Northcutt scored his first touchdown of the season on a 58-yard reception, and Jason Wright ran 6 yards for the Browns' first rushing touchdown of the season in a 20-14 victory over the Titans.
The Browns snapped a three-game losing streak. The Titans botched two fake punts, otherwise the Browns might be headed to Pittsburgh with a 2-6 record.