Owl: Another Squeaky Wheel

The Owl, being among the wisest of all members of the animal kingdom, as well as one of the few able to use a word processor, knows all about squeaks. Especially ones made by field mice when he... um... let's not go there. This Owl, though, does know that one squeaky wheel led to an improvement in the Browns offense last weekend. Let's have another...

The cool thing about writing columns is you get to tell somebody else how to do his or her job better, and it doesn't matter how long they've have been plying their craft.

Political columnists can tell the president how he should be running the country and what he should be doing around the world. Movie critics are always correcting Hollywood directors so the next time the guy gets his movie right.

Sports columnists are the smartest of all. Just ask us. We can coach any team, no matter what shape the ball, and we can play any position for any sport, be it football, baseball or basketball. We know hockey, horse racing, soccer, golf...In short, if it can be played, it can be second-guessed.

Columnists on any given day know what Romeo Crennel is messing up, why Eric Wedge is no good, what Mike Brown is missing, what Paul Silas missed, what is wrong with Trent Dilfer, whether or not LeBron James is staying and of course we know what each team should do in its respective draft.

That Bible verse "Judge not lest ye be judged"? Columnists on all levels are exempt from that sound advice from Jesus. We get to pass all kinds of moral judgments when an athlete or other public figure runs afoul of the law.

But since this column is about the Browns, The Owl will restrict his boundless knowledge to helping Crennel coach.

Romeo, do us all a favor and get the ball to Braylon Edwards more. Stories have been written for a few weeks now about how Dennis Northcutt feels like he's being ignored in this offense. He squawked, and he caught three passes against the Titans. One was for a touchdown covering 58 yards.

This is squeaky wheel, or should we say squawky wheel, getting the grease Exhibit A.

If anyone should be moaning, it's Edwards. He has 15 catches for 230 yards. Northcutt has 18.

A big chunk of Edwards' yardage was 80 yards in Green Bay, when he ran a quick slant and dashed the last 72 yards for a touchdown. Without that he has 14 catches for 150 yards.

Edwards is the best playmaker the Browns have, but he is not getting the opportunities he should. Sunday night in Pittsburgh would be a great time to feature the rookie from Michigan.

"Dennis is an experienced receiver in this league and he has done it for a while - more than Braylon has," Crennel said. "Dennis is not a throw-away. Although Braylon is coming on and is a bigger target he is still a work in progress. He's making progress and as a result we'll put him in that rotation. He's going to get more plays and if he continues to progress he'll eventually be a starter."

Edwards caught just one dinky two-yard pass against the Titans. He did not complain. To be fair, Trent Dilfer tried to throw him a pass in the end zone but the pass was incomplete because of the gusting wind.

Edwards held out and that made him look selfish. It set back his development. But he has proven to be a team player. He threw a key block last week on a pass to Reuben Droughns that covered 51 yards.

Droughns caught the ball near the goal line, eluded tacklers and darted into the open field. Edwards was supposed to block strong safety Tank Williams. He didn't get Williams cleanly the first time, but Edwards caught up to Williams again and made sure Williams did not tackle Droughns.

"As receivers we talk about going and getting our guy all the time," Edwards said. "You never know if something is going to break. If it does, you don't want your guy to be the one to make the tackle.

"It was one of those situations where I went inside and hit my guy. He got by me. As Reuben broke, (Williams) tried to close the gap. I cracked back on him and he wasn't a factor."

Not all receivers are willing to block. But Edwards has a simple explanation why he is willing.

"If we catch passes, obviously somebody has to pass protect, and that's Reuben," Edwards said. "If Reuben runs the ball or comes out of the backfield, we do our job. It's tit for tat."

Tit for tat should also mean passing the ball to Edwards more often.

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