OBR Daily News and World Report: 9/21

It is September 21, and all is well, I think. Ralph Brown knows the system, at any rate.

You have no doubt read the numerous accounts of head coach Romeo Crennel's reaction to Kellen Winslow's inflammatory comments, so I won't rehash them here.

I will say two things about this whole situation, though.

One, if anyone thinks that Crennel's mano-y-mano talk with Winslow is the end of the situation and the tight end will now, from this day forward, sit meekly in the corner, you are kidding yourself.

The public showing of the head coach as the fire chief manning the hoses to put out a burgeoning brush fire is all well and good.  In fact, it was necessary.

However, one talk with Winslow did not change 24 years of genetics.  The tight end is fiery and not prone to zipping it for extended periods of time.  Particularly if his team is not winning.

That's not a statement on whether his measured outburst was a good or bad thing; it's simply a statement as to how the ultra-competitive Winslow is wired.

So, if this team continues to lose…

And if Winslow continues to perceive himself as being underutilized…

Let's just say that Chief Crennel better stay in close proximity to a functional fire hydrant.


Secondly, on three occasions yesterday, Crennel was given the opportunity to prop up embattled offensive coordinator Maurice Carthon.

On all three occasions, Crennel chose to speak in generalities regarding the state of the team instead of specifically coming to the aid of his hand-picked coordinator.

Carthon may not be a "dead man coaching", but his doctors have the plug in sight and are just itching to yank it out of the wall.


More than a few fans have suggested that, in the first two games of the season, the Browns have lacked fire and passion.  It seemed, to some, as if the club was just going through the motions.

Of course, after an off-season of raised expectations, then getting embarrassed by both the Saints and the Bengals, the emotional card would be easy to latch onto as an excuse.

However, those thoughts could have some validity as at least one member of the Browns raised those very same issues.

Speaking to reporters about the Winslow situation, offensive tackle Ryan Tucker suggested that the team needed a spark after their uninspired play the first two games of the season.

"(The Browns need) somebody to be a striking force, something to happen to get real excited about and circle our wagons around," Tucker said. "We have to go on some energy and enthusiasm and pride."

Of course, it's a sad state of affairs when an NFL team needs something to get real excited about.  One would think that the game itself would be enough.


Well, it looks like the ol' ball coach is learning a lesson when it comes to revealing the nature of injuries and their subsequent test results.

Last week, Crennel told reporters that Joe Jurevicius had suffered no broken ribs and that his MRI/X-rays were negative.  Then, this past Tuesday, Jurevicius revealed to a local sports talk show that he indeed had a broken rib.

With that in mind, Crennel refused to reveal to reporters the results of cornerback Gary Baxter's MRI of his injured pectoral muscle.  There were even rumors that Crennel was going to deny knowing that Baxter even had a pectoral muscle, but those rumors never came to fruition.

Baxter, by the way, is listed as doubtful for this Sunday's game against Baltimore.


Speaking of Crennel and ribs, the head coach was asked in his press conference yesterday about the veteran receiver stating on the radio that he had a broken one.  Crennel reiterated that, as far as he knew, Jurevicius did not have a broken rib.


In addition to Baxter and Jurevicius, defensive end Orpheus Roye and tight end Darnell Dinkins are also listed as doubtful with a shoulder and hamstring injury, respectively.


One school of though regarding the struggles of Ralph Brown is that the veteran cornerback is relatively new to the team and is simply a step off because he's getting used to a new defensive system.

Yesterday, Brown locked the doors on that school and, in the process, scared the living shiznit out of every single Browns fan who has watched him litter the field with athletic supporters as the nickel corner the last two games.

"I'm at the place where I have it down," Brown said of his indoctrination to the Browns' scheme. "I really understand the defense and what they expect the corners to do."

Oh, the humanity.


According to the Akron Beacon Journal, the Browns have no plans to reach an injury settlement with cornerback Daylon McCutcheon, who was placed on the season-ending injured reserve list on Tuesday.

Earlier this month, the Browns placed running back William Green on IR, then reached an injury settlement with the back a week or so later.

McCutcheon underwent surgery on the knee Aug. 1 but the knee has failed to heal at the expected rate.  The paper added that the cornerback may get a second opinion as to why the knee is not responding to his rehabilitation.


In today's Medina County Gazette, a story titled "Injuries Put Browns Behind Eight-Ball" begins this way:

"Stopping running back Jamal Lewis…"

Is it simply a coincidence that the word "Eight-Ball" appears in the title of a story that has Lewis' name appearing within the first five words of the first sentence?

Lewis, of course, spent four months in prison and two months in a halfway house after pleading guilty to using a cell phone to try to set up a cocaine deal.

Whether the title and subsequent use of Lewis was coincidental or not, that's funny right there regardless of whom you are.


Ravens head coach Brian Billick told reporters yesterday that his club had Winslow as the top-rated player on their draft board in 2004.  The Browns, of course, sent their own first-round pick plus a second-rounder to the Lions in order to move up one spot and make the tight end the sixth-overall pick of the draft.


During this past off-season, the Browns targeted Ravens linebacker Bart Scott early on in free agency.  He was prized by the organization in their attempt to shore up their run defense and looked to be a near-lock to leave Baltimore and sign a free-agent deal with Cleveland.

However, while Scott was inside of the team's Berea complex, the Ravens phoned the linebacker with an offer he couldn't refuse.

And he didn't.

Now, Scott seems overjoyed that he opted for the 2-0 Ravens over the 0-2 Browns.

"It made me look like a genius. It looks like I made a great decision," Scott told the Baltimore Sun. "But it is deja vu going back there and playing against some of the guys."


This Sunday, the Browns will get a first-hand look at a player whose name many a fan would have loved to have heard called on draft day.

On that April day, the Browns were in the position to tab Haloti Ngata as the young nose tackle the team desperately needed.  Instead, Phil Savage swapped first-round picks with old friend and boss Ozzie Newsome, which allowed the Ravens to snag Ngata and the Browns to pick the young pass-rushing outside linebacker they desperately needed, Kamerion Wimbley.

So far, Billick likes the way the draft unfolded.

"He's a huge physical presence inside, a tremendous athlete that is still learning the game, obviously, as any rookie would," Billick said of Ngata. "We saw a tremendous improvement in that aspect from the first game to the second game. He's hopefully what we've been looking for in terms of a big, physical run-stopper on the inside."


In their never-ending quest to not replace Ken Dorsey and Derek Anderson should Charlie Frye succumb to an injury, the Browns on Tuesday held a workout for quarterback Todd Bouman, The OBR has learned.

The nine-year veteran spent the last three seasons with the Saints after the first six years of his career were spent with the Vikings.

Bouman, who also recently received a workout with the Patriots, is at least the fourth QB to work out for the Browns since the end of the pre-season.


QUOTE OF THE DAY: "Daylon (McCutcheon) has been a tremendous help since I came here."—cornerback Ralph Brown, no doubt alluding to the injured corner's penchant for always having a fire extinguisher at the ready and his deftness in treating first- and second-degree burns.

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