As everyone has heard by now—and the early-morning parade down E. 9th St. by OBR denizens was a bit much I think—offensive coordinator Maurice Carthon was mercifully relieved of his duties by the Browns yesterday.
As first reported by Browns mouthpiece and WKYC-TV sportscaster Jim Donovan, and later confirmed by ESPN's Chris Mortenson, the firing/resignation comes a little less than two weeks after head coach Romeo Crennel steadfastly refused to consider dumping the embattled coordinator during the Browns bye week.
Following yet another stagnant offensive performance in the loss to Denver, however, owner Randy Lerner and general manager Phil Savage ratcheted up the pressure on Crennel and, apparently, the head coach acquiesced to his superior's demands.
Additionally, several players voiced their displeasure to Crennel over the direction of the offense, both during the bye week and following the Denver setback. Input from the players, when combined with the pressure from upper management, forced the head coach's hand.
An e-mail sent by The OBR seeking comment and confirmation from Savage has gone unanswered. We'll have more on this developing story throughout the day. For now, on with the DN&WR…
How can a player go three straight seasons without missing a start due to injury, then suffer season-ending injuries in back-to-back years?
Why, he signs with the Browns, of course.
The laughable 2006 season continued its full-steam careening backwards as yesterday when Crennel announced that cornerback Gary Baxter suffered TWO torn patella tendons and will be out for the rest of the year.
Not only will Baxter miss the rest of this season, he will likely miss at least a portion of the 2007 season as well. That is, if he's able to come back at all.
The injury occurred on a rather innocuous play in the second quarter of the loss to the Broncos. Baxter was in coverage on wide receiver Jevon Walker when he planted, twisted his body and jumped in an attempt to make a play on the ball.
Baxter went down in a heap and, almost immediately, both Walker and Browns safety Brian Russell motioned to the sidelines for help.
By all accounts, the injury suffered by Baxter is only the second time that a player has blown out both patella tendons on the same play. In the early 1990's, Bears WR Wendell Davis suffered the same fate on the painted concrete that served as the playing field at old Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia.
Davis' injury occurred in 1993 and the receiver didn't return to the playing field until 1998. Davis played one season in San Diego before retiring following the '98 season.
Crennel told reporters that, in all of his years in football, he had never seen such an injury.
Last year, Baxter tore a pectoral muscle and missed the final 10 games. This season, he had been limited by a slightly torn pectoral muscle on the other side that caused him to miss the three games preceding the Denver game.
Baxter was playing in his first game since missing the last two because of the injured pec and picked up his first interception of the season before suffering the potentially career-ending injury.
Following Sunday's loss to the Broncos, wide receiver Joe Jurevicius, in answering a question on the team's radio broadcast as to how the team can stay together during this tumultuous time, made a statement that got numerous fans panties all wadded up.
Jurevicius answered the question as follows: "Media, fans, criticism, the hell with them. Just play football.
Anyone with a functioning brain would've—or should've—realized that the Lake Catholic grad was not literally telling the fans to go to hell. He was simply stating that the team had to ignore the outside influences and pressures and concentrate on playing football.
It was not taken that way by a certain segment of Browns Nation and the media, so Jurevicius spent a portion of yesterday doing something he shouldn't have had to do.
"The unfortunate thing now is that I'm painted as a villain. That's not the case," the Timberlake native said.
"What I meant was the criticisms. We have to have a steel wall between us and everything else that's negative right now. I think it's plain as day that I came back here to be a Cleveland Brown. I grew up a Cleveland Browns fan. I feel goofy having to sit here and explain myself. I'm a die-hard Browns fan and that's why I came home."
With that being said, here's a piece of unsolicited advice for Mr. Jurevicius: in the future, you might want to measure your words a little bit more carefully following a game in which you dropped two key passes.
Just saying, is all. You better than anyone knows how Browns are and react.
Now that the University of North Carolina has officially decided to cut ties with head coach John Bunting at the end of the season, look for former Browns head coach Butch Davis to become the front-runner to replace Bunting. Also look for Davis to attempt to use the possibility of coaching the Tar Heels as leverage to get the job he really wants: the head gig at the University of Miami.
The opening lines on this Sunday's game has the Browns favored by one or one and a half points--or as a pick 'em by some services--over the Jets. That's helped me decide where I'm putting my money this weekend. On beer. That's a sure thing right there, I don't care who ya are.
FAST FACT: The Browns are 0-5 against real NFL teams, 1-0 versus fake ones.
QUOTE OF THE DAY: "That's the things that we're up against right now. When a snowball gets going, it gets bigger."—wide receiver Joe Jurevicius, who obviously graduated from the Chris Palmer School of Describing Out-of-Control Seasons.
QUOTE OF THE DAY: "You give their defense respect. But I don't think they're as good as a Baltimore defense. They're good. They don't give you a lot of plays. They just kind of play back. I think we just missed our chances."—quarterback Charlie Frye, backhanding a defense that had just handed his team their collective asses.
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