Berea Report: New Hope on Offense

A day after the ouster of Maurice Carthon, Browns players and staff returned to work and started their preparation for the New York Jets. Fred Greetham talks to K2 (pictured), Josh Cribbs and others about the changes on offense....

Berea—On Monday morning, Romeo Crennel talked about the Browns having hope for the rest of the season.

Since then, changes have happened with the departure of Maurice Carthon and now the Browns are hoping to start anew under the direction of Jeff Davidson.

Crennel said he hopes the change pumps new energy into the team.

"Going forward, because there was a change some of (the players) might be re-invigorated," he said.

However, Crennel said he doesn't expect to see major changes.

"I don't think you're going to see a wide open offense overnight because you don't have time to implement it," he said. "I think Jeff is stepping into a tough situation because there's not a lot of time to change things. It's kind of tough to make wholesale changes in the middle of the week."

The players are openly excited about the new direction—particularly the offensive linemen as Davidson is their coach.

"Hopefully, the move will give us a spark," Cosey Coleman said. "J.D. is more laid back, but he knows football and has insight and is familiar with the offensive line."

Kevin Shaffer agreed.

"It's a big change," Shaffer said. "We're moving on and I feel real comfortable about it. There are certain plays that (Davidson) likes and I think we'll be running them."

Shaffer said Davidson has challenged the offense to make the most of the new start.

"There's a big emphasis on liking what you do and playing together as a team," he said. "He told us, ‘Let's go. It's our time."

Joe Andruzzi was outspoken in an interview he did with WKNR on Tuesday and agreed there needed to be a change. He said many times there was confusion on offense.

"It was a bit of a shock, but it might be what the offense needs to get a spark," Andruzzi said on Wednesday. "There was a lot of confusion on the offense. The offense was not on the same page. All eleven must work together and we want to try to move ahead from here. It needs to be a total effort with the coaches and players working together."

Tight end Kellen Winslow was outspoken early in the season about the schemes and play calling on offense, but said it wasn't all Carthon's fault.

"They felt a need for a change," Winslow said. "We needed to change something.

"I'm excited," he said. "They thought it was best for the Cleveland Browns. There might be different calls, but we have to execute. It's also on us. I didn't say the problem was Mo. The players have to execute."

Charlie Frye is looking for a fresh start.

"Each coach has a different philosophy," Frye said. "I'm looking forward to getting back out there and playing."

Wide receiver/kick returner Joshua Cribbs echoed Frye's remarks.

"Since there's been a change, let's make it a positive change," Cribbs said.

Crennel said Davidson will be in the box upstairs calling the plays, unlike Carthon, who was on the field. Crennel also said this is Davidson's chance to show what he can do with the offense.

"The next 10 games, offensively, might impact what happens on that side of the ball," he said. "If we make improvement on that side of the ball, you can say strides are being made and we're heading in the right direction."


Injury Update: Crennel said there are still several players questionable for this week's game, including CB Leigh Bodden (ankle). Others are: S Justin Hamilton (ankle), WR Dennis Northcutt (ribs), DB Brodney Pool (hamstring),S Brian Russell (ankle) and TE Kellen Winslow (knee) and OL Ryan Tucker (illness).

Crennel won't know until the week plays out, but admitted there was some concern about Tucker.

"He's missing practice today to get checked out," he said. "He's being evaluated and anytime you continually miss time, there's concern."

Baxter Surgery: Crennel said CB Gary Baxter had a successful surgery to repair the patellar tendons in both of his knees on Tuesday.

"Gary had surgeries on both knees and it went well," he said. "In talking with our medical people they said it went well, but we're not sure how long he'll be laid up. He came through it fine and as soon as we can we'll start his rehab."

No timetable has been set for his return.

Moves: With Baxter going to injured reserve, the Browns signed DB Mike Hawkins, who was most recently in Green Bay's camp.

"He's got size and some speed," Crennel said. "Because of the need for a body there and his ability we thought he might be able to help us out. We won't know until we put him out there and see how quickly he picks up the defense. He has some experience."

The Browns have an opening on their practice squad as Jovan Haye was signed to the active roster by Tampa Bay.

From Intern to Head Coach: Jets' first year head coach Eric Mangini was hired by Bill Belichick as a public relations intern during his regime with the Browns in the early ‘90s. Mangini has followed Belichick through the ranks and now has the Jets at 4-3 in his first year.

"Eric is a good, young football coach and he's doing a good job with the Jets," Crennel said. "He has a strong work ethic and will stay as long as it takes to get the job done. You knew from working with him he was smart enough to be a head coach. So far, he's got those guys playing good as they've won four games."

Crennel tried to bring Mangini to the Browns when he was hired as head coach last year.

"I knew with Eric he was comfortable where he was," he said. "He was with a good team that was winning. I thought we had a good shot, but (Bill) Belichick had the last shot at keeping him and he was able to do so."

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