Berea Report: Good Start to Second Half

Writers will tell you that it's a lot easier to write stories the day after after a win. It's probably more fun talking to the head coach, as well. Today, a jollier Romeo Crennel offered his thoughts during his weekly press conference.

BEREA — Romeo Crennel said the season is broken down in quarters just like a football game. After starting 2-6, the Browns started the second half with a win over the Falcons on the road. With a schedule in the second half appearing not quite as daunting as the first half's schedule, the Browns are hoping to continue to right the ship the rest of the season.

"When you win, you feel better about yourself and your team," Crennel said. "However, one game is one game and you have to get ready for the next game."

The Browns remaining seven games are against teams with a combined record of 22-31. As of right now, the only teams on the schedule with winning records are the Ravens, who are currently 7-2 and the Chiefs at 5-4.

The Browns play the Steelers (3-6) this week and on Dec. 7. They play the Bengals (4-5), Chiefs (5-4), Buccaneers (2-6) and Texans (3-6). The Browns will be able to climb out of having a top five draft selection if they can win a few of the remaining games.

The defending Super Bowl champion Steelers are not as intimidating currently as they looked prior to the season. However, they just came off an impressive win over the Saints, where the Steelers offense finally looked as if it got on track. Willie Parker exploded for 213 yards, including runs of 76- and 72-yards in the Steelers' eruption of 38 points.

There was some talk by the players right after the game as they turned their attention to the Steelers. Last year, the Steelers beat the Browns, 41-0 at Cleveland Browns Stadium.

"I acknowledged to the team that (the Steelers) embarrassed us the last time we played them," Crennel said. "We were embarrassed and we want to make a much better showing this time. We all want to be ready this time."

Crennel said the win over the Falcons gives the Browns a lift.

"Winning this game makes us feel better about going into Pittsburgh," Crennel said. "There's a certain confidence level about what you're able to do and the way you played."

The Browns are embarking on a stretch of three-straight home games. Besides the Steelers, they will play the Bengals and the Chiefs.

"It will be good for us to have three at home because you have the home crowd pulling for you," he said. "But we need to make plays to keep them with us."

If the Browns go 3-4 the rest of the season, they will equal the 6-10 mark they posted in 2005. However, if they could go 4-3, they would finish 7-9 and be improved over the previous season's mark.


Good Defense: Crennel said he was happy for the most part with the play of the defense. The Browns held Warrick Dunn to 73 yards and limited Michael Vick to 197 yards passing.

"The defense was scrappy all day," Crennel said. "The running back (Dunn), we were able to contain for the most part. The quarterback (Vick) was another story, but we were able to contain him decently. The defense continued to fight."

The Browns assigned rookie linebacker Leon Williams to spy on Vick throughout the game. Vick was the leading rusher with 74 yards, but he did turn the ball over three times. Williams batted down a pass by Vick late in the game.

"(Williams) did a good job," Crennel said. "We thought he would be a good fit for that position. To top it off, the guy didn't really practice all week, but he didn't really make any mistakes. He has pretty good ability and size and speed. A fast linebacker is a good alternative."

Confidence in Line: A big play in the game was when Crennel decided to forego a field goal and go for the touchdown on fourth-and-goal in the first quarter from the one-yard line.   

"I felt we were down there and had a chance to get seven," Crennel said. "The defense had been playing pretty well at that point and thought it was reasonably good odds we'd score."

Last week against the Chargers, the Browns were unable to score touchdowns for the most part and kicked six field goals.

Crennel on Grantham: Defensive coordinator Todd Grantham has been rumored to succeed John L. Smith at Michigan State. Crennel was asked if the Browns had been contacted about the situation.

"Todd's name has been thrown around at Michigan State," Crennel said. "If they want to make an announcement, I would let them make that. They don't need permission from us. If they want to, they can contact him because there are no consequences because they are at the college level and we're on the professional level."

Crennel was asked what he thought about the possibility of losing Grantham.

"I think he's a good football coach and I think it depends on what he wants to do."

On Charlie: Crennel was pleased with QB Charlie Frye's play. He was particularly pleased that Frye didn't throw any interceptions.

"There were no interceptions," he said. "It's been about making good decisions and sometimes an incomplete pass is sometimes a good play.

"For the most part, he did better," Crennel said. "You don't want to take a sack near the end zone or at the end of the first half."

Frye was 16-of-22 for 165 yards, including one touchdown and no interceptions. He had a QB rating of 109.1. Frye also rushed for 28 yards. He was sacked five times in the game and fumbled once.

Frye was criticized for his play against the Chargers, where he turned the ball over three times.

"He's put in a lot of extra time on his own," Crennel said.  

Injury Update: Everyone who was on the injury report last week played in the game with the exception of CB Leigh Bodden (ankle). Coming out of the game, DB Justin Hamilton (back spasms), was the only injury of note.

"I think we came out of it pretty good," Crennel said. "Charlie (Frye) is bruised a little bit, but that's par for the course. Kellen (Winslow) has a sore knee. Cosey Coleman has a sore knee. I think everyone else is in decent shape."

Crennel said Frye had x-rays on his hand that were negative.

Making the Most of Them: The Browns had just nine first downs in the win over the Falcons. The last time the Browns won a game with just nine first downs, was in 1999 when they won on a last play Hail Mary from QB Tim Couch to WR Kevin Johnson.

Day Off: Crennel gave the players the day off after the win over the Falcons. It is the second time this season he has given the players the day off after a win. They also received Monday off after beating the Jets.  

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