Berea Report: Defense is Offensive

In Berea today, head coach Romeo Crennel talked about the team's continuing struggles stopping the run. Fred Greetham was there, and provides this report on head coach's thoughts, as well as the status of injured players.

BEREA - This is getting to be a broken record.

The theme for the Browns defensively, since they returned to the NFL in 1999 has been stopping the run. They've talked a lot about it, but have done little on the field to accomplish the feat.

Through three games, the Browns have given up 529 yards rushing or 176.3 per game. They allowed 206 to the Steelers, 137 to the Bengals and 186 to the Raiders. Individually, they gave up 100-yard games of 109 to Pittsburgh's Willie Parker, 118 to the Bengals' Rudi Johnson and 121 to the Raiders' LaMont Jordan.

"The big deal is just to improve the defense, period," Crennel said. "We couldn't stop the run, no matter what front we seemed to be in."

Once again, the Browns are ranked near the bottom in stopping the run at 31st. The Buffalo Bills have given up 532 yards rushing, just three more than the Browns.

Crennel is tired of stating the obvious.

"I'm really disappointed because I know you can't win in this league if you don't stop the run," Crennel said. "Sometimes, we play good and then we're out of position. Sometimes, it's the alignment and sometimes they aren't making the plays."

Crennel wouldn't commit to making any personnel changes. Against the Raiders, Ethan Kelley started in place of Ted Washington at nose tackle. He had two tackles, as did Washington. Robaire Smith and Orpheus Roye each were credited with four tackles. Shaun Smith played but had not tackles. Simon Fraser had a tackle and recovered a fumble.

"We're going to consider everything and see what we can do," he said.  "We've played three games and we've given up a lot of rushing yards. We're not going to be able to win that way."

Even the players are looking for the answers.

"We're frustrated, but you can never get too frustrated," Brodney Pool said after the game. "I'm confident we'll get it fixed."


Who's Fault: Replays showed that DL Tommy Kelly came through OL Nat Dorsey and OL Seth McKinney to block Phil Dawson's attempt at a game-winning field goal. It appeared the primary culprit was Dorsey, who was on the left side of the line.

"They got some surge on the left side between the guard and the tackle and (Kelly) got his hand up and got the ball," Crennel said. "They had a good push on the play."

Raiders' coach Lane Kiffin said any of two or three players could've blocked the kick.

What's with the Offense:  The Browns dug themselves into the hole at 16-0, mostly because of offensive miscues.

"Offensively, we have to develop some consistency earlier in the game," Crennel said.  "Sometimes, that's the players and sometimes that's the calls."

Injury Update: Crennel mentioned four players who were injured against the Raiders: TE Kellen Winslow (shoulder), LB Antwan Peek (foot), OL Seth McKinney (hand) and WR Tim Carter (knee). Crennel hopes all will be able to play this week.

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