Fans Unlikely to Get Wish

Despite fan angst about their progress, the Cleveland Browns are sticking to their guns. Scout.com wraps up the events of the past week, and provides injury and other notes as the Browns recuperate during the bye week...

Fans upset with the Browns' slow start want Romeo Crennel fired and quarterback Derek Anderson benched, but neither is going to happen, general manager Phil Savage says.

"We've spent three-plus years trying to put this team together and get our best players onto the field," Savage said a day after the Browns beat the Bengals for their first win this season. "I know for a fact 1,000 percent -- I've talked to people around the league, people who have been in this business a long time, coaches, front office types -- you don't go blowing things up after a couple games. We've had a dry spell for the first couple weeks, but you're not going to do it and be successful in this league.

"There has not been any thought to really changing quarterbacks or changing the coach or any of that. That's not the thing to do at this juncture of the season. You have to give the people a chance to pull themselves out of the situation."

The Browns are 1-3 heading into their bye in this season of great expectations. They were 2-2 after four games last year and finished 10-6.

"This isn't the start that we wanted, but at the bye we are going in with better momentum," Savage said. "We have enough good players, enough people around (Anderson) and he's a good enough talent with his ability that we're going to pull out of this and have our best football in front of us with him as the quarterback. We have got to help him play better. We have got to put him in positions to be successful."

The Browns scored 17 points in the fourth quarter against the Bengals. Anderson threw a four-yard fade to Braylon Edwards for a touchdown to put the Browns ahead 10-6. It was the first time Anderson and Edwards clicked like they did last season when they hooked up for 16 touchdown passes.

Running back Jamal Lewis said as far as he was concerned there never was a question about who the starting quarterback is, and Savage said the locker room is not questioning Anderson's leadership. A week before the season started, teammates voted Anderson co-captain along with center Hank Fraley.

Fans upset with the Browns' slow start want Romeo Crennel fired and quarterback Derek Anderson benched, but neither is going to happen, general manager Phil Savage says.

"We've spent three-plus years trying to put this team together and get our best players onto the field," Savage said a day after the Browns beat the Bengals for their first win this season. "I know for a fact 1,000 percent -- I've talked to people around the league, people who have been in this business a long time, coaches, front office types -- you don't go blowing things up after a couple games. We've had a dry spell for the first couple weeks, but you're not going to do it and be successful in this league.

"There has not been any thought to really changing quarterbacks or changing the coach or any of that. That's not the thing to do at this juncture of the season. You have to give the people a chance to pull themselves out of the situation."

The Browns are 1-3 heading into their bye in this season of great expectations. They were 2-2 after four games last year and finished 10-6.

"This isn't the start that we wanted, but at the bye we are going in with better momentum," Savage said. "We have enough good players, enough people around (Anderson) and he's a good enough talent with his ability that we're going to pull out of this and have our best football in front of us with him as the quarterback. We have got to help him play better. We have got to put him in positions to be successful."

The Browns scored 17 points in the fourth quarter against the Bengals. Anderson threw a four-yard fade to Braylon Edwards for a touchdown to put the Browns ahead 10-6. It was the first time Anderson and Edwards clicked like they did last season when they hooked up for 16 touchdown passes.

Running back Jamal Lewis said as far as he was concerned there never was a question about who the starting quarterback is, and Savage said the locker room is not questioning Anderson's leadership. A week before the season started, teammates voted Anderson co-captain along with center Hank Fraley.

"As G.M, I would love to see D.A. and Joe Thomas and Braylon Edwards take more ownership of this football team," Savage said. "They're our future. I think that would help us going forward."

Of course, it would be much easier to change quarterbacks than change coaches, but Savage believes in Crennel nonetheless. The Browns were 10-6 last year and in January, Crennel was rewarded with a two-year contract extension through 2011.

Savage said Crennel has brought on some criticism himself, namely by choosing to kick a field goal while losing 28-7 to the Cowboys in the fourth quarter and kicking a field goal with 3:21 left while losing 10-3 to the Steelers. Injuries, though, have played a key role in the slow start, Savage acknowledged, starting with training camp when Edwards missed the last three preseason games with a lacerated heel and Anderson missing the last two with a concussion.

Players are disappointed to be 1-3 when hopes were so high, but Savage believes Crennel can steady the ship.

"Romeo is going to be the same yesterday, today and tomorrow whether we're 0-3 or 10-3," Savage said. "I think the team understands that and appreciates the consistency he gives them on a week in and week out basis and the fact he stays in their corner. As long as they play hard for him, I don't think we have any issues at that position."

Crennel's career record is 21-31.

NOTES, QUOTES

--How much do the Browns miss injured Joe Jurevicius (knee) and Donte Stallworth (quadriceps)? Jurevicius caught 50 passes for the Browns last season and Stallworth caught 46 for the Patriots. Their replacements, Syndric Steptoe and Steve Sanders, have a combined eight catches. That projects to 32 over 16 games.

--Phil Dawson is having a perfect season so far. He is six of six on field-goal tries and four of four on extra points. A sign the offense is struggling, though, is all his field-goal attempts have been inside 40 yards.

--Talks are open between the Browns and agent Drew Rosenhaus about a contract extension for Kellen Winslow Jr., but general manager Phil Savage says there is nothing new to report.

"For the most part, those kinds of things are on the back burner," Savage said. "The first priority is to win a football game. Those kinds of things tend to sort themselves out over time. You have to have some patience with it. That's what we're trying to do in some of these contract situations."

Winslow is under contract through 2010, but he announced at the Super Bowl he would like a new contract. He has to get in line, however. Safety Sean Jones is a free agent after this season and Braylon Edwards' contract is up after 2009.

--The 23 points the Browns have scored in the fourth quarter this season equals the combined total of what they've scored in the first three quarters. They scored 17 in the fourth quarter in Cincinnati, meaning they scored 37 percent of their point total in one period.

--Fullback Lawrence Vickers escaped serious injury in Cincinnati when he was hit by a thrown beer bottle on Jamal Lewis' one-yard touchdown run. He said the barrel of the bottle hit him on the helmet. The mouth of the bottle hit him across his eye, leaving a small cut. He joked about it ruining his modeling career.

--DL Shaun Smith had surgery on Tuesday to repair a broken bone in his left hand. He has played wearing a cast for two weeks.

--The Browns expect Ryan Tucker to play against the Giants Oct. 13. He fractured his hip May 14 and has not played since. When he does return, he will likely be back at right tackle, his position with the Browns from 2002-2006.

--S Sean Jones hopes to be back to play the Giants, but he might not be ready for another week or two. He underwent arthroscopic surgery on Sept. 11. General manager Phil Savage said it is a six-week injury.

--RT Kevin Shaffer is recovering from a broken right hand and a slight concussion.

--LB Willie McGinest returned to practice Wednesday. He missed the last two games with a hamstring injury.

--Rookie TE Martin Rucker practiced Wednesday for the first time since undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery on Aug. 13.

BY THE NUMBERS: 3 -- The Browns held each of their last three opponents -- the Steelers, Ravens and Bengals -- under 300 yards after allowing the Cowboys 487 yards.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "When you're 0-3 and you win a game, there's not much joy -- just relief. I think there was a sense of relief from the whole team, not just the quarterback." -- Browns general manager Phil Savage, on going into the bye with a victory.

STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL

There was false hope about Donte Stallworth being ready to play the Bengals, but barring any setbacks, he should be on the field when the Browns resume the season on Oct. 13 against the Giants. A pulled quadriceps kept him out of the first four games.

The Browns coaches and front office were told when Stallworth was injured warming up to play the Cowboys Sept. 7 that he would be out 2 1/2 to four weeks, but coach Romeo Crennel did not reveal what the trainers told him until after the Bengals game. Fans impatient to see what the Browns got in free agency started calling him "Dainty Stallworth." Stallworth said he has been pain free since the middle of September, but he still wasn't ready to play.

"This bye week is definitely very helpful for me," Stallworth said. "I look forward to taking off my Cleveland Browns cheerleading outfit and putting on my helmet and shoulder pads this next go-around."

Syndric Steptoe, who has been starting in Stallworth's place, has seven catches.


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