BEREA - The players that were in the locker room on Monday said they were behind Romeo Crennel all the way—despite the fact that rumors are swirling about his imminent firing.
"It's not the coach's fault," Shaun Smith said. "It's the player's fault. You can't say he's losing the locker room. We have to hold ourselves accountable."
"We are going to do everything we can to fight for Romeo," Sean Jones said. "We have to play as a team, because it's a team game.
"We have to go out there and get the job done," Jones said. "It's frustrating. We have to have all three phases working together to win."
Crennel doesn't totally agree with the player's assessment that it's the player's fault.
"They're incorrect," he said. "It's on me. If the team doesn't play well, it falls on the head coach.
"The buck stops here," he said. "If the team does well, I do well. If the team doesn't do well, I don't do well ."
Crennel was asked if he thought he would be fired, now or at the end of the season.
"I don't worry about it," he s aid. "I can't control that. If we win, that improves my chances. If we lose, that doesn't improve my chances.
"My future is I'm coaching the next game," he said. "I can't control anything else."
Crennel said he has talked with both Randy Lerner and Phil Savage. He also had a message to the fans.
"This team hasn't lived up to expectations," he said. "It hasn't happened the way we would like it to happen. The fans are great fans. We're not going to give up. It's kind of like night and day. If we can win, I think they will feel better."
Unfortunately, the Browns performance this season might be a signal that a change is coming.
"Things are out of our hands," Josh Cribbs said. "Someone ends up having to take the fall for what's happening."
Captain Hank Fraley said this has been a very tough season.
"It's frustrating," he said. "We know what type of talent we have."
Fraley said he expected the Browns to play well against the Texans, but can't explain the results.
"I thought we had energy," he said. "We just weren't making plays. Last year, we were clicking and making those plays.
"There's nothing magic, it's just we're not executing."
QB Change: Crennel again emphasized that QB Brady Quinn would remain the starting quarterback.
"Brady is a good quarterback," he said. "He's going to be a good quarterback. As the game was going, I thought the team needed a spark and we could build on it. When the team doesn't get a spark, at home, we haven't been able to do it."
Quinn felt he was on a short leash and was disappointed he was taken out.
"Brady is still the starting quarterback," Crennel said. "I told him after the game. He is not on a short leash. If he was on a short leash, I would have told him if he throws two interceptions I would take him out.
"The way the game was going, I decided to make a change," he said. "We were not able to win the game."
Crennel said even if QB Derek Anderson had provided the spark and rallied the Browns to a win, Quinn would remain the quarterback.
"It's not an issue," Crennel said. "We like what (Quinn) has done since he's taken over. We like his composure, his leadership and the job he has done since he's been in there."
Center Hank Fraley said he didn't realized there was going to be a change at quarterback.
"It kind of caught me off guard," Fraley said. "I saw (Anderson) warming up and then he was in."
Crennel mentioned that beside the fracture in the finger, there was a tendon issue near the tip of the index finger.
On Braylon: WR Braylon Edwards is no doubt having a rough season after going to the Pro Bowl in 2007 with 16 touchdown receptions. This season, he has just three. He has a league-leading 17-22 dropped passes (depending on what is called a drop) with 40 receptions.
Crennel was asked if Edwards' season has been reflective of the Browns' season.
"I never put it on one player," Crennel said. "It's a team game."
The rumor going around Cleveland this week is that Edwards is going to be in New York on New Year's Eve.
He's going to drop the ball.
Injury Update: TE Darnell Dinkins (ankle) and FB Charles Ali (rib) were to have MRIs. DL Shaun Rogers (shoulder), TE Kellen Winslow (shoulder), OL Hank Fraley (hand) and DB Sean Jones (ankle)played and seemed to have no further injuries from the game.