RAC Attempting The Impossible

It's a quest for 0-16 in Detroit. In Cleveland, it's now a quest for 0-career against Pittsburgh.

Romeo Crennel will try to do something in the final game of the season he has yet to do as head coach of the Cleveland Browns -- beat the Steelers.

In all probability, Crennel will be fired next week after the Browns finish this dismal season Sunday in Pittsburgh. They are 4-11 after losing 14-0 to the Bengals.

The record this season has Crennel's job in immediate jeopardy, but injuries and other extenuating circumstances beyond his control weigh heavily in what has transpired in 2008. What team owner Randy Lerner would have difficulty overlooking, though, is Crennel is 0-7 against the Steelers.

Chris Palmer won only five games in his brief two-year tenure as Browns head coach in 1999 and 2000, yet he left with some respectability because he beat the Steelers twice. Butch Davis wasn't much better than Crennel; he was 1-7 against the Steelers.

Despite the overwhelming evidence that says Crennel should be fired, veteran receiver and team leader Joe Jurevicius says Crennel and general manager Phil Savage should be retained. Jurevicius has missed the entire season while on the physically-unable-to-perform list battling complications from a staph infection. Jurevicius has had seven operations on his right knee since the end of last season.

"We have injuries," Jurevicius said. "It's hard to win with guys who have only two years in the league. Things have snowballed in a bad way.

"I have all the confidence in Romeo Crennel. I have all the confidence in Phil Savage. I hope change doesn't come about. I really think we need to all hang in there and fight back. If anything, it was an awakening you can't rest on your laurels. Because we sent a bunch of guys to the Pro Bowl and won 10 games doesn't mean it happens the next year. We'll see what kind of guys we have on the team and how we respond to this year next year."

Last month, Jurevicius vowed to play in 2009, which would be the final year of his four-year contract. On Thursday, he said the current record is motivating him even more to play next season.

"I know I have something to add," the 11th-year veteran said. "We've had a lot of injuries. There has been a lot of negativity in the air. If there was a year to be away from football, maybe this was it."

Jurevicius admits he has concerns about his own future with the Browns; Crennel and Savage know what he can provide, such as 50 catches, 29 of them for first downs, in 2007. A new coach might not be as interested in a 34-year-old receiver who missed all of 2008 battling knee problems.

"I really believe things are going to get corrected," he said. "Am I worried personally? Yeah, you always worry. That goes with the job. I want to play here in Cleveland. If that doesn't happen, the show goes on the road, but I'm going to play football next year."

QUOTE TO NOTE: "This is the worst season I've ever played in." -- RB Jamal Lewis, a nine-year veteran.

BY THE NUMBERS: 20 -- Straight quarters in which the Browns failed to score an offensive touchdown.

PLAYER/PERSONNEL NOTES

--RB Jamal Lewis rushed for 76 yards. He became the 24th rusher in NFL history to eclipse 10,000 yards. His total stands at 10,013.
--QB Ken Dorsey left late in the fourth quarter with head and rib injuries.
--DL Shaun Smith sat out the game with a calf injury.
--TE Kellen Winslow Jr. missed his third straight game with a sprained ankle.
--P Dave Zastudil has tendinitis in his right knee but still had a net average of 45.4 yards on five punts.


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