"The Biggest Game is Here in Cleveland"

Cleveland head coach Romeo Crennel goes from A to Z in his mid-week press conference. No subject is off limits - why Derek Anderson still throws like a kid at times, what he has to watch out for with the Seahawks coming to town, former Browns Brian Russell and Charlie Frye, and how Cleveland's struggling defense can come around.

(Opening remarks)- “As we looked at it, we have to play better, play smarter, because the Seattle team coming here is a pretty decent team. They have the same record we have, same road record as well. We’ll have to impress upon our guys not to take anything for granted. We’ve been playing decent at home and the way you do that is to keep playing good and not assume anything. This will be a big game for us. It will be a plus if we could win it and it would help us quite a bit. That’s what we’re going to aim for, push and try to get done.”

(On the injury situations)- “[LB] D’Qwell [Jackson] got an ankle (injury) and we’ll have to see where he’s going to be. He’s not going to practice today, so we won’t be able to get any evaluation there. Likewise with [LB] Kris Griffin, with his leg (injury) he is not practicing today, so we will not get any kind of evaluation there. Also, it turned up yesterday that [FB] Lawrence Vickers is not going to practice today. He came in yesterday and he was a little dizzy, had some concussion symptoms. He’s a little bit better today, but he’s not going to practice. Those are the three guys who are not going to practice and we’ll have to see how they come along and see what develops with them. [TE] Darnell Dinkins and his arm, he played with the cast last week and I think he’ll be okay again this week. [RB] Jamal [Lewis] with his foot (injury), he made it through the game. We’ll have to manage him, treat him and see how he does this week. I think both of those guys will be limited for practice. Otherwise, we’ll be in decent shape and we’ll get ready to play the football game.”

(On the upcoming game against the Seahawks)- “It’s a four o’clock game and that’s the first one we’ve had around here this year. It will probably be under the lights most of the game and we’ll see how that impacts us, if that makes any difference. We’re excited about it and we’re going to try to play our best football. That’s what we need to do because they’ve got some weapons on their team. They’re skill people are pretty good. They’re getting some back who they have been missing and I think that will help with the timing offense that they run. A guy like [WR] Deion Branch, who’s missed some games and now he is coming back. I think [WR D.J.] Hackett is another receiver that is coming back, so that should help them. They’ve got a good runner. [RB Shaun Alexander] runs really good with the ball and has a lot of experience. He knows how to run and can find the opening. We’re going to have to do a good job against this guy. And then [QB Matt] Hasselbeck, the quarterback, he runs that offense very well for them. They try to put themselves in the best place, depending on what you’re doing and depending on what you’ve been showing them. They’ve done a good job along that. I think they may be playing for first in their division, so they’re going to put a lot into it and give it everything they have. This team was a playoff team last year and you know [head] coach [Mike] Holmgren is talking to them about stringing some games together and trying to make a big push here at the end to get back to the playoffs. We’ve got our work cut out for us, but we’re looking forward to playing the game and seeing how we stack up.”

(On whether he likes the late start to the game)- “You kind of get used to the one o’clock start because that’s where they’ve been, but we just have to wait a couple hours longer. I don’t think it will make much of a difference. Hopefully it won’t.”

(On former Browns S and current Seahawks S Brian Russell)- “He’s playing good football. They’re using him a little bit differently, but much of the time he’s in the deep part of the field. He will come down some. He will blitz some. But he plays the way that he played while he was here.”

(On how much former Browns QB and current Seahawks QB Charlie Frye can help them with what the Browns like to do on offense)- “He was here during the whole offseason, so I think he understands the terminology and what we’re trying to do offensively. I think that he’ll be able to give them some insights into what he thinks. Will that be enough? I don’t know?”

(On whether they will have to change anything signal-wise)- “No, the only thing that might happen is with some signals to the wide receivers, some of those non-verbal signals. If he can pick up on those he might be able to help them with that. But he doesn’t know if they’ve been changed, if they’re the same. It will be a guessing game and they might not figure it out. If we keep them the same they might not figure it out until the second half. I don’t think we’re going to change much because there is a lot of volume in this offense and you have to dial it up exactly right.”

(On what they will do if LB D’Qwell Jackson can’t go)- “If he can’t play somebody else steps in and plays. [LB] Andra Davis moves over and he plays WILL, [LB Leon Williams] plays MIKE and we move on.”

(On whether Jackson has been one of the strengths on defense)- “Some people would beg to differ that we have any strengths at all on defense. But D’Qwell is a starter. He does play well. He gets to the football. I think Andra will be able to get to the football as well. That’s what we’ve been preaching to our guys about, if someone goes down then the next guy has to step up and he has to play. Knock on wood, we’ve been able to do that for the most part. I think that we’ll be able to continue to do that.”

(On LB Chaun Thompson’s ability to go inside or outside)- “I plan for him to go inside and I talked to him after the game about being ready if he’s needed. I think that he’s ready to do both.”

(On the importance of this game and whether it could be a ‘signature’ win for the franchise if they were to win)- “Like I told you about these games, you don’t know until after the season is over. This is the next game. That’s why it’s the most important one, because it’s the next one. It would help us to win this game, so we’re going to do everything we can to win it. The impact that winning this game will have is that it would put us two games above .500, if that’s the case. It doesn’t put us into the playoffs. It doesn’t make us world-beaters or anything like that. But it would be a good game to win. So far guys have been playing good at home. It’s a home game and I know our fans are going to be excited. I know we’re going to be excited and we’re going to try and do everything we can to try and win it.”

(On whether the play of the safeties improved in the Rams game)- “Yeah, they did, a little bit. They didn’t throw any passes over their heads. They came up and they made some tackles. They did a little bit better. They weren’t perfect, but very seldom is anyone perfect.”

(On the Seahawks offensive statistics being down from what they were compared to years past)- “Well, [RB] Shaun [Alexander] is playing with an injury, for one. I think that the injury is to the hand that he usually carries the ball in, so now he’s got to carry the ball in the other hand and he might not be quite as comfortable having to carry it in that hand. He’s worrying about having to hang on to the football because as a running back if you have a hand that’s banged up, you’re concerned about that. But they still have a very capable offense. I think some of the things – their receivers being down – the timing that is needed in a timing offense gets thrown off when you have to have new people in there. I think some of that is going on. When you look at the tape, Shaun still runs the ball pretty good. If you don’t get guys in position and get guys around him to tackle him, he can turn a two-yard gain into 11 really quick. He’s dangerous. He has around 460 yards, so he is on tune to have 1,000 yards this year. If he just keeps doing what he’s doing he’ll have 1,000 yards. A 1,000-yard rusher is no slouch by any stretch of the imagination. I’m not discounting what they did a couple of years ago or anything like that. I know they have some firepower.”

(On how difficult it was to make the quarterback decision after Week One and how well QB Charlie Frye took the decision) – “I’m not going to worry about that. We have Seattle coming to town and we have to play them. We made the decision back then and we’ve moved on.”

(On how difficult it is to defend the Browns) – “It makes it tough because you have to pick your poison with who you want to defend or if you have to double somebody who are you going to double. If you double one guy, the other guys are going to be one-on-one and if the quarterback can get it to the guys who are one-on-one, then they pose a problem. They can’t double everybody so they’ll analyze that problem. Generally, if they can get some pressure on a quarterback and not give him time to find the guy who is single, that’s probably the best way to do it.”

(On how he felt about the issue of not resigning Russell) – “We felt that was the best thing for the Browns and that’s what we did. We can’t take it back and there’s nothing we can do about it. We just have to play.”

(On DB Leigh Bodden) – “He started off slow last week. Even though he started off slow, he wasn’t in terrible position. He was in decent position with some of those balls. They were well thrown and good receivers were making the catch. He just didn’t make the play. But he hung in there and made the play at the end. The play that he made at the end of the game to seal the victory showed that he was aware of what was going on during the game because they had thrown that same pass two other times earlier and completed them for 20 or 25 yards. They were moving the ball and he was anticipating they might come back to it and they did come back to it. He had gotten himself in good position so that he could make the play. He still has good ability. He’s a good corner for us. I think he’ll continue to intercept the ball and make plays for us. We just have to get him to play better.”

(On whether Bodden was touched after the caught the ball and went to the ground) – “He declared himself down. After he intercepted it, he went right down which basically is declaring yourself down. One of their guys who came in later touched him on the shoulder.”

(On whether someone had to touch him in order for him to be down) – “No. Once the official saw him go down, technically, the play is over. It’s like a receiver – if a receiver catches a ball in a two-minute situation and you need time to get out there to kick the field goal. If the receiver stays up and keeps on running then the clock continues to run. But if he goes down, as soon as he declares himself down then the play is over.”

(On whether it was a smart play by Bodden) – “Yes. He couldn’t fumble the ball or stuff like that.”

(On whether Anderson is playing like a veteran or are there times when he looks like a young QB) – “There are a lot of instances where he still looks like a kid, particularly earlier in the game. Sometimes he could do better. His stats are good stats and he continues to make plays. He is not a veteran because he is a young guy. Hopefully he’ll keep getting better. That’s what we want from him. He’s made some good choices and he’s not turning the ball over. As long as he does that, I think his stats have a chance to stay where they are. He’ll continue to help us win games. I think we all – I like to have that veteran experience if it is playing good. If it’s not playing good, then the veteran experience is not good enough. If a young guy is playing good then you want the young guy. He’s playing pretty good right now so we feel pretty good with what he’s able to do and how he can help us.”

(On whether teams are trying different stuff every week to try and pressure Anderson) – “No. I think teams run their defense. They do what they do. As they game plan, they try and figure out if they can attack your protection or if they can attack an individual. Then that’s what they try to get done. You don’t see exotic things like people coming up with brand new things. They do what they do. When we watch the tape in preparation for the game we kind of know what pressures they are going to run. In the game, they run what we had seen on tape. It’s difficult to change everything from week to week.”

(On what factors contribute to Anderson not throwing interceptions) – “Pass protection for one and good decision making for two.”

(On whether Anderson isn’t forcing as many passes) – “I think he’s taking what the defense gives him. He knows he has guys who can make plays. If they are covered, he doesn’t try to get it to them. He’ll get it to the guy who is open or the guy who has a single on him. Those guys have been making plays and that’s how we can get the chains moving.”

(On Anderson mentioning earlier in the year that he was getting ‘harped on’ for his bad decision making) – “When he makes bad decisions then we’re all over him. Poor decisions from that position usually end up being negative plays. Those are the plays that cause you to lose game.”

(On whether Anderson’s confidence level continues to grow each week) – “Yes. I think he has pretty good confidence. I think he has confidence in his teammates, in his ability and confidence in the offensive scheme and system.”

(On who will win the Patriots – Colts game) - “The biggest game of the year is right here in Cleveland.”

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