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News » Cleveland Browns Inside Slant 2008-12-25

Cleveland Browns Inside Slant 2008-12-25

Cleveland Browns Inside Slant 2008-12-25
On Sunday, Romeo Crennel will try to avoid becoming the only full-time coach in the history of the Browns to go winless against the arch rival Pittsburgh Steelers.

Soon after that, Crennel will try to convince team owner Randy Lerner not to fire him. Any slim chance he has of winning that debate would likely vanish if the Browns lose in Pittsburgh in their final game of 2008.

Excluding three interim head coaches, Crennel is the Browns 11th head coach since they entered the NFL in 1950. The 10 others, starting with Paul Brown in 1950 through Butch Davis, each beat the Steelers at least once. Bud Carson lasted less than two seasons, and he beat the Steelers twice. Chris Palmer coached in 1999 and 2000 before being fired and he beat the Steelers twice.

Crennel is 0-7 against the Steelers. The deck is stacked against him ending that streak because the Browns have been decimated by injuries, particularly at quarterback and tight end. The injuries are one reason he believes the 4-11 season is not a true indication of how the Browns could perform.

"I think that if given the chance, I can turn it around," Crennel said. "We won 10 last year and I feel like we can win 10 again and we can win more.

"That's not in my hands. It's out of my control. All I can do is make a case for myself and say that given the chance, I will be able to get it turned around. If I'm given that chance I know that I will do everything I possibly can to get it turned."

Lerner was non-committal in an interview with reporters on Nov. 25, saying he would evaluate Crennel and general manager Phil Savage next month. The Browns have lost four straight since then.

Crennel said he has not spoken with Lerner "lately." Earlier in the season he said he would talk to Lerner often. There is speculation Lerner has distanced himself from Crennel and Savage during his evaluation process, but Crennel is hopeful Lerner will give him the opportunity to say why he should not be fired.

"Even thought I do know Randy well, he is the owner," Crennel said. "He's got a lot of different things he's got to consider and look at and he will make that determination in January when the season is over.

"At that time, when I get the chance to sit down and talk with him, then I can make my case. Then he's going to have to decide whether I've made a good enough case and whether he wants to stay with me in this job."

The Browns were 4-12 in 2004, the year before Savage and Crennel were hired. They were 6-10 in 2005, 4-12 in 2006 and 10-6 last season.

Crennel said this is the toughest season he has experienced in his four years as head coach, but he made no excuses for what has happened, even though there are plenty of them, starting with dropped passes by Braylon Edwards and injuries to his top two quarterbacks.

During the first four games, Edwards was the only legitimate receiver on the roster; Joe Jurevicius was and still is on the Physically Unable to Perform list and Donte Stallworth was sidelined with a quadriceps injury. Kellen Winslow has missed a total of five games.

SERIES HISTORY: 112th meeting. The Steelers lead the regular-season series, 56-55, and are 2-0 against the Browns in the playoffs. For more than 55 years the Browns led the series against the Steelers, but beginning in 1994 the scale tilted decidedly in favor of Pittsburgh. The Steelers have won 23 of the last 26 games with the Browns, including a game in the second week of 2008 when they beat the Browns, 10-6.

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: December 25, 2008

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Phil Dawson Name: Phil Dawson
Position: PK
Age: 33
Experience: 10 years
College: Texas
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