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News » Some Browns tagged quitters

Some Browns tagged quitters

Some Browns tagged quitters
BEREA, Ohio (AP) - Back from a rare, football-free weekend, the Cleveland Browns resumed a season that has faded from promising to problematic.

Their record says they're losers, and upon returning, they had to answer charges that they're quitters, too.

Following Thursday night's demoralizing loss to Denver, running back Jamal Lewis accused some unnamed teammates of giving up. Leading by 13 points, the Browns (3-6) allowed three touchdowns in the fourth quarter and lost 34-30, just four days after blowing a 14-point lead in a 37-27 loss to Baltimore.

Lewis was the only player to take his opinion public. But others agreed that the Browns quit.

"When you have a team like that that comes into our house and we're capable of beating them, that's the first thing that comes to your mind, is guys quitting," return specialist Joshua Cribbs said. "We can't figure out what's in everyone's head or in their minds, but that's what it looked like - that some guys quit.

"We know if everybody didn't quit, we would've won that ballgame," he said.

Lewis wasn't available for comment on Monday, but the nine-year veteran's charge that "some people need to check their egos at the door and find some heart," was still reverberating inside Cleveland's locker room.

And because they came from the normally reserved Lewis, the sentiments carry more clout.

"His input is very valuable to this team," linebacker and co-captain Andra Davis said. "If he says something like that, guys really need to check their egos."

Defensive tackle Shaun Smith said Lewis' comments cut deep.

"He's an established veteran with a Super Bowl ring so of course everybody is going to listen," Smith said. "Evidently, he wanted to say something. He doesn't say too much, so when he does speak up, it's got to mean something."

It does to Cribbs, who would be exempt from any criticism after another superb performance on special teams. He appreciates Lewis' passion as well as his frustration at not seeing others play as hard as he does.

"He goes out there and busts his tail every day, every game," Cribbs said. "I do the same and it hurts when players don't do the same and don't show the same will and don't show the same fire and desire to win. It's a shame sometimes, but we just have to pull together as a team, weed out those guys and play the rest of the season out."

Unless they can win seven straight, beginning next Monday night at Buffalo, the Browns' chances of making the AFC playoffs are impossibly long. Instead, the focus over the next month or so will be on coach Romeo Crennel's future and the development of quarterback Brady Quinn, who showed poise and potential in his debut as a starter against the Broncos.

Crennel, who benched Derek Anderson last week and turned his offense over to Quinn, hinted at more lineup changes this week. He wouldn't reveal them during his news conference because he had yet to meet with his players.

Crennel was asked if his changes were major or minor.

"I would classify them as secret right now," he said, chuckling.

Crennel doesn't have many options, but he could shake things up a bit on a defense which has given up 71 points and allowed nearly 1,000 yards in the past two games.

One possible switch could be moving outside linebacker Kamerion Wimbley inside or off the field entirely. Since setting a rookie club record with 11 sacks in 2006, the 6-foot-3, 255-pound Wimbley has been unable to mount a consistent pass rush and too often finds himself out of position to make tackles.

Cornerback Brandon McDonald, toasted several times by the Broncos, would be a candidate for demotion except that the Browns don't have much depth at that position. McDonald was beaten by rookie Eddie Royal for a 93-yard touchdown that got the Broncos back in it early in the fourth quarter and Denver quarterback Jay Cutler picked on the second-year cornerback again for the game-winning TD pass to Brandon Marshall with 1:14 left.

Crennel has confidence McDonald will recover.

"I think he will be able to go back, line up and be a productive player," Crennel said. "As you look at that game, he was competing all the time. Even though he gave up some plays and some yards, he was in position and was aggressive. It's not like he was the worst thing out there, he gave up or didn't try or anything like that."

The quitting issue wasn't one Crennel wanted to tackle. He thought the Browns played hard until the end, but didn't make good decisions along the way.

"The thing we didn't do is we didn't hold the lead and that's the thing we have to figure out how to do," he said. "I think if we play smarter we'll be able to hold a lead."

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: November 10, 2008

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Phil Dawson Name: Phil Dawson
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Age: 33
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