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Browns inept in 20-7 defeat



Published: Fri, September 1, 2006 @ 12:00 a.m.



Cleveland's highlight was that it scored a TD against the Bears.

By JOE SCALZO

VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF

CLEVELAND -- Good things you can say about the Browns' final preseason game:

The new uniforms look regular season-ready.

Dave Zastudil punted well.

The weather was nice.

It's over.

"I'll tell you like I told the players, the best thing about this game is that it's over," said Browns coach Romeo Crennel after Thursday's 20-7 loss to the Chicago Bears at Cleveland Browns Stadium. "They acted like they didn't want to play and it showed on the field."

Cleveland's lone bright spot came in the closing seconds of the second quarter when backup quarterback Derek Anderson capped an impressive drive with a 5-yard touchdown pass to Frisman Jackson.

"The only thing good thing about tonight was we got a touchdown," said Crennel. "It was a half-[butt] effort to make a game of it. Excuse my French."

Crennel seemed more irritated than angry after the game, realizing that it was the final preseason game -- the players knew it didn't mean anything and acted like it -- and that the real test comes in nine days against the New Orleans Saints.

"The good thing about it is this one doesn't count," he said.

Anderson struggles

The bad thing is, many of the questions Crennel had about his team -- specifically the one about his backup quarterbacks -- went unanswered. Aside from the touchdown drive, Anderson struggled to do much, completing 11 of 22 passes for 96 yards and an interception.

Anderson has looked better in the preseason -- he was the third-string quarterback for the first three games before getting a (seemingly) golden opportunity on Thursday -- but he clearly didn't show enough to Crennel to merit the backup job. Unfortunately for the Browns, neither did the previous backup, Ken Dorsey, who was 2 for 7 with 18 yards in fourth quarter spot duty.

When asked to assess the play of the two quarterbacks, Crennel said, "Well, it wasn't very good on anybody's part. I don't think we had a quarterback that played good."

Starting quarterback Charlie Frye played the first two series against the Bears and didn't do much, completing one of four passes for 8 yards as the Browns went three-and-out twice.

Chicago's starters, meanwhile, looked good as quarterback Rex Grossman led the Bears to a 10-0 lead before departing.

"That's what I wanted to see -- that crispness that they had," Crennel said. "We didn't have that."

Veteran QB possibilities

Crennel had hinted at bringing in a veteran quarterback earlier in camp -- Vinny Testaverde's name was mentioned a few times -- and another option may have opened up earlier in the week when Titans starter Billy Volek expressed irritation over the team's signing of Kerry Collins, combined with the drafting of Vince Young.

When asked if the team might bring someone in before the Saints game, Crennel said, "We haven't decided on that yet. We'll talk about that in the next few days."

The other big question was whether the Browns would keep former first-round pick William Green at running back or go with the oft-injured (but more talented) Lee Suggs. From the looks of things, they may not keep either. After first-stringer Reuben Droughns departed, rookie Jerome Harrison got most of the reps before giving way to Jason Wright early in the fourth quarter. (Harrison was another bright spot, continuing his strong August with a seven carry, 32-yard night.)

Crennel said Green was banged up. Suggs, who wasn't, played mostly on special teams. The final cut-down day is Saturday, when the Browns must trim 22 players from the roster to get down to 53.

"There are positions where, we as coaches will have to make some tough decisions," said Crennel. "We'll do it and go forward."

scalzo@vindy.com




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