Cleveland left to play out season

Published 12:33 am Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Browns have nothing left to play for in a season perhaps even more disappointing than any of the seven double-digit loss seasons over the past 10 years.

For all the Browns’ expectations and talent, the only thing left is to speculate on their next coach and top draft choice.

Browns fans are already wishing for former Pittsburgh Steelers coach Bill Cowher and Ohio State tailback Beanie Wells, who has yet to decide whether he will leave the Buckeyes early for the NFL.

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But coach Romeo Crennel and the Browns have another two games to muddle through after losing 30-10 to the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday night.

It was the Browns’ 10th loss just one season after they won 10 games with an explosive offense that earned them five prime-time contests.

That same offense is down to its third-string quarterback and has failed to score a touchdown in a month.

‘‘This season has not gone the way that I wanted it to go … but it is what it is,’’ a downcast Crennel said Tuesday. ‘‘It’s disappointing; it’s frustrating.’’

The toll of the Browns’ fourth straight loss showed after the game Monday night. Wide receiver Braylon Edwards — plagued by dropped passes all season — had a solid game with five receptions for 102 yards, yet expressed his displeasure with Cleveland fans and media.

‘‘I could care less about fans, media, people talking about trading me … I’ve got a job to do. My job is to catch the football,’’ he said.

Later he added, ‘‘I’ve learned being here that I’m very unappreciated. Not in the organization, just in the eyes of the fans, the city. Since Day One I’ve been a marked man coming from Michigan. It’s just gone that way. Even when things are good, there’s heckles.’’

Crennel chalked it up to frustration.

‘‘When we talk to people after the games, particularly these games we’ve had this year when you’re losing, guys are frustrated, sometimes those frustrations come out … if guys have an opportunity to sit down and think and cool off, maybe they wouldn’t say some of the things that they say,’’ Crennel said.

Quarterback Ken Dorsey has been unable to lead the Browns to the end zone in two games, just as Brady Quinn and Derek Anderson failed to score a touchdown in the two prior games.

Recently signed backup quarterback Bruce Gradkowski isn’t completely up to speed with the playbook, and he isn’t a strong option to start.

‘‘He could go in the game if he had to, if we needed him to,’’ Crennel said.

The Browns planned to use Joshua Cribbs to give the offense a spark, but defenses have prepared for plays designed for the speedy return man, Crennel said.

‘‘They were looking for him and they were blitzing some when he was in there and they were stoning us,’’ Crennel said.

Browns tight end Steve Heiden tore ligaments in his right knee Monday and will miss the rest of the season.

Heiden has been starting in place of the injured Kellen Winslow, and the Browns are now down to third-string tight end Darnell Dinkins and rookie Martin Rucker.