Coach Romeo Crennel is taking a more active role in play calling because of
problems the Browns have had converting third downs. It is a good time to change
directions because the Steelers, the Browns' opponent Sunday, are near the
bottom of the league in third-down defense.
The Browns have converted 32 of 95 third-down situations, a success rate of
only 33.7 percent. They had one of their better days while converting seven of
16 against the Titans, but Crennel wants more consistency.
"Everybody's involved on third down," Crennel said. "We have to protect
better. We have to run better routes. We have to catch better. We have to throw
better. Also, I told (the players) that maybe I have to call better plays on
third down to try to help us get over the hump and be more efficient.
"We're all in it together, so we're going to work at it together and try to
do better. I know that if we can move the sticks, we have a chance to move the
ball and put some points on the board."
The Browns have been in third-and-2 or third-and-3 25 times and converted 30
percent of their chances. They have been in third-and-4, third-and-5 or
third-and-6 23 times and converted 38 percent. Crennel was at a loss to explain
why the success rate was higher at the longer distance.
"On third-and-7 to -10, we fell back," Crennel said. "On third-and-11-plus,
we weren't very good at all."
Part of the problem is the Browns are too predictable. They called for pass
plays on each of their first nine third-down situations against the Titans. They
finally changed up on third-and-16 with a draw play to Reuben Droughns. The
Titans were looking for a pass, and Droughns ran 23 yards. Crennel said running
more often could improve third-down production.
REPLAY: Dennis Northcutt scored his first touchdown of the season on a
58-yard reception, and Jason Wright ran 6 yards for the Browns' first rushing
touchdown of the season in a 20-14 victory over the Titans.
The game wasn't decided until Kenard Lang hit Steve McNair on the final play
at the Browns 29. McNair threw the while ball falling down, and rookie safety
Brodney Pool intercepted.
The Browns snapped a three-game losing streak. The Titans botched two fake
punts, otherwise the Browns might be headed to Pittsburgh with a 2-6 record.