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Winslow makes good point about Browns' bad offense
By JOANNE KORTH
Published September 24, 2006
The sports world is weary of narcissistic athletes. We're all tired of hearing spoiled NFL divas complain about not getting the ball. We're sick of listening to 20-something kids claim to be smarter than their coaches.
But what do we do when the narcissistic, spoiled 20-something kid is right?
Browns tight end Kellen Winslow was outspoken after last week's 34-17 loss to the Bengals, during which he was on the sideline for several third-down plays.
"Some of the coaches might just be holding us back a little bit," Winslow told reporters Monday. "I don't mean to try to go behind their backs or whatever, but let's go. Let's air it out. Let's run the ball. Let's make plays. Let's be exciting. I think we're being a little too conservative right now, and we just need to unleash it.
"Why wait? We're 0-2. We've got nothing to lose. It's very frustrating. We're losing, and I'm not on the field. And I just don't get it. I don't really say anything. I just show my frustration."
He's absolutely right, of course. Winslow is one of the Browns' few playmakers. But voicing his frustration through the media did not sit well with coach Romeo Crennel, who had a meeting with Winslow on Wednesday.
"I'm the head coach, and I'm the guy that calls the shots," Crennel said. "And if he's got displeasure with the shots called, he should come and address them to me first."
Crennel declined to say whether he agreed with Winslow's assessment.
"His claims are his opinions," Crennel said. "Players play, and coaches coach. We're going to try to coach him so he can be prepared to play,"
It's easy to blast Winslow. The first-round draft pick in 2004 has played all of four NFL games after jeopardizing his career and the Browns' 2005 season by injuring his knee in a motorcycle accident. But he is a passionate and proud player, something the rebuilding Brown are sorely lacking in the locker room.
Winslow's criticisms are aimed at embattled offensive coordinator Maurice Carthon. The Browns ranked last in the league in scoring last year, Carthon's first as a play-caller. Former Cleveland quarterback Trent Dilfer refused to work with Carthon after 2005. C'mon, nice-guy Dilfer can't get along with the guy?
This season, Carthon drew criticism in the opener for removing Reuben Droughns, a 1,200-yard rusher in 2005, on short-yardage situations. And in Week 2, Winslow came out of the game on at least three third downs.
That's bad coaching.
Winslow did not have much support from teammates for the manner in which he expressed himself. Second-year quarterback Charlie Frye handled the controversy with diplomacy.
"You know Kellen. He's a fiery guy. He's real intense," Frye said. "The way he talks to (reporters) is the same way he plays on the field. He plays with a lot of intensity. That's just the way he is. But I'm supportive of the coaches."