There wasn’t any wind. Not even a hint of chill in the fresh Baltimore evening when the Browns walked off the field at M&T Bank Stadium. It was, other than the sullen looks on Cleveland players’ faces, a perfect last day of summer. And the Browns -- full of hope, promise and optimism for a change – still don’t have a win. The calendar changes today.
There wasn’t any wind. Not even a hint of chill in the fresh Baltimore evening when the Browns walked off the field at M&T Bank Stadium. It was, other than the sullen looks on Cleveland players’ faces, a perfect last day of summer.
And the Browns -- full of hope, promise and optimism for a change – still don’t have a win. The calendar changes today.
So do the expectations.
To quote, almost, Dennis Green, the Browns aren’t what we thought they were.
They’re so much worse, and looked every bit of it Sunday evening after a 28-10 loss to Baltimore.
“We can’t panic, but we can’t go 0-and-four, I’ll tell you that,” center Hank Fraley said. “I thought we’d be 3-0 right now.”
Huh? Fraley’s a nice guy, but did he check the schedule? Someone pull his Wunderlic score.
Raven fans, positioned near Cleveland’s locker room tunnel, said many of the same things Browns fans were thinking. They compared Derek Anderson to a vacuum’s function. They let 325-pound Corey Williams know his girth was wide and he was still 0-and-3.
The Browns looked at the heckling the same way they have their first three games: Oblivious to all of it. After the last of the players – Kellen Winslow Jr. -- exited the field, Baltimore’s corny looking mascot, an oversized Raven named Poe, danced like he was on the streets of New Orleans.
He might as well have been dancing on Cleveland’s grave. The Browns are done.
“Right now ... we’re not a very good football team,” said Head Coach Romeo Crennel, who may be a dead man walking the hall of the team’s complex. “I don’t know whether we’re trying to live on the success we had last year, but it’s not working. We’re going to have to do a lot better or this thing is really gonna get away from us.”
For the fifth time in franchise history, they’re 0-3 before fall started. Crennel, incidentally, owns two of those starts. The team’s average number of wins when it starts winless after three games is three.
Wide receiver Braylon Edwards said the season is savable. Puh-lease. Fannie and Freddie needed a government bailout. The Browns? They’re not on the federal government’s list right now.
“We’ve got 13 games left,” Edwards said. “I hate when you guys ask questions that make no sense. There are 13 games left. Who knows? We can hit our stride next week and make it happen. ... Is it savable? You can answer that question.”
Ah, no way in hell, Bray.
Since 1990 when the NFL changed its playoff format, only three teams have started 0-3 and made it to the playoffs. In the Super Bowl era, there’s just five 0-3 teams that have made it to the postseason.
Do the Browns -- who couldn’t beat the decent teams last season and surely aren’t ready to take a bite out of the league’s best this -- look like a playoff team?
Not only is Cleveland the worst team in its division -- winless Cincinnati took the world champions to overtime Sunday -- it is among the worst teams in the entire conference.
Even the Browns head coach agrees. What did Crennel tell his locker room full of players who thought they were going to the playoffs this year?
“I tell them we’re not a very good football team,” Crennel said. “We’re going to have to work really hard if we’re going to have a chance to do anything.”
The Browns turned a game they could have won into a hapless exercise in football in the second half. Derek Anderson was picked off three times, one inside his own 15 and a second that was returned for a touchdown.
The Browns offense essentially scored more points for Baltimore than they did for themselves.
Crennel looked like he was hit by the transit train that runs outside the stadium. He spent much of the game with his arms folded in front of his chest and a puzzled look on his face. Anderson stood alone at the end of the sideline after his third pick.
Hey, at least he took the meaningless field goal out of his coach’s hands late in the game.
“I felt we would be a better football team than we are,” Crennel said, for the third time alluding to just how bad the Browns are, and even then he wasn’t overdoing it. “You never know how the games are going to turn out, and what the win-loss record is going to be, but I thought we’d be more consistent and we’re not very good right now.”
The death march started when the Baltimore game ended. The Browns have buried themselves. Fittingly in Poe’s macabre town. He was there to dance on their grave.
Reach Repository sports writer Todd Porter at (330) 580-8340 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org