Following Sunday's loss to the Texans and then again on Monday afternoon in the routine player media availability, Browns players insisted that it was them, and not head coach Romeo Crennel, who should be blamed for the Browns disappointing 4-7 start to the season.
When asked what the players taking responsibility for the disappointing season means to him, Crennel said, "It means that they are incorrect because I am the head coach, and the buck stops at my desk. It is my charge. If we don't win games, it's on me.
"We've got coaches who work very hard to try to get a good plan, try to put it out there and try to get the guys to execute, and when they team doesn't play well, it falls on the head coach. Just like when the offense doesn't do well, a lot of times, it falls on the quarterback, rightly or wrongly. In this position, the scrutiny goes with it."
He later repeated, "I'm the head coach, and the buck stops here. When we go out there and we don't play well, I don't do well. When we play well, I do well. That's the way it has been all along."
It's the same thing he says when he discusses the state of the team with Browns owner Randy Lerner.
"I tell him that this team hasn't lived up to expectations," Crennel said. "We are not as consistent as we need to be. We are working to try to be what everybody wants us to be, but it hasn't happened the way we expected it to happen. I tell him we are going to keep fighting, and we are going to try to win a game.
"He is saying that he appreciates that attitude. He knows that there are no guarantees in this business. Every game is different, and you have to line up and play it. That was his indication."
Those are similar to Crennel's conversations with general manager Phil Savage.
"We talk on a regular basis," he said. "We know where we're at, 4-7, which is not good enough. Going forward from that, we've got a game on Sunday (against the Indianapolis Colts at Cleveland Browns Stadium) that we need to try to win. Then after that, we have other games we need to try to win, and, one by one, they become the main focus.
"If we can win a game on the field, then the organization looks better. That is what we're going to try to do."
I have yet to get on the "Fire Crennel" bandwagon mostly because I respect him as a man and quotes like this reaffirm my feeling. Romeo is a good man and the players love him, I just don't know if he is getting the job done. When does the responsibility lie on the assistant coaches or the players? Who knows. We will see what happens this offseason if Romeo survives the ax. I think we need to finis