Edwards wants Browns to take shot
November 23, 2006 7:55pm CST
s Braylon Edwards reached up and politely turned down the volume on a TV hanging across from his locker. He wanted to be heard. Moments later, he was blasting on his own. On Wednesday, the Browns' talented wide receiver was questioned about the team's inability to score touchdowns inside opponents' 20, a problem that has gotten statistically worse in four games under new offensive coordinator Jeff Davidson. Edwards' solution? "I think the play calling needs to be more aggressive," Edwards said, "and I believe when we get down there (inside the opponents' 20) we're just happy to be there. I think that's how it's been all season." In Sunday's 24-20 loss to Pittsburgh, the Browns twice moved the ball inside the Steelers 20-yard line, but failed to score a touchdown both times, settling for field goals by Phil Dawson. A week earlier, the Browns were 1-of-6 in the red zone at San Diego as Dawson kicked six field goals in a 32-25 loss. Since Davidson took over as coordinator following Maurice Carthon's resignation on Oct. 23, the Browns have scored four TDs in 13 trips into the red zone. Under Carthon, Cleveland went 9-for-16 on red-zone visits. With Carthon calling plays, the Browns, who host the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday, were ranked 11th in the league inside the 20. Now, they're 23rd. That's not progress, and Edwards said it's not the players' fault, either. He didn't name names, but the confident second-year speedster said Cleveland's coaches are being too conservative near the goal line. "Certain people within that staff," he said. "It's not our mind-set. Every time I get down there, I'm ready to punch it in. Every time K2 (tight end Kellen Winslow) gets down there, we're ready to punch it in. "That's just how we as the players think. When we get down there we don't play for three points. I don't play special teams. I'm not a field goal kicker. When I get in the red zone I want six." Edwards isn't the first Browns player to be critical of Cleveland's lack of offensive imagination. Following a loss to Cincinnati in Week 2, Winslow criticized Cleveland's coaches for not playing him in key third-down situations and for being too conservative. Winslow later apologized for his rant. Now Edwards is complaining about the team's frugality with the football, especially within striking distance of the end zone. "We've gotten down there and it's like, 'Hey, we're here, OK, we know we're going to get three (points). If we luck up and get six, so be it,"' he said. "We just have to be aggressive. We have playmakers and we have play calls. But when we get down there, we don't seem to call those plays." Cleveland's conservative approach in the goal line's shadow -- at least in the fourth quarter -- might be a lack of confidence in quarterback Charlie Frye. He ranks 32nd in the league with a 57.6 passer rating in the fourth period and has thrown two TD passes and six interceptions in the final quarter. Browns coach Romeo Crennel insists he and his staff aren't limiting its play calls out of fear Frye will make a mistake. "By not throwing interceptions, there's no fault on our part," he said. "We've seen that throwing into the end zone and throwing interceptions doesn't help you win, either. Would I rather have a field goal as opposed to a turnover? Yes, I would. What we're going to try to do is score touchdowns." Frye agreed with Edwards that the offense should be more wide-open deep in enemy territory. "We could be more aggressive," he said. "We do have big targets and it's up to me to put the ball in there."