Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Mount St. Kellens finally erupts

I was waiting for this. The Brown with the biggest mouth and hottest competitive fire of them all has finally reached the point where he couldn't keep it inside any longer.
Kellen Winslow Jr., for the first time since his motorcycle accident last year, has reverted back to the Kellen Winslow we know and love, the "I'm a soldier" Kellen, not the Kellen in search of peace, balance and harmony we were sold in the aftermath of the motorcycle crash.
Mount St. Kellens has once again erupted in front of the cameras. This time he took out two small villages, a geological survey crew and the entire Browns coaching staff.
"Some of the coaches might be holding us back a bit," Winslow told reporters yesterday.
Winslow said he is unhappy with repeatedly being taken out on third down and thinks the play calling is too conservative.
"I don't mean to try to go behind (the coaches') 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," he said.
When you are coming off two straight embarrassing losses to start the season, it's hard not to like someone who wants to rock the boat a bit. Winslow's off-the-field antics are not to be emulated, but his white-hot fire in the belly is something more Browns players should have between the lines.
Fans from Sandusky to Willowick will applaud Winslow's desire to give this team a swift kick in the pants and get them going. But you have to wonder if it will have the opposite effect.
In my experience, most coaches don't like to be questioned about their methods. Most coaches detest players who dissent. And most coaches would just as soon shave with a rusty lawnmower than have a player call them out in the media.
Jeff Garcia (who, admittedly, seems to make enemies wherever he goes) found that out the hard way with Butch Davis. Garcia publicly complained that he wasn't getting enough reps to familiarize himself with the offensive schemes during the 2004 preseason. Davis' response was to spite both Garcia and the team by benching his starting quarterback for the vast majority of all four preseason games, giving him virtually no chance at learning the schemes.
As a rookie, Winslow sort of found that out, too. After a lengthy and contentious holdout, he was almost entirely relegated to special teams dutyuntil his season ended with a broken leg in Week 2.
The moral of the story: many coaches aren't above hindering their own team just to prove a player wrong. It's a ego thing.
After Winslow's spout-off to the cameras Monday, coach Romeo Crennel bristled when asked for a response during his weekly press conference.
"He's not a wide receiver, first of all, so when you go three wides, he's not there," Crennel told reporters. "I think you need to look at those plays that were run when we had that personnel group in the game and see if his presence would have made a difference on the plays that were called or not - before we jump to conclusions about whether he should be on the field or not."
In other words, Crennel's not about to have his playbook questioned by one of his players. He is right not to stand for Winslow's public display of discontent. But what matters is what Crennel does when the reporters aren't there and Winslow isn't on his soapbox.
Are he and offensive coordinator Maurice Carthon going to sit down and look at refining the offensive playbook to get the most out of their players? Or is Crennel going to pull a Butch Davis, dismiss Winslow's words and sit him on every third-down play for the rest of the season as a means of passive-aggressive punishment?
Because, while Winslow's public airing of dirty locker-room laundry can be questioned, his beef is legitimate.
The Browns are a work in progress. And the progress has been very slow to come. Crennel owes it to his team, and the fans who keep buying tickets to watch it lose week after week, to put all the ideas on the table and consider them.
Winslow can be a beast on the field. You need only watch highlights of the Miami-Tennessee game that preceded his "soldier" rant -- a game in which he blocked two Volunteer players at one time -- to know he has a rare combination of fire and talent. He wants to be the one to make things happen on the field. On a team in desperate need of direction and leadership, to have a player who wants to do that, and is able to do that, is extremely valuable.
Crennel needs to look past Winslow's public display of insubordination to the validity of his argument. In order to keep drives going, the best players need to be out there on third down. And Winslow might just be the best offensive player the Browns have.

1 comment:

Ben said...

It was only a matter of time before K2 went off, especially after the way the first two games have turned out.

But does he have a point? Probably. And yes, I'm one of those fans who looks at this and goes "Well, at least someone in that lockeroom is embarrassed by this"