BEREA, Ohio -- Training camp hits a certain restless dead time.
Training camp hits a certain restless dead time.
Imagine: You haven’t eaten this week and you’ve been fishing all day, but if one doesn’t bite soon, you’re dead.
Wednesday was nothing like that at the Browns’ complex.
Imagine: You’re well fed and an invasion is coming. You just hope you’re not Switzerland, because you know they’re the Russian army.
A fresh wind is blowing.
Words were flying in the locker room. It’s Pittsburgh week colliding with opening day. It sounded that way.
Jim Brown, whose job with the team is being Jim Brown, parked in front of Kellen Winslow Jr.’s locker. Winslow glanced at the man and cleared out.
Brown said the stars are beginning to align.
“It’s put-up time,” Brown said, drawing a crowd of listeners that kept getting bigger.
Charlie Frye’s fifth NFL start was a 41-0 home loss to Pittsburgh on Dec. 24, 2005. In his only other game against the Steelers, the Browns blew a 20-10 lead and lost, 24-20. The 41-0 game is more indelibly etched.
“I still have the taste of that Christmas Eve game,” Frye said.
The Academy should spend as much time studying film as Frye does. He probably knows Pittsburgh better than some Steelers.
Joe Thomas, the new left tackle, eventually might live up to his No. 3 overall draft status. But in his first NFL game? Against the archrival?
Thomas has taken a cue from the man whose blind side he must protect.
“You’ve gotta study harder for this,” Thomas said. “You’ve gotta be ready for anything.”
On passing downs, Thomas must be aware of blitzes by Kent State alumnus James Harrison, who chased Charlie Frye in college.
Harrison waxed like Jack Lambert in the Christmas Eve nightmare, clobbering a drunken Browns fan who ran onto the field.
Orpheus Roye knows the expansion-era Browns better than anyone. His circle of life covers playing for defensive coordinators Romeo Crennel, Foge Fazio, Dave Campo and Todd Grantham and now for Crennel as a head coach. But first he spent four years on Bill Cowher’s Steelers.
“Cowher was run, run, run,” Roye said. “They’re more like Indy now, a more balanced team.”
Romeo Crennel took his hot seat back, four days after GM Phil Savage said, “There is no hot seat.”
“Every head coach in the NFL is on the hot seat,” he said. “You’ve got to win some games.”
Crennel is 0-4 against Pittsburgh, 0-4 against Cincinnati, 1-3 against Baltimore and 9-13 outside the AFC North.
“It’s the home opener, a division opponent, a big rivalry against the Steelers,” Crennel said. “We’re excited.”
Ben Roethlisberger’s voice came over the speakers in the media room. The Pittsburgh quarterback predicted Bill Cowher will be back in coaching in 2008.
“That was my bet when he left,” Roethlisberger said.
Cowher played for Cleveland from 1980-82 and coached on four Browns playoff teams.
“We joke around here,” Roethlisberger said. “We think (Cleveland) might be his No. 1 spot.”
It’s no skin off Roethlisberger’s back to stir up the Crennel hot-seat issue.
Simon Fraser played on Ohio State’s national title team. On Saturday, he was just another guy complaining about the national upset of the century. He complained because Appalachian State over Michigan was buried on the Big Ten Network.
Now, Fraser is more interested in playing in the defensive line rotation. He is recovering from an abscess in a buttock.
“It is what it is,” Fraser said.
Cleveland leads the series with Pittsburgh, 55-53.
As recently as 1993, when Phil Savage was a low-level Browns assistant for Bill Belichick, the Browns’ lead was 52-33.
After getting their butts kicked for a while, the Browns want to get the series back to what it used to be.
Reach Canton Repository sports writer Steve Doerschuk at (330) 580-8347 or firstname.lastname@example.org.