2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Change almost a certainty for Browns

By TOM WITHERS - AP Sports Writer
    2012-12-27 17:21

BEREA, Ohio (AP) - Phil Dawson's locker looked ready to host a Hawaiian luau.

Following practice, Dawson returned to his dressing area and found it decorated with a poster of two pink flamingos, inflatable parrots, flowered leis and the word ``Aloha'' draped across the front. After 14 seasons, the Browns' kicker made his first Pro Bowl.

Time to celebrate.

Might as well. There won't be much else to enjoy. Change awaits.

Following Sunday's finale in Pittsburgh, the Browns (5-10) are expected to undergo another radical makeover. That might begin with coach Pat Shurmur's firing after two seasons and could include general manager Tom Heckert being replaced. Although his fate seems sealed, Shurmur is doing all he can to keep his team focused on beating the Steelers (7-8).

Shurmur understands he hasn't won enough.

``Listen, I get this,'' he said Thursday, addressing the uncertainty ahead. ``My concerns are for my team and making sure that we do all the right things during the game to give our guys the best chance to win. That's where I'm at. At some point after that, I'll begin to think about what goes on from there. I'm not worried about it.''

It's more of the same for the Browns, who just two weeks ago were still in the playoff hunt. But a pair of lopsided losses to Washington and Denver and a slew of injuries pushed them to a familiar place - the brink of change.

During what may have been his final formal news conference, Shurmur reflected on what he and his staff accomplished with one of the NFL's youngest teams that includes 17 rookies.

``I think we've made improvements,'' he said. ``Some may say not fast enough, but I think we've made improvements. I think we came into a less than ideal situation when we got here. Every situation is different and I'm proud of that. I'm proud of the work that the guys that I hired did in terms of inspiring the players to improve.

``We have not won enough football games and I know that's the way this things works, but in our situation I see improvement and I'll leave it at that. The rest of it, going in depth to all that, I think that's a discussion for after we play Pittsburgh.''

New Browns owner Jimmy Haslam and CEO Joe Banner may have already decided to dismiss Shurmur, who is 9-22 with one game left. If he's fired, Shurmur will join Eric Mangini, Romeo Crennel, Butch Davis and Chris Palmer as coaches unable to build sustained success in Cleveland.

Browns return specialist Josh Cribbs can't take any more turnover.

``I hate that we rebuild every year,'' said Cribbs, who has been with the Browns since 2005. ``It's not a good recipe for successful football.''

Cribbs' contract expires after this season. He believes it would be a shame if Shurmur and Heckert aren't retained.

``A lot of people don't get a fair shake in this business, whether it be the quarterbacks or the regime,'' Cribbs said. ``They came in during the lockout, now the owner decided to sell the team. It's just so unfortunate the way the nature of the business is.

``But I'll tell you one thing, we're geared up to win this last game, to give it our best shot because this win, a sweep of Pittsburgh would do a lot for this city and might do a lot for the coaching staff as well.

``Finishing strong is the biggest thing at this point.''

The Browns haven't swept the Steelers in a season since 1988. A win Sunday would make the Browns 3-3 in the AFC North after going just 3-21 inside their division the previous four seasons combined.

Browns linebacker D'Qwell Jackson had hoped this would be the season where change wasn't necessary. However, he understands it may be unavoidable.

``With a new owner comes new changes and new obstacles, new challenges,'' he said. ``I hope it's for the better, I hope so. Mr. Haslam, he seems like a passionate guy. He enjoys what he's doing and he wouldn't have bought this team if he didn't think about being successful doing it. Just because it's change doesn't mean it can't be a good change.''

Dawson has seen every alteration made by the Browns since 1999. The soon-to-be 38-year-old has remained while hundreds of players and dozens of coaches have come and gone in Cleveland. He may be more practiced at change than others, but it's still as difficult now as when he was a rookie.

``Change is never easy. I don't know anyone that enjoys it,'' he said. ``But with all the unknown right now, if I have any advice for my teammates it's deal with the known. What we do know is we get to play the Steelers this week. What we do know is we get one last chance to go out, this group with these coaches, everyone together and try to win a football game, and it's not just some game. This is the Steeler game. `'

Notes: Dawson was voted the team's player of the year and Jackson was selected the ``Good Guy'' award winner by the local chapter of the Pro Football Writers of America. It was Dawson's first win. ``Didn't know that,'' the Texan said when informed after practice. ``Ya'll are desperate. Golly.'' Dawson has made 28 of 29 kicks this season and all six attempts from 50 yards or longer. He's made 84.2 percent of his career kicks, the highest percentage of the 25 kickers with 300 or more field goals. ... Browns safety T.J. Ward spoke for the first time since suffering a season-ending knee injury two weeks ago. Ward sustained a bone bruise and said he will not need surgery.

---

Online: http://pro32.ap.org/poll and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Michael HillAug 30 09:42a

The Green Bay Packers released RB Michael Hill.

Darrin ReavesAug 30 09:38a

Carolina Panthers RB Darrin Reaves is not projected to make the 53-man roster, as the top four running backs are expected to be RBs DeAngelo Williams, Jonathan Stewart, Mike Tolbert and Fozzy Whittaker.

Shaun DraughnAug 30 09:34a

Chicago Bears RB Shaun Draughn is projected to not only make the 53-man roster, but he is slotted as the primary backup to starter RB Matt Forte. FB Tony [ More ]

Christian PonderAug 30 09:33a

Minnesota Vikings QB Christian Ponder had a solid training camp and likely saved his job with significant work and production in the preseason finale. He might have some value [ More ]

A.Q. ShipleyAug 30 09:22a

The Baltimore Ravens cut OG A.Q. Shipley Saturday, Aug. 30.

Darryl SharptonAug 30 09:12a

The Washington Redskins placed LB Darryl Sharpton (ankle) on the Active/Reserve/Injured list. He will be able to return this season.

Keith WenningAug 30 09:12a

The Baltimore Ravens cut Keith Wenning Saturday, Aug. 30.

Dion LewisAug 30 09:02a

The Cleveland Browns released RB Dion Lewis Saturday, Aug. 30.

Ryan JensenAug 30 09:02a

The Baltimore Ravens have released OT Ryan Jensen.

Kellen DavisAug 30 09:02a

The New York Giants cut TE Kellen Davis Saturday, Aug. 30.

Mario ManninghamAug 30 08:52a

New York Giants WR Mario Manningham (calf) may not be with the team much longer because of the calf injury he suffered in preseason action Thursday, Aug. 28. His [ More ]

Crezdon ButlerAug 30 01:52a

The San Diego Chargers waived CB Crezdon Butler, DE Joe Kruger and DE Doug Worthington Friday, Aug. 29, according to sources.

Marion GriceAug 30 01:52a

San Diego Chargers rookie RBs Marion Grice and Branden Oliver remain on the roster as of Friday, Aug. 29, but only one is the expected to be retained before [ More ]

Thomas KeiserAug 30 01:52a

San Diego Chargers LB Tourek Williams might have secured the fifth linebacker job and a spot on the 53-man roster. Williams was in competition with LBs Thomas Keiser and Cordarro Law.

Tevin ReeseAug 30 01:52a

The San Diego Chargers waived rookie WR Tevin Reese Friday, Aug. 29, according to sources. He was a seventh-round pick in April.

Philip RiversAug 30 01:52a

The San Diego Chargers will keep just two quarterbacks, starter QB Philip Rivers and veteran backup QB Kellen Clemens. The team cut QB Brad Sorensen, who is eligible for [ More ]

Terrelle PryorAug 30 01:12a

The Seattle Seahawks released QB Terrelle Pryor Friday, Aug. 29, according to a source.

Chris PolkAug 30 01:02a

Philadelphia Eagles RB Chris Polk is included on the team's 53-man roster, according to sources.

Casey MatthewsAug 30 01:02a

Philadelphia Eagles LB Casey Matthews has made the 53-man roster, beating out LB Emmanuel Acho, according to reports.

Emmanuel AchoAug 30 01:02a

Philadelphia Eagles LB Emmanuel Acho, WR Ifeanyi Momah, QB G.J. Kinne and WR Quron Pratt have been released, according to various sources and reports.

Jerricho CotcheryAug 29 11:42p

The Carolina Panthers will keep six wide receivers with WRs Jason Avant, Kelvin Benjamin, Brenton Bersin, Philly Brown, Jerricho Cotchery and Tavarres King as the projected members of the [ More ]

Mike McNeillAug 29 11:42p

Carolina Panthers TE Mike McNeill (knee) has been slowed by a nagging knee injury, and TE Brandon D. Williams has emerged as a solid player in training camp and the preseason, making McNeill expendable.

Keshawn MartinAug 29 11:42p

Houston Texans WR Keshawn Martin will return kickoffs to start the season, making him a lock for the 53-man roster. His roster spot was in question during the spring, [ More ]

Brandon HarrisAug 29 11:42p

The Houston Texans released CB Brandon Harris Friday, Aug. 29, according to a source. He was the team's second-round pick in the 2011 NFL Draft.

Greg OlsenAug 29 11:42p

The Carolina Panthers are deep at tight end, with starting TE Greg Olsen and reserve TEs Ed Dickson, Brandon D. Williams and Richie Brockel projected to make the final [ More ]

Jalen ParmeleAug 29 11:32p

The Arizona Cardinals released RB Jalen Parmele Friday, Aug. 29, according to a source.

Joe WebbAug 29 11:32p

Carolina Panthers QB Joe Webb looked expendable until QB Cam Newton (ribs) suffered a fractured rib in the third preseason game. Now, head coach Ron Rivera appears fairly adamant [ More ]

Bryan McCannAug 29 11:32p

The Arizona Cardinals released CB Bryan McCann Friday, Aug. 29, his agent confirmed.

Isaac SopoagaAug 29 11:32p

The Arizona Cardinals released LB Marcus Benard and DT Isaac Sopoaga Friday, Aug. 29, according to a source.

Derek SherrodAug 29 11:02p

The Green Bay Packers might be in the market to add another offensive lineman, whether it is through a trade, waiver or free agency. The team lost OT Aaron [ More ]

Khyri ThorntonAug 29 10:52p

Green Bay Packers DE Khyri Thornton (hamstring) suffered a hamstring injury in the preseason game Thursday, Aug. 28, and his agent said Friday, Aug. 29, that the third-round pick [ More ]

Kevin OgletreeAug 29 10:52p

Detroit Lions WR Kris Durham is on the bubble to make the 53-man roster along with WRs Ryan Broyles, Corey Fuller and Kevin Ogletree.

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2014 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group