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Geez, What Happened To The Browns?

When Browns head coach Romeo Crennel last faced Andy Reid and the Eagles, he was defensive coordinator for the New England Patriots and he walked off the field as a Super Bowl champion.

When Crennel walks off the Lincoln Financial Field turf sometime late on Monday night, he'll be one game closer to the end of disappointing season that began with great expectations.

Crennel and his team have endured a difficult, injury-plagued 4-9 season and he's watched them lose four games by less than four points. That Super Bowl must seem like a lifetime ago.

After last year's 10-6 season, Cleveland was expecting something better than what its gotten in 2008.

"Feels like a long time," Crennel said. "I think this year makes it seem like a much longer time because of the way our season has gone, particularly coming off the expectations of last year. Everybody and we ourselves felt we would be much better than our record indicates. We've played some close games and we haven't made the plays that would allow us to win."

Cleveland will play the Eagles with third-string quarterback Ken Dorsey leading the way because both of the Browns' top two quarterbacks, Derek Anderson and Brady Quinn, are out for the year with injuries.

"Well, it is rough," Crennel said. "You lose your first and second guy, then you have to go down the line but one of the good things about our third guy, Dorsey, the one we're using is he has a good understanding of the offense. He can manage his team and he can run the offense the way it needs to be run. We know he doesn't have the skill level our first and second quarterback had because if he had that skill level, he probably would have been a first or second. But he is a third so we are working with him going into this game on Monday."

Former Eagles center Hank Fraley now plays for the Browns but if it seems like he's been through something like this before, it's because he has.

In 2005, Fraley was under center when quarterback Donovan McNabb was lost for the season with a sports hernia. The Eagles were coming off a Super Bowl season and expectations were sky high.

Instead, Eagles fans were treated to a whole lot of Mike McMahon and the season ended with a 6-10 thud.

"I haven't really thought about it from that perspective," Fraley said. "We're fine. You have to get used to your quarterback, more of a cadence deal. But we're fine with whoever's back there. We're just going out and playing. We lost two guys but Dorsey's a smart guy, he's got control of the offense and he knows it well."

Crennel realizes that it always seems darkest just before dawn.

"You have to kind of lean on who you are and what you know about the game and have some resolve," Crennel said. "In this NFL game, nothing lasts for very long so you may be going through some hard times now but better times are around the corner. So you just have to keep fighting, have a good attitude, get your guys ready to play and give them a good plan. Hopefully, they execute it to the best of their ability and see where that takes you."

Fraley knows that this Browns team is better than their record says they are.

"Our record doesn't show how good of a team we do have," Fraley said. "It's a game of inches and consistency and there are times we're not as consistent like we need to be. Overall, I think it's been (a) pretty good (season), but we just haven't been able to get those wins and that's what you look at the end of the day and we're not winning."

According to receiver Braylon Edwards, what happened last year has no bearing on this season.

"2007 is gone," Edwards said. "It's something that's gone. In '07, we didn't make the playoffs. As good as the season was individually and stat-wise, we didn't make the playoffs. Technically, we're in the same boat as last year. This a learning process for a lot of guys on this team, myself included. There's something we can take out of the season moving forward to the offseason and just try and get back on track next year."

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