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Cleveland Browns

Those pesky penalties

By Marla Ridenour Published: December 2, 2007

Browns coach Romeo Crennel never tries to downplay his responsibilities in how his team fares. But more than once after Sunday's 27-21 loss at Arizona, Crennel called himself out.

''We didn't play very well at all,'' he said. ''We turned the ball over, we muffed punts, we had penalties. We did not do a good enough job coaching and we did not do a good enough job playing.''

Cleveland lost four turnovers that Arizona turned into 21 points and was penalized 10 times for 77 yards. Cornerback Leigh Bodden was whistled for delay of game for kicking the ball after a third-down incompletion that kept Arizona's second touchdown drive alive. Defensive lineman Simon Fraser was cited for a head butt on Joshua Cribbs' kickoff return on Cleveland's final possession that left the Browns starting from their 18.

Asked if his team lost its composure, Crennel said, ''We didn't do a good enough job coaching or playing and that's the only explanation I can give you.''

Crennel may have another point to emphasize because penalties have been a relatively overlooked thorn in the Browns' side all season. They committed seven for 71 yards in the previous victory over Houston and 12 for 104 yards the week before at Baltimore. They've also had more than six against Oakland (9-64), New England (7-40), St. Louis (14-102) and Pittsburgh (7-40 on Nov. 11).

Cleveland ranked third in the league in penalties last week with 85, trailing only Arizona (97) and Green Bay (86).

''People try so hard to make the play, you want to play good ball. There's a fine line between a call and no call,'' Browns linebacker Chaun Thompson said.

''I didn't see all the penalties, so I'm not going to try to rate that guys lost their composure or whatever happened,'' Browns linebacker Willie McGinest said. ''Any time you get penalties it's not good.''

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