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Friday, November 28, 2014
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Published: Friday, 7/23/2004

Davis now gets all the credit, all the blame

Well, Cleveland Browns coach Butch Davis finally has his signature pieces on offense - Jeff Garcia at quarterback, Kellen Winslow Jr. at tight end, Lee Suggs at running back.

What Davis still doesn't have, apparently, is peace of mind.

How else can you explain Davis' insistence on distancing himself from anyone in management who carried any clout with the organization?

Team president and CEO Carmen Policy? Gone.

Personnel consultant Ron Wolf? See ya.

Team vice presidents Kofi Bonner and Lal Henneghan? Fellows, don't let the door hit you on the way out.

Davis created a scene when it wasn't necessary.

His power play was unnecessary because he was already in charge of every facet of football operations.

Davis is the front man for the Browns. Owner Randy Lerner and new president and CEO John Collins have total confidence in him.

Policy's ability to smooth over the rough edges was the perfect complement to Davis' brusque manner. Had Policy remained, however, Davis still would have had final veto power.

That said, I don't understand why the more power Davis acquired, the less he felt in control.

On second thought, maybe it's better this way.

Cleveland came under fire after last year's 5-11 record. Actually, the Browns will remain under scrutiny under further notice.

The Browns, due to their expansion status, went virtually blameless their first couple of years back in the league.

But here it is, Cleveland's sixth year back, Davis' fourth, and Browns fans are starting to lose patience.

It shouldn't take long to figure out where the Browns are headed in 2004.

Take a look at their schedule and examine the first seven games before the Browns' bye week.

Baltimore, at Dallas, at the Giants, Washington, at Pittsburgh, Cincinnati and Philadelphia.

All seven games are winnable. The most difficult matchup could be the opener against the Ravens, which is followed by road games against Dallas and the Giants.

The Browns should beat Washington and Cincinnati at home. Pittsburgh on the road and Philadelphia at home are anything but sure things.

What the Browns need to do is win three of their first four home games and win at least one of their first three road games.

With a 4-3 record at the bye week, Davis and the Browns should be in good shape.

If things work out, and Cleveland returns to the playoffs for the second time in three years under Davis, he'll be a hero and a genius rolled into one.

If the opposite occurs and the Browns continue to go their separate ways at the first sign of trouble, Davis will hear the howls of discontent.

For the first time, the critics can say accurately that Davis is fully responsible for the Browns' success or failure. It's all on his shoulders.

Davis can finally stand on his own two feet.

That's the way he wants it. And that's how it should be.



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