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Published: Wednesday, 8/19/2009

Browns' Edwards catches grief

ASSOCIATED PRESS

BEREA, Ohio One game, one big drop. Braylon Edwards is back at it.

Cleveland s talented wide receiver, who can dazzle and disappoint in equal helpings, dropped a touchdown pass on the first ball thrown to him in Saturday s 17-0 preseason loss to the Green Bay Packers.

Late in the first half, Edwards got free in the end zone and was in perfect position to score but let a perfectly thrown pass from quarterback Brady Quinn bounce away. The drop became magnified when Quinn, battling Derek Anderson for the starting job, threw an interception on a pass intended for Edwards on the next play.

It s just part of football, Edwards said yesterday.

And it s just the preseason, but unfortunately for the Browns, it s also more of the same from Edwards, who led the NFL with 16 dropped passes last season.

He has had an interminable case of the drops since his college days at Michigan. From one play to the next it s hard to know which Edwards will show up the one who takes your breath away with a spectacular, leaping, one-handed grab or the one who lets a 5-yard toss slide through his fingers.

In Cleveland s offense, which has failed to score a touchdown in seven straight games dating to last season, Edwards is a key weapon not a once-every-other-play receiver, but the go-to guy.

His inconsistency has been a sore spot for Browns fans since his arrival as the No. 3 overall pick in 2005. They expect more from Cleveland s top playmaker, and solid performances has prompted a backlash of sorts.

It wasn t long after his opening-night drop at Lambeau Field that the Web and local sports radio talk shows were overrun with negative comments about Edwards.

The wideout understands the fans frustrations. He feels the same way.

That [inconsistency] drives anybody crazy, he said.

Browns coach Eric Mangini suggested that Edwards spend more time after practice working on the JUGS machine, which rockets footballs to receivers faster than a quarterback ever could.

Edwards, though, said nothing can replicate live, game action.

Mangini feels Edwards can be a better pass catcher and a more precise route runner if he dedicates himself to improving.

At the conclusion of yesterday s practice, the Browns had a sequence of errors during a two-minute drill that led Mangini to rip his team for an overall lack of focus. First, Quinn threw an ugly interception, and then with Anderson under center, the Browns had a false-start penalty followed by a delay of game infraction.

That s just bad football, Mangini said.

His first training camp has been far more demanding than any of the previous four under Romeo Crennel.

Mangini was asked if it might be time to provide a fun diversion, maybe a little comic relief to break up the monotony.

They can watch practice and get comic relief, Mangini said.



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