I don’t think anybody gets fired after one season,” said veteran defensive lineman Shaun Smith. “Anything’s possible. He’s still coaching us, he said he ain’t going to throw in the towel, and I believe him. That’s why I like playing for him, because he’s a fighter no matter what the situation is.”
It was just about a year ago — Dec. 12 — that Crennel took over as interim head coach in place of Todd Haley. He was promoted to head coach permanently after the Chiefs went 2-1 in their final three games, including an upset of then-13-0 Green Bay in Crennel’s debut.
But the Chiefs have been a punch line for most of this season, including their epic eight-game streak of failing to lead a game in regulation and a league-high 32 turnovers.
Crennel, 65, still has two more years left on his contract, which may give him some security, though he could be forced to make changes on his coaching staff to retain the job.
With all that has happened in the last seven days, the Chiefs have showed resolve and strength and are ready to play football, thanks in part to the advice they received from head coach Romeo Crennel.
“When you go out there on that field and you cross the white line, when the ball is snapped, the opponent, they’re going to try to beat you and if you’re not mentally ready, then you’re going to get beat and you’re going to lose,” Crennel said.
When Sunday at noon rolls around, Crennel knows what to expect from a Browns team that has won its last two games.
“They’re a young team and they’ve gained some confidence in their ability to do what their coaches are asking them to do,” Crennel admitted. “And their coaches are putting them in positions that they can use their ability and their strong points and they’re playing to the strong points and trying to minimize the weaknesses and they’re doing a good job of it.”
After a long, restful slumber, the Chiefs’ passing game came alive last week against Carolina. So which Brady Quinn should we believe in? The one who missed his last 10 passes two weeks ago against Denver, or the one who completed 83 percent of his passes last week? Historically, Quinn hasn’t been an accurate passer. The Browns aren’t among the league leaders in sacks, but they’re capable of bringing pressure from many places. Sixteen different players have at least one sack.
The Kansas City Chiefs announced on Saturday that the club has released offensive lineman Hayworth Hicks and elevated wide receiver Josh Bellamy from the practice squad to the 53-man roster.
Bellamy (6-0, 206) originally joined the Chiefs as a rookie free agent on April 30, 2012. He has been serving on the club’s practice squad all season. He played in 26 games (17 starts) in two seasons at Louisville, compiling 53 catches for 681 yards (12.8 avg.) with seven touchdowns. Bellamy spent two years at Butte Community College in Oroville, Calif., prior to his arrival at Louisville. Bellamy prepped at Boca Ciega High School in Gulfport, Fla.
“You can’t go away from it. I’ll never be able to go away from it,” he said. “But in the business that we’re in, we have to try to move on and we have to try to focus on our job. And that’s the way life is.”
Last week, the Chiefs (2-10) somehow managed to pull together and beat Carolina 27-21 and end an eight-game losing streak just hours after Belcher’s death. It was an inspiring effort, commanded by Crennel, the well-respected former Browns coach who drew upon his upbringing as the son of a career military man and patient mother to get him through the trying ordeal.
The entire Chiefs team attended a service for Belcher in Kansas City earlier in the week, and some players may attend a later service in Long Island, N.Y., if their schedule permits.
But even after the burials are complete, players know they won’t be done dealing with what happened a week ago, when Belcher fatally shot Perkins in their home and then killed himself in the parking lot of the team facility. Belcher’s action left the couple’s infant daughter, Zoey, an orphan.
“This isn’t going to be just this season,” Johnson told USA TODAY Sports on Friday. “This is going to linger. He is going to be missed, and Kasi is going to be missed for a long time.”
That’s purely by coincidence, but it fits. Cleveland is where Quinn was supposed to be the star — maybe even the savior as an Ohio native and lifelong Browns fan — but it’s where he lasted just three seasons, playing a mostly forgettable role in two of them for two different coaches, then getting traded to Denver when a new general manager took over.
Browns fans know the movie. They’ve seen it too much, and not just with Quinn and Crennel in leading roles.
For Quinn on Sunday, the story isn’t in how the player for whom he was traded, Peyton Hillis, went from instant star to quickly dismissed in Cleveland and now is with the Chiefs, or that his 2009 offensive coordinator, Brian Daboll, now has the same role in Kansas City. It’s that Quinn has had big games and shown flashes of what made him a first-round pick before in his NFL career, and the next week he was back to being average — or even worse.