|For release Sunday, Nov. 23|
|Written by Admin|
|Thursday, 20 November 2008 16:30|
Travel weary Texans aiming to stop road skid
By TOM WITHERS
AP Sports Writer
CLEVELAND (AP) -Not to be rude, but Browns coach Romeo Crennel wouldn't mind seeing Cleveland in all its winter splendor by the time the Houston Texans get to town.
Those knock-you-off-your-feet wind gusts off Lake Erie, the sideways sleet, the bone-chilling Arctic temperatures, and of course, the lake effect snow - inches upon glorious inches of it.
Bring it on, Crennel said.
``I don't know that they've seen much snow from where they're coming from,'' Crennel said.
There's something else these Texans haven't seen in a while - a road victory.
Winless in five games outside the Lone Star State this season, Houston hasn't won away from home in its last eight road games since beating the Oakland Raiders on Nov. 2, 2007.
n't seem to matter. The Texans (3-7) don't travel well.
``It's been over a year,'' tight end Owen Daniel said. ``So, I think we're due. We're due for one.''
On the flip side, the Browns (4-6) are trying to solve a peculiar bout of home sickness. In a recent five-day span, Cleveland dropped a pair of home games it should have won. Despite holding double-digit leads in the second half, the Browns collapsed and lost first to Baltimore and then to Denver - defeats that triggered a quarterback change and accusations by Browns running back Jamal Lewis that some of his teammates quit.
The Browns bounced back on Monday night, holding on for a 29-27 win at frostbitten Buffalo. Now Cleveland has some home improvements it must make quickly.
Last season, the Browns went a franchise-best 7-1 at home. This year, they're just 1-4 with their only win a stunning 35-14 rout of the New York Giants.
What's the deal?
``It's really about execution,'' center Hank Fraley said. ``We always want to win at home. We just haven't gotten it done this year. It's a shame because it's always fun winning at home because your fans are into it. We just haven't executed well and have to change that around starting this Sunday.
inishing those games.''
Not finishing isn't the only thing going on with the Browns, who have been one of the league's biggest disappointments following a 10-win season and seem to be a never-ending soap opera of turmoil.
During the first half at Buffalo, quarterback Brady Quinn broke his right index finger when he banged it on defender Marcus Stroud. Quinn stayed in the game, and he expects to play against the Texans, who almost certainly will blitz him as much as the Bills did. Buffalo was able to time Quinn's snap count and brought pressure up the middle.
Quinn doesn't plan to wear any protection on his finger, but there might as well by a bulls-eye on it.
The Browns are hurting all over. Tight end Kellen Winslow (sprained shoulder), nose tackle Shaun Rogers (neck and shoulder), running back Jerome Harrison (pulled hamstring), safety Sean Jones (sprained ankle), running back Jason Wright (neck) and defensive tackle Shaun Smith (calf) all missed practice time this week.
The Texans, who have lost three straight, aren't counting on Cleveland's injuries to get them a coveted road win. They need to effectively run the ball the way they did last week in a 33-27 loss at Indianapolis. Rookie running back Steve Slaton picked up 156 yards on 14 carries, an eye-popping 11.1 yard per attempt.
snow, the team that moves the ball best on the ground could come away with a win.
Running back Ahman Green, who spent seven seasons in Green Bay, has been prepping some of his warm-blooded teammates on what to expect.
``I haven't played in Cleveland cold, but I've played in cold weather,'' he said, ``so, it won't bother me. I'm trying to let the guys know here it's more of a mental thing than anything because once you're on the field playing around you get warmed up. You aren't going to feel how cold or warm it is. The weather factor, unless it's just an ungodly record 54-below-zero or something, I don't think we're going to have that.''
Starting Sunday, the Texans only have three more chances to end their road woes. Stopping the slide comes down to a few basic principles, coach Gary Kubiak said.
``It's confidence. You've got to play with the same confidence on the road as you do at home,'' he said. ``Being a good running football team and a good defensive football team is usually a deadly combination on the road. When you look at teams like the Giants last year, those types of teams are consistent on the road.''
Since entering the league in 2002, Houston is only 11-42 on the road - a skid mark they'd like to straighten out.
's not a good record to have. It's not a good stat to posses. We've got to find a way to get a road win. It's as simple as that.''