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Todd Porter: Browns can’t find a way to be consistently good

Todd Porter

The bad D.A. reared his ugly head and game less than a week after the good D.A. lit up “Monday Night Football.” There’s the bad Browns, and the good Browns. There’s the clueless Romeo Crennel and the smart Romeo.

The Browns aren’t so much an NFL team as much as they are a psychiatrist’s research project right now. They’re the Sybil of the NFL. Like the woman in the movie, they have 16 different personalities; one for each week of the season.

“We’re getting a different team every week,” linebacker D’Qwell Jackson said. “We’re not playing together all the time at one time. It showed last Monday night when we played well together. Every week in this league you’ve got to come ready to play and bring your ‘A’ game.

“It should be a wake-up call to everybody, man. We can’t lax for a second. We seemed not to come out with the sense of urgency like we needed to.”

How can Cleveland look so good against the Giants and so awful at Washington? How can a team with a Pro Bowl quarterback, wide receiver and tight end not find a way to be consistent?

“Well, I’m trying to figure that out myself,” Crennel said. “If I knew that, I’d probably be a better coach, and we’d be consistent all the time.”

Probably be a better coach?

Isn’t that sort of what a coach’s job is? Isn’t that right there in bold print when those jobs are advertised in the classified section? Find a way to make your team consistent. That’s it. That IS the job.

The Good Browns almost bailed out the Bad Browns at FedEx Field Sunday evening. Would Cleveland have deserved to some how steal a win from the Redskins?

No.

What the Browns did in the fourth quarter against Washington was like putting makeup on an ugly prom date. If Phil Dawson’s game-tying field goal attempt -- seemingly from the Capitol -- would have found its way through the uprights and Cleveland skipped town with a win, it would’ve masked the problems.

They mismanaged time at the end of the game. They dropped passes (Braylon Edwards owned up to his mistakes). The quarterback and the fullback argued before calling a timeout. Kellen Winslow Jr. was back on the field and the offense was out of sync. A winning performance by the defense was wasted.

Anyone else seeing a pattern here?

All the Browns did in losing to Washington 14-11 was undo all the good the Monday night win did for the team. Now they’re three games behind Pittsburgh, the AFC North leader. Now they’re back to where they were before lighting up the scoreboard and the Giants a week ago.

They’re back to looking over their shoulder for a new quarterback, if not a new coach.

Did you make it to halftime without falling asleep? Neither team scored in what looked like a battle of ineptness.

“It was like an old school fist fight,” left tackle Joe Thomas said.

Maybe, except in a fist fight, punches occasionally land. Cleveland and

Washington swung at air for an entire half.

The Browns are back to looking like a rag-tag operation who’d find a way to make a game of it against Burt Reynolds’ prison team.

Speaking of the longest yard, Cleveland’s offensive line couldn’t get that, either, when the game was on the line.

“We’ve got to come out with the same fire every week,” veteran offensive lineman Eric Steinbach said.

Steinbach is right, but this is the same stuff coming from different players. Mature teams don’t have to flip a switch and turn “it” on because a game is played on “Monday Night Football.” A real team, the good ones, play almost every week like it’s “Monday Night Football.”

“When the game was on the line, we picked it up,” Jackson said.

The game is on the line all the time.

Sure, the Browns did enough to almost steal a win. They didn’t deserve to win.

They deserved what they’ve got ... an impossible journey to make the postseason in a year when that was the goal.

It’s not even halfway through the year, and already Cleveland has shown it’s everything, and nothing ... sometimes in the same week. The Browns are the good, the bad and usually the ugly.

Reach Repository sports writer Todd Porter at (330) 580-8340 or e-mail todd.porter@cantonrep.com