BEREA - Browns coach Romeo Crennel typically sees a glass as half-full, rather than half-empty.
On Monday, however, he adopted a different attitude when discussing Cleveland`s 27-21 loss to the Arizona Cardinals one day earlier.
"If you chose to, you could look at some of the positives, but I choose to look at all the other plays that we screwed up,`` Crennel said. "We lost a game that we didn`t play well enough to win.``
The main reasons for Crennel`s unhappiness were found in two areas: penalties and turnovers.
The Browns were flagged 10 times for 77 yards - many coming at critical times - and had two interceptions and a lost fumble in their first four drives.
While quarterback Derek Anderson was responsible for all three of the aforementioned turnovers, the plethora of penalties was truly a team effort.
Among the lowlights: Leigh Bodden kicking the football after an incompletion, Anderson intentionally grounding his first pass of the day, Brodney Pool committing a late hit and Simon Fraser head-butting an opponent on a kickoff return.
"A lot of times, this team has found a way to overcome them,`` guard Eric Steinbach said of the numerous flags. "But eventually, they`re going to bite you in the (expletive).``
And bite they did in Arizona, costing Cleveland a game that could have propelled it into great position in the playoff race. Instead, the only place the Browns moved was into the top three in the NFL in both season penalties (95) and penalty yardage (716).
The Cardinals (108 penalties for 875 yards) and Packers (95 and 852) join Cleveland in the upper echelon of those dubious categories. The league averages are 71 and 555.
"We had far too many penalties and just didn`t play smart football yesterday,`` Crennel lamented. "Things like that are disappointing because, as a coach, you know if you play smart football, it gives you a chance to win.
"It makes you think that you didn`t do a good job coaching. Based on the way we played, I could have done a much better job.``
Crennel, though, didn`t kick the ball after a play in the first quarter or use his helmet as a weapon in the final two minutes of the fourth.
Those mistakes were all on Bodden and Fraser, respectively.
"We talk rules a lot,`` the coach said. "The officials are here in training camp (for a week), we make a rules presentation to the players and the league sends videos over the course of the season.``
When Crennel was told Bodden said he didn`t know kicking a dead ball was a penalty, his frustration became even more obvious.
"If he didn`t know that kicking the ball wasn`t a penalty, then why don`t a lot of people kick balls?`` he asked. "You can`t kick the ball - unless you`re a kicker. If he didn`t know, then I did a poor job.``
Rest assured, if Crennel has anything to do with it, there will be no repeat incidents the rest of the season.
The Browns will spend part of this week going over fundamentals and the need to show self-restraint during games. Based on their performance Sunday, it figures to be time well spent.
"We need to emphasize the ramifications of the choices they make on the field,`` Crennel said. "In my estimation, those were the critical things in the game.
"If we eliminate them, then we could have won the game. And that could have helped us as the season progresses.``
Contact Brian Dulik at email@example.com.