BEREA (92.3 The Fan) – Browns running back Isaiah Crowell can’t stop thinking about his contract situation.
Or the amount of carries he’s getting – or in this case, not getting – on Sunday afternoons.
Crowell, who wants a long-term contract with the Browns but had to sign a $2.7 million second-round tender in the offseason, can be a free agent next March and his current situation is at the forefront of his thoughts.
“During the game, after the game, before the game,” Crowell said. “Right now, all the time.”
Through 2 games, Crowell has 70 yards on 27 carries and he is waiting for an opportunity to finally get into a rhythm on gameday.
“I don’t feel that I’ve been. Not this season, but I hope it comes,” Crowell said.
Browns head coach Hue Jackson has said multiple times this year that he is committed to running the ball but the scoreboard and game situations as a result of penalties or loss of yardage on previous plays have altered his plans in the first 2 weeks.
“I feel like I’m a great player and I’ve got a lot of confidence in myself,” Crowell said. “I feel like I can help my team be successful but I just control what I can control.”
Jackson was asked about Crowell’s comments Wednesday afternoon and his response was far from subtle during what was one of his more animated press conferences since he took over as head coach.
“I don’t have a problem with anybody walking in the office and saying, ‘Coach, give me the ball,'” Jackson said. “Now, that being said, you better make the plays when you get them. There’s another responsibility that comes with that. I start handing it to you 25, 30 times, I’m looking for 160, 150 yards and a couple of long scores. That’s just how we do it.”
After the Browns spent a small fortune on their offensive line extending Joel Bitnio and then signing free agents JC Tretter and Kevin Zeitler, teams are stacking the box and daring the Browns to run into the teeth of their defense or pin their ears back in the hopes that rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer drops back to throw often and they can lay him out on the turf.
“I’m a good enough player to overcome that,” Crowell said. “I mean as long as I’m in a good situation. I feel like the more I run, the better I get. If I have 5, 6, 7 carries in the first quarter and it keep getting better as we go, I feel like I’ll pick up rhythm.”
Crowell was asked if he’s upset with the playcalling by Jackson.
“I wouldn’t say upset, but sometimes I question it,” Crowell responded. “Everybody has their own opinions. I have my own opinions. You might have your own opinions. Hue Jackson has his own opinions. I’m just a player. I don’t cross those boundaries.”
Crowell talked to Jackson this week about his carries – or lack of – but he was sure not to do it in a confrontational manner.
“We talked and he said that he wants to get me the ball and stuff like that,” Crowell said. “But we didn’t go into depth about it. I just told him I feel like I’m a big-time player and I can make plays for the team, and I kept it at that.”
With every passing play, Crowell sees dollar signs vanishing faster than the turf in front of him when he has the ball in open space.
The problem is he hasn’t found much open space through the first 2 games.
Crowell was held to 33 yards on 17 carries in a 21-18 loss to the Steelers with his longest carry going for just 6 yards. In Baltimore he totaled 37 yards, but on just 10 attempts.
Those type of numbers won’t net much cash next March, and he knows it.