Tag:Eric Wright
Posted on: October 11, 2009 11:31 pm
Edited on: October 11, 2009 11:52 pm
 

Week 5: The Drought Has Ended


The Cleveland Browns have finally won a football game.

Sure it's been 327 days, 17 hours, 27 minutes, and 46 seconds since their last win, but a few lucky bounces sent the Browns home as winners for the first time in a long time.

And I'm not happy.

Why you ask?

Because the Cleveland Browns' 6-3 defeat of the Buffalo Bills was the worst display of offensive football I have ever seen.


To their credit, there were several factors that worked against the Browns and may have contributed to their horrendous performance today.

Swirling Buffalo winds were severe enough to impact the gameplan.

Cleveland started two rookie wide receivers who have one game of NFL experience between them.

Good teams find a way to win the ugly ones, and at least for today, the Cleveland Browns had the look of a good football team.

Eric Mangini and the Browns should celebrate this one, but not for too long.

A tough task awaits them next week as they travel to Pittsburgh to take on the Steelers.



Ten from the Gentledawg


10. Buffalo handed the Browns their first win.


Let's get this out of the way now, the Buffalo Bills lost this game and the Cleveland Browns didn't win it. As inept as Cleveland's offense was, it took an equally inept effort by Trent Edwards and company to keep this game in reach. Buffalo couldn't run it. They couldn't throw it. Very few things went well for both teams and neither team deserved a win here. The most telling play of the game came on a muffed Zastudil punt by alleged special teams ace Roscoe Parrish. Blake Costanzo recovered the ball at the Buffalo 16 only to see his team drive a whole 11 yards and settle for the game-winning field goal. Yikes.

9. Brad Seely may not coach in Cleveland for very long.


Special teams and assistant head coach Brad Seely will be among the few candidates considered for a head coaching position in 2010. I can't say enough for what Seely has done with the Cleveland Browns' special teams unit. Although most of the credit goes to the players for executing, Seely has done an outstanding job of putting his players in the best position to succeed. Behind every blocked kick, long return, and covered kick is a scheme, and behind every scheme is Brad Seely. Seely has been around a few outstanding head coaches in his career, and I would not be surprised if he became one himself in the not-too distant future.

 

8. Dave Zastudil continues to impress.


In what is becoming a weekly tradition, Dave Zastudil is quietly establishing himself among the great punters in the AFC.  The Browns were unable to muster much of anything offensively. Zastudil's tremendous individual effort was a big reason the Browns were able to stay in the game and walk away with a win. I never thought a punter could single-handedly will a football team to victory, but that certainly seemed to be the case today.

7. Kamerion Wimbley has arrived.


Fans and media-types alike criticized Wimbley early on in his career, and Wimbley has responded to the challenge. Wimbley tackled Trent Edwards in the second quarter to record his fourth sack of the season. He is currently on pace to finish the year with 16. Despite the increase in production, nothing has changed in Kamerion Wimbley's game. He is still the freakishly strong athlete who overwhelms linemen with his speed and quickness. The difference lies is Rob Ryan's defensive schemes. Ryan's aggresive playcalling and unique blitz combinations have made all the difference in the world for Wimbley.

6. Jamal Lewis is back.


When the passing game struggles, the burden falls on the running game to get the job done. Jamal Lewis carried the football like it was 1999 and finished with 117 yards on 31 carries. The most impressive aspect of Lewis' game was his ability to generate yards after contact. Lewis kept those powerful legs churning and carried Buffalo defenders with him in his most impressive effort in years. The offensive line, tight ends, and fullback continued their excellent stretch of run blocking, and Lewis was able to take advantage.

5. The right side of the offensive line played well.


The right side of the offensive line was one of the bigger issues surrounding the Browns, and it seems that issue has been solved. Both Hank Fraley and Floyd Womack worked at right guard today, and both men combined to produce quite the performance. I was particularly impressed with Hank Fraley. Brian Daboll uses a trap-based running game where guards and tight ends are asked to do quite a bit of pulling. Fraley and the group did a nice job blocking up front, and Jamal Lewis found running room - even against 8-man fronts.

4. Brian Daboll's playcalling showed no faith in Derek Anderson.


Eric Mangini hinted that the Browns' ground-based strategy was based on the Buffalo weather, but I happen to believe otherwise. Daboll dialed up run after run, and only called pass plays in passing situations. Brian Daboll and Eric Mangini speak of maintaining a "schedule" in relation to down and distances. They believe that by gaining 3-4 yards per down is the optimum way to move the football. If Brian Daboll doesn't trust Derek Anderson and the passing game to pick up yardage early on first and second down, this football team will struggle for the rest of the year.

3. Steve Heiden should switch roles with Robert Royal.


Robert Royal dropped three passes today which came in critical situations down the field. For whatever reason, it is clear Royal is not comfortable catching the ball with his hands. In an offense which stresses balance and demands receiving ability from the tight end position, Eric Mangini would be best served to play Steve Heiden as the primary tight end. Royal is an excellent blocker but he has proven himself a liability in the passing game. Steve Heiden has worked with Derek Anderson for five years, and that chemistry could give Cleveland what they've been lacking from that position.

2. Brian Robiskie and Mohamed Massaquoi are rookies.


For those who wondered why Robiskie and Massaquoi were not involved in the passing game early this season, you received your answer today. While both rookies have shown promise and potential, it was clear that they still need work in their development as professional players. Massaquoi is far from a polished receiver. In addition to several dropped passes, Massaquoi misread coverage on several accounts - one of which resulted in a Derek Anderson interception. It takes years of experience to understand the nuainces of offensive football, and these two clearly have a long way to go.

1. Don't throw on Eric Wright.


I think it's fair to say Eric Wright has established himself as one of the great cornerbacks in the league. Wright is a buding star. Coming out of college, Wright was said to possess first round talent. His stock fell due to concerns about his character, but the talent was always there. Wright has been able to stay out of trouble, and he has turned out to be everything the Browns could have hoped for and more. Wright did a good job blanketing Terrell Owens. His play was a big reason Owens was limited to 44 yards on four receptions. If Wright continues to perform at this level, he'll be high-stepping all the way to the Pro Bowl.


To the victor goes the spoils...

The Browns won today which means I get to hand out the first game ball of the regular season.



Congratulations, Dave Zastudil . He is without a doubt the player of the game.










Posted on: September 20, 2009 10:20 pm
Edited on: September 20, 2009 10:47 pm
 

Week 2: Brown and Out

It wasn't quite 1987, but boy did this one sting. The names on the backs of the jerseys have changed. The head coaches and owners have changed. The venue, records, and fanbases for both teams have changed dramatically over the years.

Even with all of these differences, time has shown that the more things change, the more they stay the same.

The Cleveland Browns lost once again to their bitter rivals out west, as the Denver Broncos trounced them, 27-6.

On the day Shannon Sharpe was inducted to the Denver Broncos' Ring of Honor, you had to wonder - how many active Cleveland Browns have a shot at achieving such a distinguished accomplishment? I could make a strong argument for Joe Thomas and D'Qwell Jackson, but that's about it.

Looking back on this game, I saw some things that I liked and others that made me cringe. Defensively, the Browns played well when they stayed fresh. Orton and the rest of the Broncos' offense were held in check for the majority of the first half. Kamerion Wimbley, Kenyon Coleman, and Eric Barton lead the charge against the run, and the cornerback tandem of Eric Wright and Brandon McDonald stiffled Denvers' highly skilled tandem of wide receivers.

On the offensive side of the ball, the Browns simply were not good enough to compete. Once again, the combination of Brady Quinn and Brian Daboll struggled to sustain drives and manufacture touchdowns. Quinn and the offense finished the day converting 3 of 14 attempts on 3rd down.

That is unacceptable.

It doesn't get any easier from here, as the Browns square off against the vaunted Ravens' defense next Sunday in Baltimore. It might take a miracle to avoid falling to 0-3 next week, but this is the NFL, and anything can happen.




Ten from the Gentledawg


10. Teams are beginning to respect Eric Wright.


We saw the beginnings of this last week, and this week the trend continues. Brandon Marshall and Eddie Royal were held to a combined 6 receptions for 54 yards, and Eric Wright played a large role in accounting for such limited production. Wright was faced with a tough assignment, and I thought he handled himself well. Kyle Orton and the Broncos threw at Hank Poteat and Brandon McDonald for the majority of the second half. That's not a knock on those guys. It's a testiment to Eric Wright.

9. This is an Eric Mangini defense.


Dating back to his days in New York, Eric Mangini-coached defenses have always been extreme. Mangini is notorious for either sending the house on blitzes or dropping nearly everyone into coverage. Today featured more of the same, but on a much smaller scale. There were several occasions where Rob Ryan and Eric Mangini dropped nine defenders into zone coverage. Nine defenders! To their credit this worked on occasion, but good quarterbacks usually find a way to convert when afforded with that much time.

8. This game could have been ugly.


If you take away Phil Dawson's 47-yard field goal and add in Denvers' two short misses, the final score is 3-33. The Cleveland Browns should consider themselves fortunate that this game ended the way it did, because this easily could have been a blowout. Josh Mcdaniels settled for field goals in situations where his offense could have easily scored touchdowns. When you have an offense incapable of stretching the field, these things will happen.

7. Alex Mack is a rookie center.


For all the talk of Mack's intelligence and strength, he proved that there is a learning curve for even the most talented of rookies. Like the spear which grazed Xerxes in the movie 300 , we found out the seemingly immaculate Mack is still mortal. There is plenty of time for Alex Mack to develop into the dominant center so many expect him to be, but it is evident that change will not occurr overnight.

6. The Browns running game is a product of their offensive line.


Cleveland's rushing attack is directly related to the offensive lineman and the job they do up front. Any success Jamal Lewis or Jerome Harrison enjoyed this year came through holes even the slowest of backs could run through. Lawrence Vickers and Robert Royal have done an excellent job in the running game, and that doesn't show up on the stat board. Jamal Lewis gave me no reason to believe he still has 'it,' and Harrison wasn't much better.

5. Josh Cribbs is still a work in progress.


There is no denying Josh Cribbs is one of the best return specialists in the league. There's also no denying Cribbs has a long way to go in his development as a wide receiver. For the Cleveland Browns to have any sort of success in the passing game, Josh must continue to take strides in his maturation into the offense. Cribbs' route running today left a lot to be desired. He fumbled while trying to create after the catch and struggled to cleanly release on the line of scrimmage. He is clearly still finding his way around this offense.

4. Hank Poteat is not a very good player.


Heading into the regular season, I declared the play of our nickle cornerback will go a long way in determining the strength of our defense. If today was any indication, the Browns have much to be concerned with for the next 14 games. Poteat showed flashes of good play, but was largely ineffective against Denvers'  3-wide sets. Poteat was consistently beaten by Brandon Stokley in man coverage all throughout the game. Unless this issue is addressed, teams will continue to spead the Browns out and pick them apart.

3. Rob Ryan knows how to create pressure.


In his introductory press conference, Rob Ryan described his defense as "an attacking unit." Despite the lack of quarterback sacks, Ryan's unit harrassed Kyle Orton all day. Ryan used stunts and overloards to create confusion among Denvers' offensive linemen, and that was one of the reasons the Browns were able to hang in there early. Ryan's scheme featured a heavy dose of cover 1 and cover 0 - where safeties doubled as linebackers and corners played man on the outside.

2. Eric Barton is one of the smartest players on this team.


One of the most plesant surprises this season has been the play of Eric Barton. Barton played a well-rounded game today. He was able to effectively stop the run, rush the passer, and drop into coverage. Barton seemed to set the tone for the defense, and it became clear why Mangini wanted him to help lead this defense.

1. Brady Quinn has officially been solved.


I alluded to this last week, and it became obvious today: there is a blueprint for stopping Brady Quinn. Teams have figured out that Quinn is reluctant to go down the field in the passing game. Denver has accounted for this by creeping the safeties into the box and daring Quinn to throw the ball down field. It's no coincidence Robert Royal finished the game with one reception for 13 yards. The Broncos pressured Brady Quinn and dared him to take shots down field. In a copycat league, other teams will do the same and likely experience a similar degree of success.


Posted on: October 14, 2008 1:59 am
Edited on: October 14, 2008 2:44 am
 

Week 6: Cinderella 2: Act 2, Scene i

Cinderella 2: The 2008 Cleveland Browns' Story
by: Romeo Crennel and the Dawgs

Characters

Derek Anderson as "The Quarterback"
Braylon Edwards as "The Playmaker"
Jamal Lewis as himself
Eric Wright as "Deion Sanders"
Shaun Rogers as "The Refrigerator with a Motor"
Ryan Tucker as "Guess Who's Back?"
Cleveland Browns Fans as "The Dawgs"

Eli Manning as "The Goat"
Brandon Jacobs as "Tip-toe McTalksalot"
Aaron Ross as "Oh wait, there was a game today?"
Plaxico Burress as "Four Receptions"
(Justin Tuck was not available for this scene)

Setting
This scene takes place on a nationally televised ESPN telecast on Monday night. To help set the scene, take every national media writer and analyst available and praise the Giants as the greatest football team ever. CBS writer Mike Freeman contributes with a column on the Giants as the next football dynasty. Pete Prisco contributes by ranking the Browns 25th overall in the NFL power rankings. Add every nay-saying, trash talking Giants fan to the mix and the setting is perfect.

The action takes place on October 13th, 2008 at 8:30pm on Monday night. 52 degrees. Cloudy. Fair.

Script

Anderson: Hail Browns fans, I beseech thee! Lend me your hearts, trust, and adoration! The past has looked grim, but today is a new day!

Dawgs: No good sir! Your passing has been poor and your interceptions aplenty. Your passer rating stands at 49.9!

(pause)

Dawgs: Plus, our hearts are with your fairest understudy. We must boo until we see the one from Notre Dame.

Anderson: Truly you jest! Very well. I shall demonstrate I am just as good as Brady Quinn. Perhaps I'll even prove Sircheeks correct in supporting me through good and bad...

(curtain falls)


The Cleveland Browns came out in front of the National Football League and proved to the world and themselves exactly how good a football team they can be. They dominated the heavily favored Giants both offensively and defensively from the first play of the game. Everyone from the stars to the supporting cast stepped up and contributed to arguably the most complete victory in the past few years.

The Good
  • The Defense: There is so much to say about this team effort, but it all starts with the job Defensive Coordinator Mel Tucker did scheming against the number one offense in the NFL. As we've seen with the Miami Dolphins, when a team's back is against the wall and they are facing a seemingly invincible opponent - that is the proper time to dig deep into the playbook and turn the entire unit loose. Tucker frequently dialed up corner blitzes which for the most part kept the Giants contained and mitigated the damage from their explosive offensive unit. In addition, there was a UFO (unidentified flying to the offense) sighting. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!
  • Pass Protection: For the past two weeks, I've been harping on Ryan Tucker's importance to the offensive line and we saw why on Monday night. Tucker and the guys did an outstanding job of picking up the blitzes and keeping Derek Anderson upright all game. That was beyond impressive. To give up zero sacks to the team tied with the third most sacks in the NFL is an amazing feat.
  • Rob Chudzinski: Where do I begin? The play-calling, the game plan, the faith in Anderson, the trust in Steve Heiden, and the commitment to Jamal Lewis were just brilliant. The Browns looked great all game - picking up first downs, staying in manageable downs and distances, and driving up and down the field thanks to a well-balanced offense and a superb understanding of New York's defense. Chud also managed to sneak the "Flash" package in there on the reverse to Harrison and the Cribbs direct run. I'm a sucker for offensive creativity and Chud stole my heart on Monday night.
  • Derek Anderson: He played one heck of a football game. Anderson started off rocky, but finished as the quarterback many of us expected to see the entire season. Derek made all the throws you'd like to see out of a quarterback. He showed great accuracy on the short routes, great touch on the deep balls, and put a little extra on throws in tight windows. Derek also did a fine job of showing discretion: taking shots down the field only when the coverage dictated he could do so. This was easily the best game I've seen from DA to this point.
  • Braylon Edwards: Big time players make big time plays. Braylon showed why he should still be considered one of the top 5 wide receivers in the game. Aside from the one drop, Edwards played a flawless game and provided leadership at a time when the Browns sorely needed that type of performance. I was also pleased to see Edwards represent himself and his family so well in his post game interviews. Braylon is a model citizen and one of the classiest guys in the NFL. I was proud to call him our star.
  • Game Management: Finally! We haven't arrived where we need to be just yet, but Romeo finally managed a good game. There were still a few silly timeouts, but they didn't end up costing us and in the end that's all that matters. I love that decision to go for two after Eric Wright's interception. A 21 point lead is much better than a 20, and Romeo made the correct decision in that situation.
The Bad
  • Special Teams: In a game where there were only a couple glaring holes, the Cleveland Browns' special teams were not so special. The New York Giants started out with great field position on nearly every drive. Part of that was due to Ahmad Bradshaw and the other part fell on special teams' Coach Ted Daisher. I look for that to improve next week against Washington.
  • Minutes Before the Half: They say good teams have the ability to come away with points at the end of the half. Well, good teams also have the ability to stop teams from scoring at the half as well. The Browns allowed the Giants to drive 80 yards down the field and score a touchdown right before the end of the first half to make it a game. This is another thing I'd like to see improve in the next weeks.
The Ugly
  • Illegal formation - Ryan Tucker
  • False start - Eric Steinbach
  • False start - Rex Hadnot
  • Illegal shift - Steve Heiden
  • False start - Rex hadnot
  • Holding - Willie McGinest
  • Illegal contact - Mike Adams
  • False start - Laurence Vickers
  • False start - Braylon Edwards
  • Holding - Steve Heiden
  • Delay of game - Derek Anderson
  • False start - Hank Fraley
One game is a fluke...two games are a trend...and more than three makes it a reality. The Browns need to take a page from momluvsfootball and quit this unhealthy habit cold turkey. I don't want to see any more offensive linemen sneaking in a few false starts just to "get their fix." No more illegal formations! Please!

We cannot continue to make those kind of mistakes in the game because we might not be so fortunate to convert next time. Braylon Edwards put it best on ESPN when he said the Browns won't be able to win football games if things like this continue. I hope the offensive linemen don't think this win justifies their sloppy play. Such poor discipline takes away from the outstanding job their unit did in a winning effort.



(the curtain rises as the Cleveland Browns reappear on stage to a thunderous ovation from fans and gentledawgs)

Dawgs: Bravo! Excellent! Go Browns!

Now, the Cinderella story continues to Week 7 of the National Football League where our protagonists encounter another colossal test in the form of the Washington Redskins. Can the Browns overcome short rest in time to face another terrifying foe? Will the Browns be able to win three straight games for the first time this season? And where in the world did Justin Tuck go?

All of these questions and more will be answered in the next scene of Cinderella 2: The 2008 Cleveland Browns Story
.
Posted on: September 6, 2008 6:48 pm
 

Week 1: Top Five Players To Watch

Sircheeks presents: Top 5 Players to Watch in Week 1


Number 5...

Dallas Cowboys
SS Roy Williams

Roy Williams has a tough assignment tomorrow. Williams will be responsible for protecting against the Browns' vertical passing game as well as making sure Kellen Winslow, Braylon Edwards, Donte Stallworth, and the Browns' receiving corps don't get too comfortable with crossing and drag routes over the middle. Williams is a hard-hitting strong safety - so the latter won't be too much of a problem. The secondary will most assuredly be tested early and often with the deep ball, so Williams can't be too aggressive by jumping routes and cheating on the run.


Number 4...

Cleveland Browns
RG Rex Hadnot

We all know exactly how tough the left side of the Browns' offensive line is. The key to the running game and pass protection will be how journeyman right guard Rex Hadnot holds up against the exotic looks and blitzes that 2nd year defensive coordinator Brian Stewart brings. Being able to run the ball to both sides of the line is crucial to a balanced attack, and the Browns will need to rely on Hadnot and Shaffer to power block for Jamal Lewis.


Number 3...

Dallas Cowboys
QB Tony Romo

Can he repeat the overnight success from 2007? If so, then the Browns will be in for a long evening. Romo needs to continue to make good decisions with the football and avoid turnovers. The Browns' defense seems vastly improved from last year, and Romo can't become sloppy or overconfident in matchups that he normally wins. Cleveland will do everything in their power to rattle the celebrity quarterback - so Tony needs to stay calm and execute whatever gameplan the Cowboys put together.


Number 2...

Cleveland Browns
NT Shaun Rogers

Marion Barber and the Cowboys will provide the new Cleveland defensive front with an immediate challenge. Last year, the Browns ranked in the bottom 10 in virtually all run defensive categories among NFL teams. With run defense it starts in the trenches - more specifically in the middle. If Rogers and co. can be stout up the middle - particularly on 3rd down and in goal line situations - the Browns will have a good chance to win the game. Rogers and the Browns need to win the battle at the line of scrimmage.


Number 1.

Cleveland Browns
CB Eric Wright

This is the matchup that everybody is looking for - the Cleveland defensive backs against the talented Dallas passing game. Future Hall of Famer Terrell Owens highlights a dynamic aerial assault, and it will be up to Wright, Brandon McDonald, and Travis Daniels to neutralize that aspect of the offense. Eric has the speed and leaping ability to match up with Owens, but he severely lacks in experience and route-running technique. Wright's play will have a great impact on how successful the Browns will be tomorrow - and may ultimately decide the outcome of the game.
Posted on: August 25, 2008 2:50 pm
 

Stopping the Run

I can see this coming from a mile away. As a Browns fan, I understand the importance of a dominate defensive in Romeo's 3-4 defensive scheme. However, as a football realist, I can see this defense being horrendous because of one thing and one thing alone.

The Browns will not be able to stop the pass.

Any competent offensive coordinator will have no trouble scheming against the '08 Browns. The running game not working? Fine. All you have to do is spread the defense out using 3 or 4 wide receiver sets, and you can pick this inexperienced secondary apart.

Not only do we lack depth at corner, but we also lack a true cover man. Guys like Chad Johnson, Hines Ward, Randy Moss, T.O., and Reggie Wayne will easily shake the shoes off our inexperienced cornerbacks. In Cleveland, the double move will be feared more than Jay-Z at a Cavs game.

Our safeties are as young, talented, and athletic as any in the NFL. Sean Jones and Brodney Pool may guarantee that we don't get beat deep, but at the end of the day, it takes good corners to stop receiving threats. Coordinators in the NFL are known to pick on a guy. Like a predator pouncing on an injured antelope - players with poor cover skills are akin to fresh meat in today's game. If he's struggling with the deep ball, then you bet they're going to go up top. If he struggles with press coverage, then you can be assured that underneath routes will be the call of the day. You just can't hide poor play at that position.

Finally, with our offense appearing to be dynamic as ever - we will score points in bunches this year. What happens when Derek and company come out of the gate with two quick scores? Do you think coaches are going to try grinding it up the middle? My guess would be teams will take it to the air - and by the looks of things they'll do it with a great deal of success.

The passing game seems to be the evolution of today's pro offense. This is a copycat league. With the gaudy numbers amassed by the Patriots in 2007, I'd be more than willing to bet that the spread offense will see greater use now more than ever. The Pats of last year have proven that the old cliche of running the ball and stopping the run has become a thing of the past.

This spells bad news for the Browns. If Eric Wright, Brandon McDonald, and the rest of the secondary play to their expectations, then the sky is the limit for this team. Sadly, I don't see that happening, which will translate into another disappointing season for the Cleveland Browns and their fans.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com