Posted on: January 7, 2010 3:46 am
Edited on: January 7, 2010 4:16 am
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Posted on: December 28, 2009 12:16 pm
Edited on: December 28, 2009 3:46 pm
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Posted on: October 18, 2009 11:27 pm
Edited on: October 18, 2009 11:32 pm
The Cleveland Browns lost this game.
This time, there are no excuses. No complains. The Browns ran in to a stronger football team and they came up short on their own accord.
This was as pure of a loss as I have ever seen.
Unlike in weeks past, the Browns have no one to blame but themselves. There were no questionable field goals or muffed punts. No inexperienced quarterbacks or experimental receivers. The Browns’ best 53 played their best game against Pittsburgh, and the better team won.
Offensively, the Browns were unable to develop any rhythm in the passing game. Dropped balls and inaccurate passes seemed to be the call of the day, and such mistakes will not get the job done against the tough Pittsbugh football team. The score did not allow Cleveland to successfully run the ball late, but they may have found something with Cribbs in the wildcat. He averaged well over 7 yards per attempt from the formation.
Defensively, Cleveland could not find a way to get to Ben Roethlisberger. The pass rush was non-existent at times, and any time you give that kind of a quarterback that much time, bad things will happen.
Ten From The Gentledawg
10. Brandon McDonald is the weakest link in this secondary.
I have suspected this for some time and today’s performance confirmed my suspicions: Brandon McDonald is a very beatable cornerback. He did not have a good game today. McDonald seems to have lost confidence as he gave too much cushion on several of his assignments. He did not hold containment on a few outside runs and he was consistently beaten in zone coverage. Although the Browns played a very talented group of receivers today, I would have liked to see better play from McDonald.
9. League-wide officiating is at an all-time low.
Like virtually every NFL game played this year, a few questionable calls directly impacted the final score of the game. With athletes becoming faster and stronger, the margin of victory in this league has become slim. It’s up to the referees, umpires, and line judges to make sure they make the right call and I’m not sure that was done today. Over the past three weeks, we’ve seen: a missed field goal decide the outcome of a game, a phantom roughing the passer call, and a blown call on 4th and inches.
8. Derek Anderson's lack of pocket presence is concerning.
As a quarterback, Derek Anderson has the intelligence to run the offense and the arm strength to make all the throws. The one thing Anderson lacks which prevents him from becoming an elite quarterback is pocket mobility. To put it bluntly, Anderson is about as graceful as an ostrich. When plays break down and he is forced to improvise, Derek Anderson appears lost. I’m not asking him to be Michael Vick back there, but Anderson should have the vision and awareness to manipulate the pocket and keep plays alive with his legs.
7. Eric Mangini has brought about change in Cleveland.
There have been few positives to take from the beginning of the 2009 season. One thing the Cleveland Browns can pride themselves on is their disciplined play and outstanding game management. Questionable plays are being challenged. Timeouts are saved for crucial situations. Personnel has been shuffled in and out without any delay. These things may seem insignificant, but they are the foundation for a consistent and competitive football team.
6. Brian Daboll is settling in as the Browns' offensive coordinator.
There were several elements of this week’s game plan which indicate Brian Daboll is becoming more comfortable in his role as offensive coordinator. Daboll did a great job of getting the most out of his personnel. With Rex Hadnot and Floyd Womack both healthy and active, Daboll was able to move Hank Fraley and Eric Steinbach around to create favorable running and passing situations. Defending against Pittsburgh’s complex zone blitzing scheme is no easy task, and I thought Brian Daboll at least had the right schemes in place to help do so.
5. Tight end depth is a major issue for this team.
In addition to a nagging finger injury, Robert Royal came up lame with a leg injury during the third quarter of today’s game. Steve Heiden did not play due to bad knees and Greg Estandia has been a non-factor. For the Cleveland Browns to develop rhythm and consistency in the passing game, they will need to figure out a way to gain some sort of production from this position. With Tuesday’s trade deadline rapidly approaching, Kokinis may see it fit to improve the team by adding a tight end to the roster.
4. The Browns missed Kamerion Wimbley on defense.
Kamerion WImbley has been one of the reasons Cleveland has been the driving force behind what little pressure the Browns have generated thus far, and his presence was greatly missed against the Steelers. Jason Trusnik did not impress in his debut performance on defense. He was unable to win any of the one-on-one battles with offensive lineman – an absolute must for generating pressure. Wimbley is a key piece to Rob Ryan’s defense and the Browns will need him at his best to compete.
3.The Josh Cribbs contract situation baffles me.
It is rare to find a talent like Josh Cribbs. It’s even rarer to see that talent want to stay in Cleveland. Cribbs continues to prove he is worth every penny of any restructured deal he reaches with Browns management. According to Yahoo Sports, Cribbs’ base salary for the 2009 season is $645,000. If the Browns can afford to pay backup lineman Billy Yates $1,186,720, they should find a way to restructure a new deal for arguably their best skill position player on offense.
2. Mohamed Massaquoi is the new Braylon Edwards.
Take away the selfish disposition and the Hollywood aspirations, and Mohamed Massaquoi is a carbon copy of Braylon Edwards. On the field, Massaquoi is the inconsistent big-play receiver who struggles to make simple receptions. Over the past two games, Massaquoi has unofficially dropped six catchable passes. My biggest concern with Massaquoi is his effort level when plays break down. He seems to make halfhearted attempts to come back to the ball and his route running appears lackadaisical at times. He is still a rookie, but these problems must be addressed as soon as possible.
1. The Cleveland Browns are close to playing for next year.
Another L in the loss column means the Browns are one step closer to playing for next year. If this play continues then it may be time to take an extended look at some of the young talent on this roster. Young players like Coye Francies and David Veikune may deserve playing time if only to give them playing experience for the future. Eric Mangini will continue to play veterans, but if this goes on any longer, it may be time to start looking at 2010.
Posted on: September 13, 2009 6:58 pm
Edited on: September 13, 2009 7:16 pm
After months of training camp, preseason games, and quarterback controversy, the 2009 regular season is finally here. For the Cleveland Browns, that means the start of what figures to be another roller coaster season.
Like any roller coaster, this one begins at the bottom.
The very bottom.
Miscommunication, penalties, and one inexperienced quarterback contributed to a 20-34 loss to the Minnesota Vikings.
Today’s football game featured a distinct balance between new and old.
New Browns head coach Eric Mangini began his second stint as head coach by facing an old foe – Brett Favre. Entering his 19th season in the NFL, the ageless Favre made his unprecedented 270th consecutive start behind center – an NFL record. Favre silenced his critics and played within himself for the majority of the game. Although he wasn’t perfect, Favre played well enough to escape Cleveland with a win.
Opposing Favre was newly appointed Browns starting quarterback, Brady Quinn. Heading into his 3rd season in the league, Quinn made his 5th career start…and it showed. Quinn finished the day completing 21 of 35 passes for 205 yards. He threw for a touchdown, but turned the ball over twice. As strange as it may sound, the statistics were actually the highlight of his performance.
Quinn’s conservative approach to the game seemed to match that taken by offensive coordinator, Brian Daboll. When afforded time in the pocket, Quinn rarely took any shots down field. He opted for short completions to running backs and tight ends instead of utilizing the team’s biggest weapons in Josh Cribbs and Braylon Edwards. The two receivers finished with a combined 3 receptions for 22 yards.
Contrasting the quarterbacks were two running backs at different ends of their careers.
Starting at running back for the Minnesota Vikings was the explosive Adrian Peterson. At 24, Adrian Peterson has already cemented himself as one of, if not the premier running back of the day. Peterson certainly looked the part as he carried the ball 25 times for a whopping 180 yards. Most of that running came behind the best run-blocking offensive line in football.
The most recent running back to lead the league in rushing faced off against one of the old ones. Just weeks removed from his 30th birthday, Jamal Lewis was unable to match the effort of his successor. Lewis and the Browns were able to find running room early, but it was too little too late. The game's score took the Browns out of running situations, and that proved to be the difference in the game.
The Cleveland Browns’ 2009 season began with a disappointing loss. There were, however, several things to take away from this game. They say those who do not learn from their mistakes are doomed to repeat them. In that spirit, I present the top 10 things I’ve learned from Vikings/Browns...
10. Brian Daboll will run a conservative, West Coast offense.
Whether it's the 2nd & 16 toss to Jamal Lewis or the 2nd & 15 draw to James Davis, Brian Daboll's offensive playcalling was extremely simple. Although Daboll took advantage of Josh Cribbs in the wildcat, his offense looked flat. Some of that falls on Brady Quinn's decision making, but the majority of the blame rests on Dabolls well-rounded shoulders.
9. Adrian Peterson is very, very good.
Sometimes you have to experience an event first-hand to appreciate just what you're witnessing. There is no question that Adrian Peterson is a special player, but I have gained an in-depth scope as to the depth of his talents. He possesses superior vision, balance, strength, agility, and acceleration to any runner I have ever seen. Peterson is without a doubt the best running back in the league.
8. The Browns will be competitive this season.
Heading into this game, you would be hard-pressed to find a fan or analyst that gave Cleveland a chance. The Browns limited Peterson to an astounding 25 yards on 11 carries through the first half of the football game. Minnesota actually trailed 13-10 at halftime. Had the Browns played first-half football through all four quarters, they would have walked away as winners.
7. Kamerion Wimbley has emerged as a solid outside linebacker.
Wimbley had a strong training camp and performed well throughout the preseason. It was nice to see him continue playing at a high level entering the regular season. Wimbley was a big reason Peterson was ineffective through the first half. He played a very disciplined football game - maintaining his containment while remaining active in pursuit.
6. Rob Ryan loves blitzing defensive backs.
It's a trait we saw in Oakland and something that has continued in Cleveland. Ryan pressured Brett Favre by sending defensive backs to the quarterback early and often. Abram Elam, Brodney Pool, and Brandon McDonald, were all very active around the line of scrimmage. Both safties recorded sacks today in what figures to the the first of many.
5. The Cleveland Browns have the best special teams unit in the league.
That statement is no exaggeration - the Browns possess one of the most balanced and explosive special teams units in the NFL. Dave Zastudil and the punting until were able to keep the Vikings deep for the majority of the game. Phil Dawson consistently sent kicks deep into the endzone. Josh Cribbs was explosive. That, plus outstanding kick coverage makes Cleveland one of the most dangerous teams in that element of the game.
4. Joe Thomas is an outstanding left tackle.
Jared Allen was embarrassed today. Joe Thomas neutralized the Pro Bowl defensive end in pass rush situations and manhandled him against the run. Allen finished the day with 0.5 tackles and no quarterback sacks. In his 3rd season in the league, Joe Thomas has already cemented his name among the elite tackles in the game.
3. The Browns need to work on penalties and discipline.
Cleveland finished the day with 8 penalties for 66 yards. Some of the penalties were the result of mental mistakes, but others were issues with technique. Knowing Eric Mangini, this team should have those cleaned up by next week, but it was shocking to see, to say the least.
2. Shaun Rogers is healthy...and back to form.
Any time you have a nose tackle who consistently commands double and triple teams, you have the start of a great defense. Rogers was extremely disruptive all game. He played a large role in stopping Peterson early, and he helped generate pressure on obvious passing situations. Rogers should find his way back to Hawaii at the end of the season.
1. Brady Quinn is an average quarterback.
You can't have success in the NFL without balance, and Brady Quinn is not a balanced passer. Quinn has consistently struggled with the deep ball - something that hurt him when driving during the final minutes of play. Quinn chose to attempt only high percentage passes. This strategy worked early, but it backfired late in the game. When the Browns were faced with obvious passing situations, Quinn could not deliver. For Quinn and the Browns to be successful, he'll need to get the wide receivers involved and stretch the field.
Posted on: July 6, 2009 11:23 am
When Browns head coach Eric Mangini looks at return specialist Josh Cribbs, he must experience an overwhelming sense of déjà vu.
Mangini has seen this before.
In Cribbs, the Browns have a dynamic return man capable of changing the flow of the game when the ball is in his hands. They have a versatile athlete—able to line up in multiple positions and fulfill different roles on the team. They have an unselfish athlete willing to sacrifice personal achievements for the greater good of the team.
Where has Eric Mangini seen such an athlete?
In New England.
His name was Troy Brown.
The similarities between the two players are uncanny. A standout wide receiver from Marshall, Brown was selected with the 198th selection in the 1993 NFL Draft.
After narrowly making the Patriots' roster as a return specialist, Brown took advantage of the situation and carved out a distinct role with the team. He went on to enjoy an outstanding career as one of the most prolific receivers in Patriots history.
As an undrafted free agent from the similarly small Kent State, Josh Cribbs also made the Browns' roster due to his contributions as a return specialist. His unique combination of speed and strength produced six combined return touchdowns as well as a Pro Bowl trip in 2007.
Cribbs has yet to make a significant impact on the offensive side of the ball, but all signs point to that changing in 2009.
“We’ve been using him as a receiver right now,” offensive coordinator Brian Daboll said of Cribbs.
“Right now, he’s been playing receiver. That’s where he has been slotted. As far as how we use him, that will depend each week on the game plan.”
If last season’s 19 solo special teams tackles are any indication, Cribbs' career could mimic Brown’s in another very special way.
In 2004, the New England Patriots secondary was ravished by injuries. As a last resort, the Patriots asked Brown to fill in as an emergency corner back. The versatile Brown responded—finishing the year with three interceptions, several of them coming in key playoff situations.
Ironically, the young secondary coach that aided Brown's conversion to defense was none other than current Browns head coach Eric Mangini.
When asked of Cribbs' potential contributions on the defensive side of the ball, Browns assistant head coach Brad Seely was hesitant to rule anything out.
"I'm not against anything that would help us win," he said.
"If that can help us win, then great."
Brown finished his career with the Patriots' as the all-time leader in receptions (557) and second all-time in receiving yards (6,366). The 26-year-old Cribbs has a long way to go before approaching such lofty totals, but he can take a large step toward doing so this offseason.
Braylon Edwards aside, the Browns' depth chart at wide receiver is completely open for competition.
Free agent and 13-year NFL veteran David Patten is the likely candidate to fill the position, but at 34, his speed, durability, and agility would undoubtedly come into question.
Donte Stallworth is unlikely to contribute this season and journeyman receiver Mike Furry has traditionally performed well in the slot.
Second round draft picks Brian Robiskie and Mohamed Massaquoi have shown great promise, but are still too young in their development to be counted on with any consistency.
All signs, including the ones given by the head coach himself, point to Cribbs emerging as one of the Browns' go-to guys in 2009.
"I love special teams players," Eric Mangini said in an earlier press conference.
"We had Jerrico Cotchery who was a core teams player in New York. He hadn't played much offense at that point, [but] he ended up emerging into a starter."
Cribbs could do the same thing.
Not even Eric Mangini knows what the future hold for Cribbs. Mangini has, however, experienced similar situations with similarly great players in the past.
And just maybe, that past will coincide with the present.
Posted on: December 15, 2008 12:50 pm
Edited on: December 15, 2008 4:32 pm
10. Ken Dorsey's Arm Strength
When looking at quarterbacks, it is fashionable to site arm strength as the most overrated characteristic in the entire evaluation process. Accuracy and decision-making are widely regarded as the two most important factors, and perhaps rightfully so.
On Monday night, we put that theory to the test. Cleveland Browns backup quarterback Ken Dorsey has a notoriously weak throwing arm. Last week against the Titans, Dorsey was unable to complete a number of pass attempts down field - virtually all of which were underthrown. Tonight we see just how arm strength plays into being an effective quarterback. Can Dorsey dink and dunk the Dawgs to victory? Is he capable enough to earn a roster spot next year? What does that say about Brady Quinn - another accuracy-based passer? These questions and more will be answered during the game.
9. Tony Kornheiser is Hilarious
Not taking anything away from any other broadcast tandems, but the trio of Ron Jaworski, Tony Kornheiser, and Mike Tirico are very entertaining to watch. It takes a special group of guys to pull off the three-man booth and ESPN managed to find the perfect combination. Jaworski's insightful game analysis combined with Tirico's play-by-play and Kornheiser's witty remarks keep the action fresh and lighthearted.
8. The Fantasy Playoffs
With the conclusion of this game, the first week of the fantasy playoffs will officially come to an end. Fantasy players around the nation have been particularly disappointed by the overall disappointment created by the Cleveland Browns, and Monday night's game is the icing on the cake. Whether you're in dire need of Phil Dawson field goals, a stout Eagles defensive performance, or a certain skill position player to light it up, this game provides the last chance for a late night miracle. Speaking of skill position players...
7. Will Braylon Edwards continue to drop passes?
The more appropriate question would be to ask whether Dorsey will even have the time to even find Edwards, but regardless - this will be interesting to watch. For wide receivers of Edwards' caliber, a prime time stage should bring out a prime time performance. Edwards has been inconsistent all season - unofficially dropping upwards of 15 passes. If Braylon wants to be considered one of the best at his position, he must do whatever it takes to come up with a big game when his team needs him the most. This is a weekend where Andre Johnson and Antonio Bryant both came up huge for their teams, so Edwards must step up in a big way to remain in that elite receiver class.
6. Browns Secondary Against Eagles Receiversvs.
Cleveland's cornerback duo of Eric Wright and Brandon McDonald can establish themselves as two of the better young defensive backs in the game. Wright, the speedy second round draft selection from UNLV has done an admirable job for the disappointing Browns. He will most likely line up against Philadelphia's Kevin Curtis in a matchup which will determine the effectiveness of the Eagles' passing attack. DeAngelo Hall made a name for himself by shutting Terrell Owens down on a prime time stage, and Wright in particular has a chance to do something similar for himself.
5. How bad could it get?
The NFL is a competitive league of full of parity and close games, but this one could get ugly. Philadelphia has the world to play for while the hapless Browns have nothing but pride. If the Eagles are able to control the line of scrimmage and time of possession, the route may be on. According to CBS projections, the Eagles are favored 99 to 1. It could get ugly. For those who like a David versus Goliath matchup or just like rooting for the underdawg, this game is for you.
Additionally, this may be the last time the NFL puts the Cleveland Browns anywhere near a prime time game. For those outside the area, this may be the last time you ever get to see the Browns on television!
4. Brian Westbrook is talented.
It's been said before, but Brian Westbrook is the best running back in the NFL that no one talks about. His name should be listed among the top 5 backs in the league, yet for some reason he does not receive the publicity of a Marion Barber or an Adrian Peterson. Westbrook is Marshall Faulk incarnate - possessing the ability to run inside and outside the tackles while making catches out of the backfield. For as talented a tailback as he is, Brian is twice the receiver. It will be a treat to watch one of the best running backs of this generation, so sit back and enjoy what will be a classic performance.
3. D'Qwell Jackson's Emergence on Prime Time Television
If you haven't heard the name yet, now is your chance to meet D'Qwell Jackson - one of the premier young inside linebackers in the NFL. Jackson made a name for himself last weekend against the Titans. He intercepted Kerry Collins twice with a third slipping through his hands. Jackson is a hustle type - showing good lateral direction and instincts while playing hard on every play. His quickness and aggressive style of play make it no mystery why he leads the NFL in tackles. The lone bright spot in Cleveland's linebacking corps, D'Qwell should provide football fans with an exciting performance. Keep an eye out for number 52.
2. How many positions will Josh Cribbs play?
Get used to seeing that face, because number 16 will be everywhere. Cribbs returns kicks and punts, plays gunner on the special teams coverage unit, lines up as a receiver, plays quarterback, and lines up in the backfield as a running back. Regardless of where he starts, Josh Cribbs is a dynamic player with game-changing speed and agility. The key to this matchup is how Jim Johnson's defensive unit contains Cribbs, and how the Browns counter back. If Cleveland's swiss army knife is left unaccounted for, this game will be a lot more interesting than it leads on to be…
The most exciting part of this game will undoubtedly come from Donovan McNabb. The embattled Philadelphia quarterback cannot afford to stumble in a game ripe with playoff implications for his team. If he didn't have enough to play for already, there is added motivation for McNabb to prove something to the Cleveland Browns. Flashback to 1999. The Browns held the number one overall draft pick and needed a quarterback to build their expansion franchise around. Tim Couch was selected over Donovan McNabb who the Browns deemed too wild to be a successful NFL passer. Oops!
Sircheeks' BOLD prediction:
Cleveland Browns: 9
Philadelphia Eagles: 20
What they're saying:
"They are a good football team. They are excited about where they are. They feel like they've got a chance to make it to the playoffs and so they need to win out because they're playing in a tough division. It's Monday night I know that they'll be ready to play as well as we'll be ready to play"
~Romeo Crennel on the Eagles
"They're a great defense. Not only are they great schematically, but great personnel wise. They've been giving offenses fits for many years now and that's part of the fun and excitement in playing Philadelphia."
~ Ken Dorsey
"The thing about Brian is if you give him a seem, he gets to the second level [and] he's gaining yards and he's hard to tackle. He's got great vision and great quickness. Likewise as a pass receiver, they have routes designed to get him the ball out of the backfield where the matchup is on a linebacker. And many times he's able to beat that linebacker and end up gaining big yards as well."
~ Romeo Crennel on Brian Westbrook
"We can't relax. We have to win out, so there's no room for that. We have to come on ready to play on Monday night on a national stage and play well. We don't have that luxury right now. They're a lot better than their record. You can say the same thing for us. I don't think that really matters. The bottom line is we have to come out ready to play and they're going to come out ready to play."
~ Quintin Mikell
Posted on: December 7, 2008 4:45 pm
Edited on: December 7, 2008 5:01 pm
There wasn't much to say about this one as the Browns were simply beaten by a superior football team. Tennessee used the same formula that established them as one of the leagues' best: run the football and stop the run. Ken Dorsey made this a game in the first quarter, but once Tennessee brought the pressure the game was essentially over. An ineffective Jamal Lewis combined with a stout Titans defense proved too much for the struggling Browns.
The Browns are not a very good football team. D'Qwell Jackson and Josh Cribbs are exciting players to watch, and provide hope for the 2009 season.
From now on, Ken Dorsey is auditioning for a backup position next year. His decision making was sub par against a really strong defense, so we'll have to see exactly how he comes out next week. Let's hope Dorsey and the Browns can come out and maintain a shred of respectability over the remainder of the season.