Posted on: November 4, 2009 8:44 pm

Eric Barton Done For Season?

There have been reports Browns inside linebacker Eric Barton will miss the rest of the season with a severe neck injury. True to form, Browns head coach Eric Mangini would not confirm the severity of Barton's injury, but did confirm Barton missed practice on Wednesday.

"Eric, like any of our players, is going through tests and we'll see where it is," Mangini said.

"That's where we are right now, just testing and evaluating, then we'll make a decision."

Barton is one of the few players to start all eight games for the Browns on defense. He trails D'Qwell Jackson by one for the team lead in combined tackles with 58, including numerous tackles for a loss which occurred in critical situations.

Mangini did not specify who would replace Barton on defense.

The likely scenario is to have veteran David Bowens take over for Eric Barton at one middle linebacker spot. Rookie Kaluka Maiava would start in place of Bowens (who filled in for D'Qwell Jackson) and Jason Trusnik would continue to play as the strong side outside linebacker.

With Eric Barton and D'Qwell Jackson gone, the Browns would be without both of their starting inside linebackers and defensive captains.
Category: NFL
Posted on: October 26, 2008 8:36 pm
Edited on: October 26, 2008 9:03 pm

Week 8: From Pumpkins to Carriages

Cinderella 2: The 2008 Cleveland Browns Story
Act 2, Scene iii
by: Romeo Crennel and the Dawgs


Derek Anderson as "Bernie Kosar"
Jamal Lewis as himself
Braylon Edwards as "The Playmaker"
Shaun Rogers as "Aloha"
Steve Heiden as "Kellen Winslow"
Rex Hadnot as "Gene Hickerson"
Willie McGinest as "Grandpa Cheeks"
Cleveland Browns fans as "The Dawgs"

Matt Jones as "Shaquille O' Neal"
Maurice Jones-Drew as "The Contained One"
David Garrard as "Randall Cunningham"

The Cleveland Browns came into this game after a hard-fought loss to the Washington Redskins last Sunday night. Turmoil surrounded the Browns all week with the "Staphgate" controversy making national headlines. Hall of Fame guard Gene Hickerson passed away last Monday, so the Dawgs entered this game with heavy hearts. On the other side, the well-rested Jaguars are at home and need to win in order to keep pace in the tightly contested AFC South. The top two teams in that division play on Monday, so this game is a great chance for Jacksonville to make up some ground.

The action takes place on October 26th, 2008 at 4:05pm on Sunday night. 65 degrees. Sunny and warm.


Anderson: Hail Browns fans, I beseech thee. Lend me your hearts, trust, and adoration! While my play against Washington was less than inspiring, we still had a chance to win at the very end.

Dawgs: Dearest Derek. We beg - stop playing games with our hearts! Identify thyself and show us who the real DA is!

Anderson: Fear not, my friends. Dawgs are tougher than cats, so I will do my best to de-claw these wild beasts!

Dawgs: Make it so!

(curtain falls)

The storybook season continues for the Cleveland Browns after a stunning victory on the road against a physical, well-rested Jacksonville football team. The normally dependable defense played the supporting role to the offense this time - as Derek Anderson played one of his best games of the season. As dominant as the Browns were over the majority of this contest, the game came down to one final defensive stop by the Cleveland defense.

Make no mistake about it, this win was huge. The Steelers' loss combined with a Browns victory brings Cleveland that much closer to the top the the division.These past 3 games have shown us a lot about the Cleveland Browns - particularly about Derek Anderson. DA has shown the ability to manage this offense by making good decisions and for the most part delivering accurate throws. If we can continue to see this kind of play from Anderson, the Browns may have a chance to make things interesting in the AFC North.

The Good
  • Derek Anderson: As I've mentioned before, DA did exactly what he was supposed to do in order for the Browns to win. The numbers may not show a complete victory, but Anderson managed the game, made plays when he had to, and most importantly did not turn the ball over. He has not thrown an interception since week 3, so in that sense Derek has begun to show some consistency.
  • "Big Baby" Shaun Rogers has done an outstanding job as the lone bright spot along the defensive line. Rogers was simply a force tonight - recording 9 tackles, 1 sack, a field goal block and recovery along with numerous quarterback pressures. It is very early, but Shaun Rogers certainly looks like one of the best nose tackles in the NFL right now.
  • Penalties and Game Management: Who would have thought the Cleveland Browns would look like the more disciplined team on the field this evening? The Browns were flagged for one penalty all game and eliminated the mental mistakes of the past. With their undersized defensive backs, I am pleasantly surprised not one illegal contact or pass interference call was made all game. Romeo Crennel managed a flawless game - saving timeouts, making good decisions, and playing to win the game. It finally looks like the Browns have turned a corner with the technical errors that lugged them down earlier in the season.
  • The Run Defense: Wow. Maurice Jones-Drew and Fred Taylor were held to a combined 53 yards on 20 attempts. The Browns made it a point of emphasis to stop the run, and tonight they did just that. Credit goes to D'Quell Jackson and Kamerion Wimbley for playing a great game and executing the game plan well.
The Bad
  • Redzone Offense: The Redzone offense has sputtered in recent weeks. The Browns nearly stalled out on the first drive, and they settled for a 20 yard field goal on a crucial drive in the fourth quarter with the score tied 17-17. Rob Chudzinski has done a great job with the rest of the offensive unit, but I’d like to see a more efficient Browns team in the upcoming weeks.
  • Defending the Middle: The Browns defense continues to struggle with defending the middle of the field. Tucker's unit does an excellent job on the perimeter with solid corner play, but the Browns still have trouble with defense inside the numbers. What I’d like to see from the Browns next week is better execution in bracket coverage. Terry Cousin has struggled all year as the nickel cornerback. The Browns need to improve on deploying middle linebackers in zone coverage to help Cousin with covering the slot receivers.
  • Drops: It's sad to say, but this Cleveland Browns receiving corps is quickly establishing a reputation for dropping easy passes. Derek Anderson is a rhythm-orientated quarterback, and early drops kill drives along with confidence. I'm not too worried about this, but I hope the Browns can shake this habit and do a better job of making the reception.
The Ugly

I can't believe I'm saying this, but I cannot find one "ugly" area of play for the Browns this week. The Jaguars were able to sustain a few long drives which you never like to see, but the Browns came back and had an answer for everything the Jags attempted.

(The curtain rises as the Browns come out victorious to cheers from the crowd)

Dawgs: Here we go Brownies, here we go! Woof Woof!

So there you have it, the Cleveland Browns end the month of October with a tough road victory. Our Cinderella story looks to take another turn for the better as the Browns look to keep rolling against a tough Ravens defense. Cleveland must now exorcise their demons of the past in defeating their former selves and avenging a tough loss on the road. Questions still persist for our beloved Brownies: What will happen with the Kellen Winslow situation? Can the Browns succeed where they faltered 4 weeks ago? And how much does Shaun Rogers really weigh?

All of these questions and more will be answered in the next scene of Cinderella 2: The 2008 Cleveland Browns Story.
Posted on: October 19, 2008 9:15 pm
Edited on: October 19, 2008 11:44 pm

Week 7: Has the Slipper Been Shattered?

Cinderella 2: The 2008 Cleveland Browns' Story
Act 2, Scene ii
by: Romeo Crennel and the Dawgs

Derek Anderson as "Mr. Hyde"
Jamal Lewis as himself
Braylon Edwards as "Jim Abbott"
Dave Zastudil as "The Man With the Golden Toe"
Eric Wright as "The Playmaker"
Cleveland Browns fans as "The Dawgs"

Jason Campbell as "Eli Manning cerca 2007"
Clinton Portis as "Slash"
Mike Sellers as "The Juggernaut"
Carlos Rogers as "Lawrence Taylor"
Antwaan Randle El as "Smurf #1"
Santana Moss as "Smurf #2"

After a stunning upset of last year's Super Bowl champions, the Cleveland Browns arrived at Fed Ex Field to take on the Washington Redskins. The underdawg Browns came into the game fairly healthy and looking to build upon last weeks' momentum. The Redskins entered this contest coming off an emotional loss to the then winless Saint Louis Rams. A classic, hard-fought battle of momentum versus redemption pit Dawg versus Hog in a critical game for both teams.

The action takes place on October 19th, 2008 at 4:15pm on Sunday night. 48 degrees. Cloudy. Fair.


Anderson: Hail Browns fans, I beseech thee! Lend me your hearts, trust, and adoration! I have demonstrated great courage in slaying the mighty Giants of York, and I shall continue my ways against these foul Swine!

Dawgs: Dearest Derek, perhaps you do deserve our trust and adoration. We shall silence the call for your fairest understudy and rally behind thee.

Anderson: Amen my friends, I shall not disappoint! Watch as I carve up these wounded hogs in route to another Cleveland victory.

Anderson and Dawgs: Cheers!

(curtain falls)

The smiles and laughter ended shortly thereafter as the Browns came up short in a late 4th quarter thriller against the Washington Redskins. Defense was the call of the day as the first points by any team came in the 3rd quarter on a 3 yard touchdown run by Clinton Portis. The 'Skins never looked back, as the Browns were in catch-up mode for the rest of the game.

Man...we really needed this one. Every game from here on out is now considered a must win as our already slim playoff chances are rapidly fading. Baltimore and Pittsburgh both came out with wins, and it will take some real movie magic for us to get back into the thick of things.

The Good
  • Discipline: The Browns looked like an entirely different team from the one we saw 6 days ago. Perhaps the biggest difference came with the elimination of the foolish penalties that plagued the team over the past few contests. There were no offensive penalties for false starts, holding, or illegal formations. In that regard, the Browns executed a flawless game on offense. The defense also showed great discipline - keeping the self-destructive plays to a minimum while executing the game plan to perfection.
  • The Defense: This is the third straight week our defense has stepped up in a big way. Brandon McDonald, Brodney Pool and company did an decent job of containing Jason Campbell and the Washington passing attack. The only weak spot in Mel Tucker's scheme is the rush defense - which Clinton Portis exploited to the tune of 175 yards. Even with Portis' superb effort, the Browns only gave up 14 points on the road. With as high octane of an offense as we have, that should have been enough to win the game.
  • Special Teams: I can't say enough about the job Dave Zastidul and the Browns special teams unit did tonight. Zastidul was masterful - downing three punts inside the 20 en route to a 37.3 yard average. While Cribbs struggled to find any game-changing seams in the return game, he took what he could and played within himself. Oh, and kudos to Gerard Lawson. That big 43 yard return sparked a stale Browns offense and put us right back into the game. I can't fault Dawson for missing that 54-yarder at the end. It wasn't his fault, and I'll address that a little bit later.
The Bad
  • Field General #3: We are quickly finding out who Derek Anderson is as this turbulent season progresses. This was the first time Donte' Stallworth, Braylon Edwards and Kellen Winslow were healthy and on the field at the same time. Our offensive line and running backs were near 100%. Derek had the trust of his teammates, and his confidence was at an all-time high. Rob Chudzinski's gameplan was brilliant and this was a big-time game. In other words, everything was set up perfectly for DA to come through...and he didn't. Anderson just wasn't accurate. An offense is only as good as the quarterback, and as of now, the Browns are simply too inconsistent to contend.
  • Game Management: Romeo must have had his lucky rabbit's foot today, as this one could have turned out ugly. Twice he tempted fate by gambling against common sense, and won. The Browns were down 11 points in the 4th quarter with around 5 minutes to play. After failing to score 3 times from 1 yard out, Romeo elected to go for a touchdown instead of kicking a field goal and making it a one possession game. Fortunately, Eric Wright made a huge play by stripping Portis, and DA marched the Browns down for a score (and subsequent 2 pt. conversion).
  • More Game Management: With the 'Skins nursing a 3 point lead at the 2:44 mark, the Browns had two timeouts to force a three and out in hopes of getting the ball back and driving for a final score. After the defense dug deep and stopped the Redskins on first and second down, Coach Crennel used his final timeouts and put the entire game on one play. Had Washington converted on 3rd and 5, they would have run the clock out and the game would have been over. Once again, the Browns lucked out and got the last stop which gave them a chance to score. Why put the entire game on one play so unnecessarily? Let them run two plays, take it to the two-minute warning, and use a timeout on a 3rd down stop while saving the last for a potential field goal try.
  • Even More Game Management: On the final drive of the game, the Browns had a 1st and 10 with the ball at the Washington 38 yard line. Instead of designing something to give Dawson a more realistic chance, Derek took shot after shot down the field without gaining a single yard. I appreciate the aggressive play-calling, but setting for a game-tying 54 yard field goal attempt is NOT putting this team in the best position to win. You would want at least 10 more yards to give Phil Dawson a realistic chance of tying the game up.
The Ugly
  • The Loss: I've said it before, but this loss puts us in a terrible position. Realistically, we will need things to fall our way if we hope to make it to the playoffs. Football is such a crazy game. Even with the poor offensive performance and terrible game management, the Browns remained competitive to the end, and had a chance to steal a tough road victory. In order for the Browns to reach the post season, they not only have to weather a brutal schedule , but now they need teams ahead of them to lose as well.

(the curtain rises as a clearly distraught Cleveland Browns team reappear on stage with their heads down in frustration)

Dawgs: Superman wears number 10. Quinn to win!

Our Cinderella story is quickly turning from drama to science fiction - as we undoubtedly need help from above to make it to the playoffs. Many questions remain for our beloved underdawgs: Is it finally time to see Brady Quinn? How in the world will we beat the Jacksonville Jaguars coming off a bye IN Jacksonville? And should Carlos Rogers be detained for the attempted murder of Josh Cribbs?

All of these questions and more will be answered in the next scene of Cinderella 2: The 2008 Cleveland Browns Story
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