Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Same Ol' Situation

"It's the same ol', same ol' situation
It's the same ol', same ol' ball and chain
Just like a punch in the teeth
Or a swan dive to the street
No, no, no
No, no, no
If it wasn't for bad luck
I'd have no luck at all"
-- Motley Crue "Same Ol' Situation"

Ah... the Crue... Vince, Nikki, Mick and Tommy, good times. Not so much for the Browns in Oakland, losing on a blocked field goal at the gun, 26-24.

Let's start from the end. Anyone who thinks the block is Phil Dawson's fault is an idiot. Nat Dorsey and Seth McKinney got OWNED on the left side of the line and the kick had no chance. Phil had a bad year in 2006, yes. But he is the most accurate kicker in Browns history and was 8 for 8 on game winning kicks until that block. The Browns have much more serious problems that kicker. And, just for reference, we all know how well Derrick Frost kicked when we showed Chris Gardocki the door. Phil is like any other veteran kicker he gets rusty if he doesn't get used. The Browns scored the least amount of points in the NFL in 2006, do the math.

Derek Anderson did a great job in the 2 minutes drill. But looked awful in the first half. (Switching to my Dennis Green voice.) DEREK ANDERSON IS WHO I THOUGHT HE WAS! Here is what I wrote on May 28, 2007...

"DA seems to have all the "tools" to be an effective NFL quarterback. Whether or not he can refine those tools into being an effective NFL quarterback is yet to be seen. He seemed to thrive in the back-up QB role by single handily winning the Kansas City game and being the only man to show up for the Thursday night game in Pittspuke. Needs to work the mental side of quarterbacking to succeed long term. I see him being the prototypical back-up QB who can come into the game in relief or make a spot start and thrive but I think his tendencies make him too predictable to be the long term starter."

Watching Derek Anderson QB is like watching Joe Borowski close. It is a roller coaster of emotions and a lot of the time you are going to end up sick. You just have to deal with it. If anything, we will all get to see Brady Quinn after the bye week, if not sooner, and we should feel confident that we have a back-up QB who is serviceable. It could be worse, we could have Doug Pederson or Spurgeon Wynn plays while we wait for Tim Couch. Until The Mighty Quinn debuts just get on the ride, take a deep breath, close your eyes and hope for the best.

I do like the way Rob Chudzinski is calling the game. He gets the ball to the play makers. He gets everyone involved. He is aggressive. He doesn't sit back, he attacks. The question is how DA operates the offense. Versus Cincinnati, playing ahead, you can run Jamal Lewis, set up play action and keep the opposition off balance. Versus Oakland, DA plays stupid, you are down 16-0 and have to play catch up. You can not run effectively and the D can rear back and attack you. Kudos to DA for getting them out of that hole but he was the main reason they dug one in the first place. In the NFL the quarterback has to be as much intellectual and as athletic (see Manning, Peyton and Brady, Tom) because of the complex schemes the defenses run. This is not DA's strong suit, sorry big guy. That being said I am excited to see Quinn run this offense. Very excited. It will tell us a lot about the future of this franchise.

But all of this is rendered irrelevant when your D is giving up 35 points a game. 34 + 45 + 26 = 105. 105 / 3 = 35. Sickening. The D line if awful. Just awful. They take up space but not in the gaps that a 3-4 demands you occupy to free the linebackers. Romeo has announced there will be more rotation in the DL this week. I don't know how to feel about that. That means the back-ups will get more PT, but they ARE back-ups. Scary. Speaking of LBs, they have not looked good other than Kam Wimbley. They have regressed to the tackle five yards down the field. Both Davis and Jackson look slow. Maybe it's time to get a little more PT for Williams and Thompson. But then again they ARE back-ups. Scary. I was really thinking the LB core would be a strength. So far in 2007, not so much. The secondary is banged up. Bodden isn't healthy again. Holly was back after missing a game with a concussion. Eric Wright is a rookie. He is going to get beat a lot. Get used to it. It will make him a better player down the road. Part of the blame has to rest on the safeties. Brian Russell is definitely missed. He was the leader of the secondary. Getting guys in the proper spot and coverage. Neither Jones nor Pool have been able to do that and it doesn't help Eric Wright out at all. The defense looks completely lost and that is not going to allow them to win many games at all.

Most maddening is the fact that the team came out flat, again, after a big win. After all the talk of not having a letdown after the Cincy game that's exactly what happened. And they players said their underestimated the Raiders. WTF?!? That falls squarely on Romeo, Phil and the entire coaching staff. Embarrassing. I don't know what to say. They knew what was coming and still could not avoid it. Because of it, they still haven't won 2 in a row since 2003. Disgusting. They lost to an Oakland team that couldn't throw a forward pass to save their life and despite all their offensive miscues in the first half had a chance to win the game. It's encouraging that they fought back and put themselves in a position to win that game. It's sad how they put themselves in that position in the first place. Same ol' situation since 2003.

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