Monday, October 15, 2007

What Should Be Expected

When is the last time the Browns went into a game and did what everyone expected them to do? I can't remember. Maybe sometime in the 2002 season, if then. As of late they have been giving win less teams their first win of the year all too frequently, including Week 3 at Oakland. But in a change of heart, the Browns came out, marked their territory, and minus a little snooze-fest by the Defense in the 3rd Quarter, dominated a completely inferior football team... which is nice.

What can you say about Derek Anderson. He's keeps learning and improving which is not something you can say about any other Cleveland QB since 1999. His two best plays were scrambling for a first down on 3rd and 2 instead of forcing it into coverage and throwing the ball away at the end of the half the preserve a FG attempt. Could he have scrambled into the end zone? Maybe, but it was a 50/50 chance and he took the sure points while up by 14. Do I still think he is the long term answer at QB? No. But he;s shown that he could be, and is definitely someone you'd have no qualms being your back-up or spot starter in a pinch. This is the NFL you need a second QB who can play or you are dead in the water.

Rob Chudzinski keeps coming up with brilliant game plans. Knowing that the Browns will have to outscore their opponents (we'll get to that later) he attacks and attacks and attacks. There is no let up. To put up 41 points without your stud running back and use his two back-ups efficiently is more impressive than the play of DA, Braylon Edwards or Kellen Winslow. It seems like Braylon and K2 finally "get it". Be a professional, just play football and the rest will come. Both these guys are finally paying dividends after a couple of years as disappointments. With the O Line gelling (minus one sack yielded by the HPC) and playing physical the Browns on O are starting to take it to their opponents and playing with confidence. It's amazing what playing from ahead will do for you.

The only sad state of affairs in the D. Hopefully the bye week will give the coaches a chance to implement so personnel and scheme change to help. The D line is atrocious and a huge question mark. It finally looks that the Browns have conceded that Ted Washington and Orpheus Roye's best years are behind them. Without the D line taking up space on running plays or getting penetration on passing plays, the athletic LB core is going to struggle. We've known for years that the ILBs can not make tackles (except for 5 yards down field) without help from the D line. And without the pressure on passing downs the young, green secondary is going to be picked apart. Leigh Bodden is healthy, Eric Wright is rapidly improving but Brodney Pool and Sean Jones, especially, are having a difficult time making plays like last year. None of the secondary can cover a receiver for 5-7 seconds. Not gonna happen. The D is holding this team back from what could be an even better year than it has been.

So it's of to a bye week in Week 7 followed by an away game against the win less St. Louis Rams. The Rams have major injury issues on the O line and Marc Bulger and Steven Jackson are not healthy either. Their defense is even worse than the Browns'. It looks like an eerily similar script to the Miami game. The only problem is that the Browns have not won 2 games in a row in over 3 years. But unlike in the past 3 seasons they should win this game. Why? Because the Browns are finally doing what we all expect them to do.

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