Saturday, August 23, 2008

The Things I Want to See From the Cleveland Browns in Detroit

10. Is Brady Quinn the real deal?

Derek Anderson is the starting QB for the Cleveland Browns, sorry to break it to you Brady-Maniacs. But I do want to see how he does against a first team defense even without a full compliment of weapons. I was firmly in the Anderson should start no matter what camp when pre-season began but after another big game tank job I am not so sure.

9. Do the Browns have a back-up running back?

Jamal Lewis will not play today. It’s a chance for Jason Wright and Jerome Harrison to showcase their wares. If J-Lew goes down for a few games do the Browns have someone who can step in?

8. Will someone distinguish themselves as the #3 receiver?

Travis Wilson has a breakout game against the New York Jets and then disappeared last week. It was Syndric Steptoe’s time to shine against the Giants and he may earn a roster spot with that performance. Will one of these two guys continue to cement a place on the squad or will someone else come out of nowhere to snatch it from them?

7. Will the Browns offensive line bounce back from an abysmal performance?

Top to bottom the Browns’ starting offensive line was manhandled for almost the entire time in the Giants game. This is supposed to be one of the best offensive lines in football. Was last week an abomination or does the line still have steps to take to reach an elite level?

6. Will Shawn Rogers play?

I am hearing rumblings that big Shawn will not play at all during pre-season. This is not good for chemistry, setting up the rotation and knocking the rust off. Is there more to his “sore knees” than we have been led to believe?

5. Can the Browns defense generate any semblance of a pass rush?

Willie McGinest seriously needs a Segway to maneuver around the football field these days. Kamerion Wimbley still look to only have one pass rushing move. Antwaan Peek is hurt. Can a David McMillan, Alex Hall or Shawntee Orr step up and take some pressure of Kam-Ram?

4. Will anyone step up in the secondary?

The secondary is so bad they Browns traded a 7th Round draft pick to Miami for Travis Daniels, a player who was going to be cut at the end of camp. He will not play today and neither will Brodney Pool who has his third concussion in three years. Only Sean Jones and Brandon McDonald have looked solid so far. Two solid defensive backs in a passing league is a recipe for disaster.

3. Are the linebackers good at anything?

Despite the additions on the defensive line, the Browns linebacking core has remained steadfast in its progression. Andra Davis is too slow. D’Qwell Jackson in too small. Leon Williams is too dumb. Beau Bell is too injured. The tackling has been better but is still taking place 5-7, if not more, yards past the line of scrimmage. Can any of these guys turn into a quality LB?

2. Can the Browns coaches have the team them ready to play smart football?

It’s not the fact that the Browns lost last week to the Giants, it’s how they did it that is cause for concern. Stupid penalties, blown coverages, missed blocking assignments and even the inability to execute a punt “highlighted” the Browns trip to the Meadowlands last week. These are all mental mistakes that Romeo Crennel and his coaching staff should have the team ready to deal with on a daily basis. With 11 days to prep for last week’s game they were noticeably absent. Even in pre-season, that is inexcusable

1. Can the Browns come out and be physical from the first snap?

The New York Giants punched the Cleveland Browns in the mouth last week and the Cleveland Browns… did nothing. Until the Browns become a physically aggressive team (and a clean one, not a dirty one Andra Davis) they will not be an elite team in the NFL and will not be able to overtake their nemesis, the Pittspuke Stoolers, er, I mean the Pittsburgh Steelers. It starts up front with the offensive and defensive lines and goes from there. The mental side of the game goes hand in hand but if you are not going to be physical in the NFL you are going nowhere fast. Let’s see what the Browns do today when the Detroit Lions punch them in the mouth, or better yet, let’s see if they punch Detroit in the mouth first.

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