Welcome to The Browns Table, a season-long look at the 2008 season for the Cleveland Browns from the point of view of the Browns fans here on Bleacher Report.
This discussion is not just meant for the contributing Browns fans. Please feel free to comment on any of the questions or any of our answers below.
We welcome any comments and an open discussion about the Browns below. If you would like a seat at the table leave me a note on my profile and we will try and get you in the rotation.
As always thanks to Browns fans John Arend and Samantha Bunten for their contributions this week.
The guys and gals touch on the Browns’ offensive woes, Braylon Scissor-Hands, Sean Jones’ future, Phil Dawson’s legacy and the upcoming “Battle of Ohio.”.
It may be painful, but let’s talk Browns football…
The offense has been struggling all season and continues to do so under third string QB Ken Dorsey. Do you see this team putting up an offensive touchdown in the final two games?
There are only two situations I foresee the offense scoring a touchdown in the remaining games. First, if they can get a rhythm going against the Bengals horrid defense, they might be able to play with some confidence and actually find the endzone. Second, if Romeo finally just says "screw it" and puts in players like Rucker, Steptoe, Cribbs, et al as starters and sends a message to the real first string team. This might make them think they actually have to work to keep their jobs.
If I recall correctly, the last time the Browns scored an offensive touchdown was in week 11 against the Bills. That was a very, very long time ago. Playing the odds (and considering they have Cincinnati coming next), you have to assume they'll get one more before their 2008 season mercifully comes to a close. I think it pretty much sums up how our season has gone: we're all sitting here wondering if the Browns can score just one single touchdown in the next two weeks, giving them a grand total of well...one touchdown, during the last 6 games of the season. Yikes.
They have a shot versus Cincinnati but no way in Pittsburgh. I honestly don’t seeing them putting into the endzone in either game. I expect Phil Dawson to be very, very busy kicking field goals.
Braylon Edwards caught the ball all night, including a couple of great grabs. Why do you think he has struggled all season?
I'm hearing a tune in my head right now. You know, the beat Vanilla Ice stole for "Ice Ice Baby" That's right, "Under Pressure." I have a feeling Braylon Edwards heard this song all season until it didn't matter if the team won or lost. Go back and look at all of his drops... Now go back and look at all of his catches... I'm willing to bet that it’s a pretty clear split between crucial and unimportant downs.
If Edwards could ever get his head and his hands on the field at the same time for a few weeks in a row, he would probably be fine. Edwards has the talent, I'm just not sure he has the drive or the willingness to fine tune his fundamentals to ever be consistently successful. Edwards needs to get over his fear of getting hit. He needs to concentrate, clean up his footwork, and most importantly, follow through on each play from beginning to end. Edwards can't hold onto the ball because his mind is already halfway down the field with it before he's made the catch. Until he can sync up his brain and his hands in the exact moment he's posed to make the grab, he will continue to look lazy, arrogant, and inept.
Lack of focus, weak mental character and the heel injury in camp. The injury just totally put him out of sync and off to a bad start. Then when he struggled because he has trouble dealing with adversity he struggled. He was unable to get focused on a week to week basis and it has shown in his up and down performances. He’s always going to drop a few balls but the staggering numbers this season are do to it being in his head. If he can become mentally tough I can see his drops decreasing significantly.
The defense struggled but Sean Jones and Brandon McDonald came up with big interceptions. Sean Jones is an unrestricted free agent at the end of the year. Do you feel the Browns need to make resigning him a priority?
This is a tough one... From a strictly leadership standpoint, I want him on the team to keep things consistent. From a talent standpoint, I'd love to keep him because he's best we've got. From an injury standpoint, I just he's playing at 100% if we do bring him back.
This team has so many problems that it is difficult to focus in on how much priority to place on one guy, at least at this point. Still, they have to start somewhere, and Jones has been a solid member of our defense, one of the few who consistently performed well. I would like to keep Jones around, but this will depend largely on what his demands are and what the team proposes to do after assessing what ALL of our needs are, and which are most pressing, during the off-season.
Over the previous tow seasons I thought Jones would develop into the impact safety (a la Ed Reed and Troy Polamalu) the Browns need. But after the beginning of the year when he had elective knee surgery while they were 0-3 and said he did it because he was a free agent after the year I began doubting that. If he stays for a reasonable deal, keep him. If he just wants to break the bank and take the money and run, let him go.
Phil Dawson broke the Browns’ single season record for field goals against Philadelphia. That obviously speaks volumes about the offense’s struggles. What does it tell you about Dawson?
Nothing we don't already know. His best season was obviously last year, because of the clutch kicks he made, however he seems to have more power in his leg this season. He set his career long this season, but he also missed a few kicks that some considered "chip-shots". I like Dawson he goes out and does his job. Maybe the rest of the team could learn something from him.
It tells us Dawson is the only guy on the team who is doing his job. Mostly though, as stated in the question, it tells us about the horrendous offense. I don't think anyone needed Dawson to set a record to realize that the Browns offense is about as bad as it gets, but numbers like these do an excellent job of providing quantitative proof that the offensive game is in shambles.
He is the most underrated kicker in the NFL right now. He is the fifth most accurate kicker in NFL history. He might be the great pure kicker in Browns’ history in terms of clutch-ness and consistency. I have said it before, he is the best player the Browns have had since their reincarnation and would be a Pro Bowler if he did not play with the Browns.
The Browns play Cincinnati in the final home game of the season. The Bengals are only 2-11-1 but are coming off a win versus Washington. Who do you have in the Battle of Ohio?
The battle of Ohio will be the battle of back-ups. This is funny because I also have a sinking feeling that it will be a high scoring affair. Not because the offenses involved will magically become spectacular, but because the defenses are horrible. Shoot-outs have occured twice in the past five years when these two teams meet. Each time the home team has won. So in keeping with the trend, I pick the Browns to come out on top and secure the all-important third place AFC North spot.
I predict a 12-12 tie. 4 field goals a piece.
I hate to say it but I have to go with the Bengals. They can actually score points on offense while the Browns can not. Their defense is just as bad as ours but has been playing well recently. With Dorsey under center I don’t see us exploiting any of their weaknesses. I see a 16-12 snooze-fest.