Saturday, August 28, 2010

Browns Sloppy in Loss to Lions

Thoughts about the Browns after the 35-27 loss to the Lions in Pre-Season Week 3…

Jake Delhomme had a great day statistically (10-25, 152 yards, 1 TD) but did look a little “off” on a number of throws. Brian Robiskie, Josh Cribbs and Evan Moore all bailed him out with great catches on off target throws. That being said, Delhomme still has a presence that we haven’t seen in a long time in Cleveland. You have to LOVE on how fired up he was when he got face-masked and head-slammed Ndamukong Suh. He may struggle from time to time but the guy won’t let failure deter him.

Seneca Wallace was up and down making some really nice plays with this legs and arm but looking ragged at times as well. Running him out of the Pistol Formation is definitely intriguing. Keep in mind we still haven’t seen the “Flash” or “Cyclone” packages with he and Cribbs yet. If Delhomme falters, it’s Wallace to the rescue but it will be interesting how they incorporate him into the week to week game plans during the season.

Colt McCoy is not going to play this year. Period. If both Delhomme and Wallace both go down the Browns will grab a free agent, veteran QB. The kid looks overwhelmed at the pace of the game. I haven’t seen him throw down field effectively and when he doe it has not been pretty. The kid is going to make the team but shouldn’t see the field unless the Browns are up by 28.

I am a big Jerome Harrison honk, but this fumblitis the last two weeks is cause for concern. The guy is a warrior especially at that position and at his size but with Montario Hardesty getting healthy and Peyton Hillis shining in the pre-season Harrison better check himself or he will be seeing a lot less of the field than he wants.

Speaking of Hillis, seeing he and Vickers in the backfield makes me salivate. Two big backs., both wearing numbers in the forties, both who rather hit you then juke you. Old school. Love it.

Hard to believe but I am pining for the days of the Human Parking Cone Kevin Shaffer. My detest for John St. Clair as a player is well documented and Tony Pashos did nothing to impress me today either. Guy stunk when he was at Baltimore and, sadly, they are good judges of talent. Throw in that he can’t stay healthy in the last three years and it is a concern. Save us Pork Chop Womack, you’re our only hope! (I just threw up in my mouth a little bit typing that.)

The defense is getting more and more worrisome. Joe Haden and T. J. Ward do look like ball players but they are young and need time to develop. They will evolve over the year but it will take time. The front seven’s inability to generate pass rush will put even more pressure on the young ones.

No Shaun Rogers definitely hurts and other that Ahtyba Rubin no one else on the defensive line has looked impressive, although Brian Shaeffering did look solid today. The linebackers will be mixed and matched and I hope Eric Mangini and Rob Ryan are holding back a bunch of looks for the regular season. It will be interesting on who makes this squad after Thursday’s final pre-season game. The David Veikunes, Kaluka Maiavas and Jason Trusniks of the world need be worried.

Javid Best exposed the Browns lack of athleticism up front and they need to make that up with scheme and technique. The Lions are an up and coming offensive team but no where near the quality of offense that the Browns will face during the regular season. They need to step it up big time if they are going to be competitive on that side of the ball.

So it goes with the Browns. I come into camp worried about the offense and I leave peeing myself about the defense. Such is life. First cuts down to 75 on Tuesday, the Bears on the Thursday and final cuts to 53 Saturday. It will be interesting on how Tom Heckert shapes up this roster. Eric Mangini went through a lot of guys last year but no longer has control over the 53 man roster. Those in spots 45 an below must make a showing on Thursday as the starts will play little if at all.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Browns Top Packers 27-24

Well, after the Browns ended the 2009 season on the strength of a stifling defense and power running game it only makes sense that they would open the 2010 exhibition season throwing the ball all over the place in a 27-24 win over the Green Bay Packers. The only thing that makes sense for the Browns since their reincarnation in 1999 is that they never make sense.

Taking the opening kick-off and never looking back, Jake Delhomme temporarily tabled talks of his sub-par Training Camp with a 6 for 7 effort that spread the ball around to Mohammed Massaquoi, Brian Robiskie and Evan Moore. Delhomme look sharp, decisive and in control, qualities that have rarely been associated with a Browns quarterback in the past few years. It was Delhomme’s only series on the night but it was a refreshing sight to see the Browns offense come out strong from the beginning for once.

Delhomme looked good but Seneca Wallace may have looked even better. Undersized but athletic, Wallace kept the Green Bay defense off balance by rolling out of the pocket and keeping plays alive with his legs. He hit Robiskie in the back corner of the endzone for one touchdown and then threw a perfect pass down the seam to Tight End Ben Watson for another. If Delhomme does falter at some point it appears the Browns do have a viable option in their back pocket.

Colt McCoy did a good job of putting the minority calling for him to get more snaps to bed as he looked awful in almost two quarters of work. Five for ten for only 25 yards and two awful, awful interceptions showed why he needs to “redshirt” in 2010 and learn from the veterans. Some of the pundits thought he might be he top QB prospect in this year’s draft but he does need to sit and learn for at least a year. Tim Couch and Charlie Frye would agree with that sentiment wholeheartedly.

Other than that it was good to see the Browns pick up some short yardage with Jerome Harrison running behind Lawrence Vickers and the offensive line. They may have thrown it around the field yesterday but the Browns are still going to want to stuff it down the opposition’s throat during the regular season.

Peyton Hillis also flashed his patented hands on a few screens and may be a nice third down option out of the back field. Moore lined up in the slot a lot which is a nice option in two tight ends sets with Watson. I have a hunch these guys are going to catch a ton of balls this year. The best sign was that despite the presence of any big names at the skill positions the Browns spread the ball around and kept the defense off balance… without any Wildcat or Cyclone packages. That is a very good thing.

The defense however did not fair as well on the day. Aaron Rodgers, and Matt Flynn after him, and his receiving core picked apart the Browns defense for their entire stay. Rodgers was 10 for 10 with a TD in the first two Green Bay drives on the night. Greg Jennings burnt rookie T. J. Ward on the first score and fullback Jon Kuhn bulled over Ward from 2 yards out for the second. Ward wasn’t the only offender on the tackling front and the Browns seemed to have trouble wrapping up and taking down the Packers all night.

The only good things that stood out were the fact the Browns were stout against the run all night across the board. Ahtyba Rubin forced a fumble on Green Bay’s first play from scrimmage and makes the whispers of Shaun Rogers moving to end make sense. Ward was everywhere despite being picked on at times a delivered big hit from the safety position that the Browns have not seen since 1995. Marcus Bernard or Jason Trusnik may not make the team due to the linebacking depth the Browns have, but both guys are high motor guys that are all over the place that will find a place elsewhere if not here.

Kudos to Phil Dawson for drilling field goals of 58 and 46 yards to win the game (and prevent the dreaded pre-season overtime). Joe Thomas and Josh Cribbs are special players, but after them Dawson may be the third best player on the team since their rebirth. He’s clutch, has made ridiculous kicks in adverse conditions and gets better as the years go on.

With Dave Zastudil out Reggie Hodges was hit and miss with punting duties and it wouldn’t surprise me if Zastudil is not ready that the Browns scour the waiver wire after cut to find a more reliable option. Zastudil, like Dawson, quietly spoils us with his consistency at an often ignored position. Dropping over HALF his kicks inside the twenty before getting hurt last year is a sick statistic, especially when you consider how much the Browns punted last year.

Its back home for #1 pick Sam Bradford and the St. Louis Rams next Saturday night. Hopefully we’ll get to see a little more of Delhomme and the first team O and the defense can step it up. It was a very impressive debut and let’s hope things get even better. A brutal regular season schedule awaits in 3 weeks and the Browns need all the confidence going into 2010 that they can generate.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Browns Bomb in Denver, 27-6

It is often said that things sometimes have to get worse before they can get better. For the Cleveland Browns they better hope for teo things. One, that the proverb is true and two, that they can’t get much worse then their performance in a 27-6 loss to the Denver Broncos.

In a game that could have been a lot worse if not for two Matt Prater missed field goals, the Browns once again kept it close in the first half only to be manhandled after the second half kickoff. Failing to take advantage of opportunities presented by the Broncos and presenting more than a few to Denver was the story of the game for the beaten and battered Browns.

Cleveland got a gift on the opening kickoff when Peyton Hillis fumbled but was unable to convert the turnover into a touchdown and had to settle for a Phil Dawson field goal. The Broncos, on the other hand, were able to convert an Alex Mack botched snap into a touchdown pass form Kyle Orton to Tony Sheffler.

If the Browns play calling could be described in two words in would be boring and horrible. Once again deciding not to stretch the field, Eric Mangini and Brian Daboll instead attempted utilize a short passing attack. This was rendered ineffective by Brady Quinn’s inefficiencies and the inability of the offensive line to give Quinn time to throw.

After looking decent in two starts in 2008, Quinn has looked overmatched and unable to make plays. Today was no different as he seemed to have little or no cohesiveness with his receivers all game. Tackle John St. Clair did not help things as he yielded four sacks to Denver’s Elvis Dumerville, which set a Broncos franchise record. Once again another game without an offensive touchdown, which makes it seven out of eight games for the Browns.

The Browns defensive performance mirrored than of the first game versus Minnesota. They managed to keep the team in the game in the first half, helped by Prater’s two missed kicks, but derailed as the second half wore on. Whether it is just being worn down by the opposing offense, not having enough playmakers on that side of the ball or just losing faith that the offense will keep you in a game the Browns defense can not seem to put a complete game together.

So it’s 0-2 for the Browns with a trip to Baltimore to face the rugged Ravens and a home tilt versus the much improved Bengals staring them right in the face. If the Browns don’t find some sort of consistency, or more importantly some sort of team identity, in a hurry they are look at an even monger and more brutal season than most predicted.

For the Browns sake they better hope that proverb exist for a reason. Because it will be very difficult to get much worse than they have been in the first two games of the season. And it will be that much more difficult to watch for the Cleveland faithful.

Monday, September 14, 2009

The Browns Table: Season Preview

We are back and better than ever!

Welcome to the 2009 edition of The Browns Table, a season-long look at the Cleveland Browns from views of the Browns fans here on Bleacher Report.

We have a special season preview edition of The Browns Table this week. Taking a look at the Browns no longer secret QB situation (Damn you, TO!) along with what we expect on both sides of the ball and where we thing the Browns will finish in 2009.

Thanks to fellow Browns fan Samantha Bunten for her contributions this week and throughout the course of the 2009 NFL season. Anyone willing to participate can contact me by leaving a note on my profile.

As Adam Carolla would say, “Let’s get it on” and let’s talk some Browns football…

Brady Quinn was finally named the starting QB for the Browns. What do you think of the decision and what does he need to do in 2009 to show you he is the QB of the future for the team?

Samantha Bunten:
Quinn was the obvious and correct choice. I agree with the decision, but I don't truly believe he is the quarterback of the future for this team. Quinn will be better than Anderson, but that doesn't mean he will be good. I haven't seen anything out of Quinn that convinces me he can lead this franchise anywhere.

However, nothing would make me happier than to have Quinn prove me wrong. He has the swagger and the mobility to command the position, but he needs to prove he has the ability to make adjustments and to truly be the team's field general, not just the guy taking the snaps.

And speaking of snaps, Mangini hasn't done Quinn any favors by failing to name a starting center for the opener. A relatively inexperienced quarterback needs to establish as much consistency and routine for himself as possible, and that's tough when you don't even know who's going to feed you the ball in a couple of days.

Jeff Smirnoff:
It was the only sane decision. Anyone who didn’t think he was the guy from Day 1 was fooling themselves. Ryan Leaf, Akili Smith, Heath Shuler and many other first round choices got 1-2 seasons to prove themselves (or disprove themselves, I should say) while Quinn has had 3 games, one with a broken finger. The Browns need to know if he is their franchise QB for years to come or if they need to address the position in the off season. Derek Anderson has had a chance to be evaluated and we know his strength and weaknesses and they were still evident in preseason. I think he is a great back-up QB and can still be a starter in the NFL but 2009 is about evaluating Quinn.

The offense failed to score a touchdown in the final six games of 2008. What do you expect from them in 2009 and what position has you most concerned on that side of the ball?

Samantha Bunten:
The offense can only get better, and get better they will. The question is how much better. Feature back Jamal Lewis will be a workhorse as always, but he's well past his prime. I'm excited to see what James Davis can do to bring some youth and energy to the position.

The receiving corps has a huge upside...if any of them can ever hang onto the ball. Robiskie, like Edwards, worries too much about where the hit is coming from to focus on the ball, and Massaquoi spent his whole senior season at Georgia with a mean case of the dropsies. If he can improve upon that though, he looks to be solid at the position and is a huge threat after catching a ball.

What concerns me most...just one position? Ok, ok. I'll go with tight end. The Browns have no stand-outs at this position. Heiden is solid, but not a number one guy. Beyond that, the position is staffed only with mediocre talent like Robert Royal and Martin Rucker.

Jeff Smirnoff:
Consistency. With Quinn at the helm, I expect a lot more sustained drives and a professional looking offense. It will be interesting to see how Brian Daboll works as a first time coordinator. I think the line will gel over the course of the year with Alex Mack and Rex Hadnot and that will help Quinn’s growth. Braylon Edwards and Josh Cribbs can make some plays in the passing game with Mike Furrey being a poor man’s Joe Jurevicius. If Daboll can find a way to work Jamal Lewis, Jerome Harrison and James Davis into the backfield to take the pressure off Quinn it will help the cause.

On defense, there a lot of seasoned veterans and young up and comers but not a lot of impact players. What area of the defense scares you the most heading into 2009?

Samantha Bunten:
Two things about the defense really scare me. The first is that the perpetually troublesome position for the Browns, OLB, is still looking like it will be just as much of an Achilles' heel for the team as it has been in years past.

Wimbley is a great guy and a great teammate, and there is still a chance he can be the guy we thought he would be after watching his rookie season in 2006, but for the most part he underachieves on the field in terms of making sacks and applying pressure. I'm not sold on David Bowens, one of many of Mangini's former "Pet Jets", but youngster Alex Hall may help the pass rush.

The second thing about the defense that scares me is the lack of depth at safety. I like Brodney Poole a lot, and Abram Elam is, for better or for worse, a very similar player to Sean Jones, the guy he will be replacing. The problem is that beyond those two, there's nobody waiting in the wings who I am comfortable sending onto the field on any given Sunday.

Jeff Smirnoff:
Linebacker. The 3-4 defense is all about the front three eating up blockers to allow the linebackers to make plays at or behind the line of scrimmage. This requires hard hitting, aggressive ILBs and OLBs who can generate a pass rush. The Browns have no such playmakers at linebacker currently. Maybe Alex Hall can develop. Maybe Kamerion Wimbley can return to his rookie form but those are maybes. D’Qwell Jackson is a solid second ILB but not an impact ILB the Browns sorely need. Until they address the LB core the team’s growth will be stunted.

Which player on the defensive side of the ball most needs to "make the leap" to help the Browns evolve into a competent defense?

Samantha Bunten:
D'Qwell Jackson is the guy who needs to "make the leap", and for once, the Browns may actually get what they need, as Jackson is capable of doing it. Jackson is already a standout at LILB and should only get better.

He's very accurate and misses blocks well. What he needs to improve on is his aggressive play, from forcing more turnovers to performing better in coverage and adapting to the new 3-4 scheme adopted by the defense this season. Jackson has the athleticism and the mental ability to do what he needs to do to make the leap, and hopefully, this will positively impact for the entire defense.

Jeff Smirnoff:
Abram Elam, no doubt. It would help if Alex Hall could develop into an impact OLB or Kamerion Wimbley would revert back to his rookie form but it all rests on Elam. The Browns have needed a leader and hard hitter in the defensive backfield since Brian Russell was not resigned. The 3-4 is all about impact LBs and a smash mouth safety. There are no impact LBs evident as of today but Elam has shown flashes of being able to take control at safety. If he can fill it, its one less huge hole they don’t need to address in the off-season. If not, someone page Taylor Mays of USC.

The Browns have a number of rookies that have a chance to make an impact. Who do you think steps up and becomes a player this season?

Samantha Bunten:
If Alex Mack can own the Center's position and wrest it away - permanently - from Hank Fraley, he could have a huge impact on helping Brady Quinn's game. Mack struggled in camp, but lined up at Center for the final three pre-season games, indicating that Mangini is considering him for the position as much as Fraley. Mangini has stated that he isn't opposed to playing both, but I think for Quinn's sake, it would be far better to be lined up behind the same guy every week. If Mack steps up, he could be that guy.

Massaquoi, as mentioned above, could be an impact receiver if he can hold onto the ball, particularly in heavy traffic. David Veikune was great at getting to the quarterback in college. If he can duplicate that in the NFL, he could be huge.

Jeff Smirnoff:
Kaluka Maiava on special teams and James Davis on offense. Maiava was in on every tackle on special teams. Rookie WRs hardly ever make a huge impact so Brian Robiskie and Mohamed Massaquoi are out. David Veikune is adjusting to moving NFL OLB from NCAA DE which will take time. Alex Mack will start but offensive lines take time to gel. Davis has a chance to take advantage of a worn down Jamal Lewis and injury prone Jerome Harrison and become and intricate part of the Browns’ offense. The second year in a row that the Browns’ last draft pick is their best.

OK, call your shot. What record do the Browns finish at in 2009 and why?

Samantha Bunten:
I'll say the Browns finish at 5-11, but will be better than their record indicates. The schedule-makers didn't do the Browns any favors this year, just as being in the tough AFC North hurts them by forcing them to play a quarter of their schedule against the likes of Pittsburgh and Baltimore.

Their weakest opponents, like Kansas City and Denver, are unfortunately road games. The Browns are going to have to fight hard for every victory this season. Let's hope they're up to the challenge

Jeff Smirnoff:
Until I actually see the Browns punch the Appalachian Inbred and Ratbirds back when they get punched themselves I can not pick them to beat their two historic rivals. Throw in the Bengals being improved if Carson Palmer is healthy and I don’t see more than one win in the division. I see them splitting the other 10 games for a 6-10 record. I think the offense begin to gel under Quinn with the O line and rookies developing but the defense will hold them back until they get playmakers at safety and linebacker. Too many good QBs on the schedule to exploit the defense.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Browns' 2009 Can Not Be Judged by Wins Alone

With the Cavaliers falling short in the NBA play-offs and the Indians’ reverting back to their mid-1980s ineptitude, Cleveland fans are starved for some winning. With the NFL about to kick-off 2009, the Browns don’t look like they are going to change that trend anytime soon but when it comes to this season the Browns can not be judged by their record.

Lacking an identity from the top down since their reincarnations, the Browns’ have been mismanaged by three separate regimes since the Lerner Family was awarded the franchise in 1999. Eric Mangini is the latest to take a chance at rebuilding the once proud franchise after three up an down years at the helm of the New York Jets.

What Mangini lacks in personality and forthrightness he makes up with attention to detail and accountability. The latter is something that has been missing in Cleveland for a long time. While Mangini may or may not be able to generate a wining record in his first year along the shores of Lake Erie how he builds and constructs the team is of much more importance.

Since their return, the Browns have not just played bad football. At times, it would be hard to classify the product on the field as professional football. If Mangini can make the Browns look like a professional football team for 16 weeks, it would be a giant step in the right direction.

Minimal penalties, competent games plans and putting players in a position to succeed are things that have not been seen on the North Coast for the last ten years. These things along with crisp execution and motivation need to be laid as the foundation to establish a consistent winning franchise in the NFL.

While establishing this foundation is key, the wins will not follow quickly in 2009 as the Browns face a serious lack of talent on both sides of the ball. This is why the 2009 campaign can not be judge by the win column. How many players and at what positions are what Mangini’s Browns should be evaluated upon.

ON offense it’s time to turn over the reigns to Brady Quinn and see what he can do. A first round draft pick QB needs at least two seasons to be evaluated properly. Brady Quinn has had 3 games. The likes of Ryan Leaf, Akili Smith and Heath Shuler have gotten more than that.

No offense to Derek Anderson but we have seen what he is and is not capable of. He may be a serviceable NFL QB but the need to evaluate Quinn is paramount to 2009. Because if neither Quinn nor Anderson is the answer then the Browns have a huge hole they need to fill for 2010 and beyond.

The rest of the offense is young and their development must parallel Quinn’s. A number of question need to be answer that will determine the direction of the franchise for 2009 and beyond.

Can James Davis and Jerome Harrison be a formative duo to supplant Jamal Lewis in 201 if not sooner? How will Brian Robiskie and Mohammed Massaquoi develop as compliments to Braylon Edwards? Does Edwards fit into Cleveland’s long term plans and can he realize the enormous potential that rests deep inside.

The Browns also need to develop a cohesive offensive line. The offensive line is always more than the sum of its parts. In 2007, moving Ryan Tucker to guard somehow made The Human Parking Cone, Kevin Shaffer, into a serviceable NFL right tackle. Rookie Alex Mack is thrown into the fire at center with Joe Thomas and Eric Steinbach anchoring the left side of the line. How this unit gels will undoubtedly affect the development of the offense as a whole.

The defense is an even bigger cause for concern. Shaun Rogers looks to me the only playmaker on that side of the ball in a defense that desperately needs more. The 3-4 defense demands a hard hitting impact player at ILB. D’Qwell Jackson may be a good second ILB but the Browns will need to find and develop a playmaker.

They also lack the pass rush from the OLB position that Kamerion Wimbley provided in 2006 but has been unable to replicate since. With out that pass rush young CBs like Eric Wright and Brandon McDonald are left on island more often that not for way longer than a DB should have to cover.

The safety position is also a concern as Abe Elam has looked shaky in pre-season and Brodney Pool suffered yet another concussion that may inevitably cut his career short. A rugged, ball-hawking safety needed to lead the defensive backfield and set the tone across the middle. The Browns have no one ready to fill that role.

So they key for the Browns in 2009 is not how many games they win, but how many players they can develop. Because if they can fill a number of personnel voids internally this year it will minimize the areas that they have to focus on in 2010. If they do not have the players in place to fill some of these needs, or they are incapable of developing them, then the Browns face a much steeper mountain than they already do climb back to respectability.

In a city that is starved for sports related success, the words patience, progress and development are not popular ones. But when it comes to the 2009 Cleveland Browns they are the only ones that can be used to accurately gauge if their campaign is a successful one of not, regardless of what the win column says.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Deja Vu Debut

Well that was definitely worth the wait. Ineffective quarterback play. Porous run defense. Inopportune penalties. Bad tackling. Failure to capitalize on opportunities. All were consistent traits of the Romeo Crennel led Cleveland Browns for the past four seasons. Unfortunately for Eric Mangini they were all traits of the Cleveland Browns in his head coaching debut, a 17-0 whitewash at the hands of the Green Bay Packers.

Mangini was brought into Cleveland to instill hard work, discipline and work ethic to a floundering franchise. An actual touchdown would be nice for starters as the Browns failed to find the endzone on offense again after six straight games with the same problem in 2008.

The only difference was that in this game the Browns actually were thought to have two “capable” quarterbacks at their disposal and not placeholders named Ken Dorsey or Bruce Gradkowski. But neither Brady Quinn nor Derek Anderson was able to put points on the board against a Green Bay defense that was using the 3-4 against live competition for the first time.

Quinn started and looked very effective out of the gate hitting crafty veteran Mike Furrey on a couple of third downs during the opening Browns drive to move the chains. Jamal Lewis ran tough as the Browns mixed the run and pass effectively and a well timed end around to Josh Cribbs netted 29 yards, which ws the Browns’ high rushing total for the game.

In the end, Quinn was unable to put any points of the board as he misfired on a third down pass to Cribbs and the Browns has to settle for a 31 yard field goal attempt by Phil Dawson. That kick split the uprights but a holding penalty by Hank Fraley pushed the kick back 10 yards and Dawson pushed the ensuing kick wide right to give the Browns nothing for their troubles.

Anderson fared no better as he led two drives that totaled five official plays. A three and out on the second series of the game and a two play drive that started on the 50 yard line after a Mason Crosby miss of a 60 yard field goal. The three and out was much better than the second series as Anderson was picked after being hit while throwing on the second play of the drive. Even worse, both series took place against the Packers’ second string defense.

Quinn returned on the last series of the half as the Browns ran the two minute drill down 14-0. He used Furrey, Cribbs and new tight end Robert Royal to put the Browns into the Red Zone for a second time. But the results were the same as the Browns were held scoreless once again. Braylon Edwards dropped a touchdown in the back of the endzone on a difficult but catchable ball on Second and Goal. On Third and Goal Quinn scrambled and went back to Edwards but was intercepted by Anthony Smith.

In the end, no light was shed on the quarterback conundrum that the Browns face as Quinn failed to make plays when he needed to and Anderson was not given enough of an opportunity (5 plays) to establish a rhythm. Those hoping for The Brett Ratliff Experience to provide hope were treated to two quarters of skittish play that resulted in three sacks and two interceptions.

Those hanging their hat on the defense being improved under Mangini and Rob Ryan were also left disappointed despite allowing only 17 points. The Green Bay first team offense carved up the Browns’ defense for 14 points in two series with very little effort. In fact, the Green Bay offense held the ball so much in the first half in only allowed Quinn and Anderson two series apiece.

Aaron Rodgers took advantage of Abe Elam on the first drive of the evening. On Third and 10, with the Browns only rushing three, Rodgers surveyed the field with no one open. He scrambled and stepped up in the pocket and that was enough to entice Elam to break towards the line of scrimmage and allow Donald Driver to blow past him. Rodgers hit him in perfect stride for 53 yard touchdown and a 7-0 lead.

The Packers’ second possession yielded the same result as they methodically marched down the field on a 12 play, 68 yard drive that culminated in a Ryan Grant touchdown and a 14-0 lead. Rodgers picked apart the Browns defense through the air while Grant, Brandon Jackson and DeShawn Wynn ran all over the field on the ground.

In the end the Browns defense conceded 392 yards to the Packers with 230 of them being on the ground. The lack of consistent pressure that was common during the Crennel years was still in place under Ryan and Mangini. Defensive holding penalties and too many men on the field infractions extended both Packers’ touchdown drive in the first quarter.

Ahtyba Rubin and Kendrick Moseley were the only two Browns to stand out on defense providing constant pressure and activity thought the first half. Rookies Coye Fancies and David Veikune were recipients of interceptions from Brian Brohm but those picks only prevented the score from being more lopsided.

In the end the Browns were left with the same questions that seem to have plagued them for the ten years since their reincarnation in 1999. Do they have an NFL quarterback on the roster? Can they effectively stop the run on defense? Do they have impact playmakers on either side of the ball that can change the course of a game? Do they have enough talent on their roster to be competitive in the brutal AFC North?

In fact, the night was symbolized perfectly by the solid, brown pants that they wore for the first time since the pre-season debacle in New York last season. Instead of being ready for prime time, the 2009 Cleveland Browns looked exactly the same as the 2008 model… the same color of their pants. Complete and udder crap.

The Detroit Lions come to the Erie Shore next weekend for pre-season week number two. The Lions went 0-16 last season but anyone who watched the Browns for the last six weeks of 2008 knows that the Lions were not the worst team in the NFL during that time. For Cleveland’s sake they better hope they can change that in the next seven days or its going to be a long 17 weeks in the regular season.