Review of Raiders @ Browns – Game #2
What’s that? Another embarrassing performance by the Cleveland Browns against an inferior performance? You better believe it. Turnovers, not stopping the run, and sloppy play did in a team that did not play up to what they should have. I’m pretty embarrassed at their play, and now they face a tough seven game stretch. Let’s review the poor play.
Quarterback – I am confident in stating that the Josh McCown experiment is nearing a close. The veteran signal caller was brutal in stepping up in the pocking, avoiding the rush, and hitting his targets. He only hit Brian Hartline and Gary Barnidge in situations and scored only when the team was down but quite a bit. Put in Johnny for the next game, but I fear the coaching staff won’t agree with me for quite some time.
Running Back – This unit failed to improve upon their performance last contest. Isaiah Crowell had a nice scamper to the one-yard line, then the Browns settled for a field goal. That was pretty much all you needed to know; it was a depressing output by the rushing attack. Duke Johnson made a few nice plays, but it was not enough to be content with position group.
Wide Receiver – Not hitting Travis Benjamin on the deeper routes was the downside for the wide outs. He made a few nice grabs, but the receivers did not distinguish themselves in this matchup. I was happy to see Brian Hartline made a few nice catches (especially during third down), but that was not good enough to make me feel good about targets for the signal caller.
Tight End – Outside of Gary Barnidge, the tight end spot was invisible and rather disappointing. The veteran had a score and several nice grabs for the team, however none of the other tight ends could produce on Sunday. I am still looking for E.J. Bibbs to emerge as a reliable option for this group, but the coaching staff still wants Rob Housler to play.
Offensive Line – The continued improvement that I was hoping for did not happen for the guys upfront. I suppose they were ok in opening up holes for Isaiah Crowell, but they did not give Josh McCown plenty of time to throw (especially in the first half). I do not know what it’s going to take to get these guys back on track, but the Browns better fix it soon.
Defensive Line – Putting zero pressure on the opposing signal caller will not get you wins in the NFL – I do not care if you are facing Peyton Manning or JaMarcus Russell. For the second time in three weeks, the Browns front three did not breathe on the opponent and it cost them dearly. I guess Armonty Bryant and Randy Starks made a few nice plays in this contest, but surrendering yet another rusher over 100 yards simply is not going to cut it.
Linebacker – Thirteen more games until Barkevious Mingo will no longer roam these sidelines. The former first round draft choice has been a huge bust and has not nearly lived up to his capabilities. I feel back for Paul Kruger, as he is the only guy who can make an impact on the edge. If Craig Robertson is injured for some time, I worry about the depth in the middle. Kirksey and Dansby are fine athletes but not shut down stars.
Secondary – Amari Cooper simply punked Joe Haden in this contest – the rookie got separation and embarrassed the veteran cornerback. Donte Whitner was not good either, and he appeared to be a step slow when in coverage. I am disappointed in the play of Tashaun Gipson – the free safety has not recovered from his injury last season. The only guy who is reliable (at this point) in the secondary appears to be Trammon Williams – maybe Jim O’Neil should put him against the number one wide out going forward.
Special Teams: Let’s look at the positives, Andy Lee is a solid punter and Travis Benjamin should still be a reliable punt returner. Travis Coons appears to have been the right choice at kicker as well. Let’s face it, the Browns did not lose this game due to poor special teams – hopefully they are able to be the reason for a win down the line.
Coaching: Keep Josh McCown at the helm is just delaying the inevitable. Mike Pettine must know that the veteran does not give the team the best opportunity to win an NFL game. Can Johnny Manziel be the guy going forward? Who knows, but the coaching staff has got to find out what they have with the first round draft pick. It will likely happen in a few weeks, but Browns’ fans are impatient (and deservedly so).