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Looking Back at Another Defeat

Looking Back at Another Defeat

The Browns Lost to Dallas – What Does it Mean?

This contest between the Cleveland Browns and the Dallas Cowboys was a brutal one (which was to be expected).  The home squad got physically dominated at the point of attack all game long.  The orange and brown were in no way competitive in this matchup, outside of two respectable drives.  Let’s delve a little bit further into the takeaways.

#1 – Another Strike for Erving

Outside of not playing too terrifically well, there is not a whole lot that can be said about second year veteran Cameron Erving.  He got ejected during the first offensive drive in this contest – surely that will not help his standing on the team with coach Jackson (who does not take kindly to those sort of actions).  I am not sure where he goes from here, but unless he performs magnificently the rest of the campaign – the Browns might be shipping him out of town next spring.

#2 – Awful Defense

I understand that Ray Horton’s defense got walled off and could not stop Ezekiel Elliot – as that appears to be the norm against the rookie of the year candidate.  However, witnessing defenders lining offsides on multiple occasions is unacceptable in the NFL.  I don’t have a reasonable excuse as to why these issues are present, but they still remain.  It would be nice if they can somewhat turn it around, but I do not see that happening any time soon.

#3 – What’s so Special?

I’m pretty sure the Browns committed a penalty on each and every return in this contest.  With an offense that is vertically challenged, they can ill afford to start deep in their own territory for most of contests.  It should be easy to not block an opponent in the back or hold during a run back, however the home squad still fell into pitfalls.  Like the defense, this must be cleaned up as soon as possible – but I am realistic.

#4 – Leaning about Kessler

Right now, Cody Kessler is a better signal caller than Josh McCown; he is refraining from making the big mistakes during contests.  However, he is not finding his targets on deeper tosses – which was a knock against him coming out of college.  Kessler is staring to show signs that he might not be the franchise quarterback many had hoped.  I’m not ready to give up hope just yet, but a signal caller might be chosen by the team early in the 2017 NFL Draft.

Conclusion:  This was just another pathetic output by a downtrodden football team.  I’m not seeing the weekly improvement that coach Jackson has been mentioning; maybe they can put it all together in the near future.  Now, it’s time for a short week and a trip to Baltimore.

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Posted by on November 6, 2016 in NFL Season, Players

 

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Lamenting this Loss for the Browns

Lamenting this Loss for the Browns

What I Learned from this Defeat: Cleveland Browns

I really thought the orange and brown would secure their first victory in the season this afternoon. It wasn’t meant to be and another clunker was the outcome for the Cleveland Browns. The team led early in this contest but they could not hold on and their furious rally came short. There are a few things I took from this game:

#1 – Second Half Adjustments

This point is rather simple, the Browns took a 20 – 7 lead into the second half and was beaten up pretty well in the second half. Matt Forte was running up and down the field with ease. Meanwhile, the Browns’ offense was stagnant (which is generous to say) after intermission. They scored a meaningless touchdown late but that was not enough to help with this comeback. I am scratching my head about this one, as this comes down to coaching – I would have thought that the Browns were better than this.

#2 – Too Young for Pressure

Every single time the Jets were facing a third down and a sizable amount to gain, Ryan Fitzpatrick dropped back and had time to complete a pass long enough to move the chains. Carl Nassib had three passes deflected, but other than him – no one was able to make it difficult on the veteran signal caller. The team desperately needs a guy who can knife through the defense and disrupt the opposing quarterback’s timing.

#3 – McCown’s Opportunity and Kessler 

I felt that Josh McCown would have gotten some kind of spark for this offense. The veteran signal caller has actually gotten the most from this unit, but he was the cause of this lethargic output that came out in the second half. I’m ready to move on to Cody Kessler, once the rookie clears the concussion protocol. Perhaps he will be able to actually win a game for this franchise. 

#4 – No Heart or Passion

I did not see any fiery emotions or excitement coming from this team. Maybe it is their record or the fact that about half of the stadium is full, but the Browns look like a defeated bunch. I honestly don’t know how they will rally to get their first win of the season – they are clearly fighting an uphill battle.

Conclusion: Halfway through the season and the Browns still have not produced a victory. I am very sad and disappointed in this bunch, but I did not have high hopes to begin with. Hopefully they can get on the winning track next week, but I would not expect that to occur.

 
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Posted by on October 30, 2016 in NFL Season, Players

 

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The Aftermath from the Browns/Titans Game

The Aftermath from the Browns/Titans Game

What this Game Told Me about the Browns

An early deficit, several mistakes, and another defeat occurred on Sunday afternoon – what is new for the Cleveland Browns? I still content that the orange and brown are not awful; they are simply young and inexperienced. However, I want to see them win a game and soon. What did the game in Tennessee tell me about the Browns? 

#1 – Their Safeties Might be the Worst

Jordan Poyer (before his injury) and Derrick Kindred were once again invisible in this contest – with a few exceptions. The duo allowed Kendall Wright and Rishard Matthews to get behind them for long gains in the contest. Watching a hurt Tashaun Gipson and ineffective Donte Whitner last season was bad, but what the Browns are putting out now is even worse. It should come to no surprise that this position will be improved upon this offseason. 

#2 – They are Prone to Errors 

The numerous penalties were inexcusable, as well as commonplace, for the Cleveland Browns. Be it the offense, defense, or special teams – the Browns committed infractions which sorely hurt the team. I’ve said it before, but am not afraid to reiterate this, the Browns are simply not good enough to overcome these errors and still expect to win. I don’t know what it’s going to take for the Browns to play within the rules, but until they learn this lesson the losses will follow.

#3 – No Depth at Offensive Line 

Clearly Joel Bitonio was the lynch pin for this team’s running attack. Without the services of the third year pro; the five guys upfront struggled mightily to pave running lanes for Isaiah Crowell. The bad news is that Bitionio might be out for the rest of the season, so the Browns might not be churning out running yards in contests. 

#4 – A Tale of Two Second Year Guys

Danny Shelton and Cameron Erving are going their separate ways. The former is rapidly improving and even notched a sack on Sunday. If he can continue to do this, then this could validate his early draft status. Meanwhile, Erving looked abysmal once again in the middle of the offensive line. His opportunities should be scrutinized and if poor play continues, the Browns might have to think about his replacement in the spring. 

#5 – Liking What I am Seeing at QB 

Rookie Cody Kessler is going out there and making plays. I really like seeing him stepping up in the pocket and delivering the ball to a wide-open option. His growth is apparent and I never would have expected it. I still am not ready to call him a franchise quarterback, but I want to see him play on Sundays (and I have not said that about a Browns’ quarterback in quite some time).

Conclusion: It does not get any easier, as the Browns have another difficult one in Cincinnati next Sunday. These defeats are not fun but that’s pretty much what the franchise signed up for.

 
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Posted by on October 16, 2016 in NFL Season, Players

 

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Defeat #2 – Browns vs. Ravens and Refs

Defeat #2 – Browns vs. Ravens and Refs

A Last Second Loss for the Browns

Clearly the zebras did not want the home team to win on Sunday – and a pair of suspect calls ensured that the team in purple got to steal a victory.  In the game, there were some encouraging things – but at the end of the day they did not pull out a win (despite leading 20 – 0 at one point).  Let’s look back:

Offense:

Quarterback:  Despite Baltimore’s best efforts to injure the signal caller, Josh McCown finished the contest.  He played well (outside of two poorly thrown passes) and was an improvement over Robert Griffin.  However, McCown will definitely not finish this season looking at the way he plays.  However, the quarterback was not a liability for the Browns in this contest – as he his Corey Coleman twice in the first quarter.  We’ll see his availability going forward.

Running Back:  Isaiah Crowell had a tremendous touchdown early in this game.  The runner has improved significantly from his 2015 form and I expect this to continue all season long.  He has been hitting open holes with authority and finding yards on the ground.  It would appear that Duke Johnson’s role is limited to occasional receptions – the back has breakaway speed, Perhaps he will see more touches down the road, but the opponent might dictate that.

Wide Receiver:  Corey Coleman and Terrelle Pryor are growing in this offense.  Each made multiple receptions and moved the ball well from the quarterback’s hand.  What was great to see was Pryor excelling at crossing routes – something not seen in the preseason.  I expect more big things from this duo.  Meanwhile Andrew Hawkins has been a guy who can move chains and is a key for this offense.  Hopefully the other rookies can find their roles in this offense as well.

Tight End:  Gary Barnidge has reemerged back into this offense; the veteran made some plays in this contest and is contributing to this unit.  I figure McCown (or Kessler) will be looking his way a fair amount the rest of the campaign.  I don’t know if Seth DeValve will be inserted into this lineup following the injury to Randall Telfair – but the Browns would be wise to carry two active members at this position group.

Offensive Line:  Overall, the offensive line improved significantly from week one.  Cameron Erving made a critical error in the third quarter, but it still was not as bad as his high snap.  Sacks and pressures are going to happen agains the Ravens, but I felt that the guys upfront did their job to limit the number of these occasions.  They have another tough test next Sunday on the road.

Defense:

Defensive Line:  Carl Nassib continues to play well upfront, and I saw a fair amount of him coming off the edge.  The guys upfront played exceptionally against the run; hopefully this is a building block where they can improve upon this performance.  There were no long gashes, and the team did not surrender several consecutive long gainers.  Danny Shelton did not stand out either positively or negatively in this matchup; I feel he is starting to settle in the middle of the defense.  I can’t wait to see them play next week.

Linebackers:  On the outside, Emmanuel Ogbah was all over the field both against the run and the pass.  The rookie was not dominant, however he continues to be solid in his production.  Nate Orchard tallied three tackles and could have been more involved in this matchup.  Meanwhile, Demario Davis and Chris Kirksey combined for sixteen stops and were around the ball consistently.  Dennis Pitta made too many receptions to my liking, but the linebackers cannot be perfect.  I would really like to see these guys take down quarterbacks more often; the came close multiple times, but Flacco was able to squirm away with little to no damage.

Secondary:  Amid much criticism, Joe Haden returned to form on Sunday.  The veteran hauled in two interceptions and kept Steve Smith in check (despite several passes headed his way).  It will be difficult to replicate this type of output, but I would not be surprised to see Haden play more like this than he did in Philadelphia.  As far as the safeties are concerned, Derrick Kindred showed he is an upgrade over Ibraheim Campbell.  The rookie was extremely active and his physicality was infectious.  He nearly had an interception as well – the Browns’ defense needs more players like him on this roster.

Special Teams:  Here is a spot where the Browns might have lost this game.  A blocked extra point, which was returned for two points by the opposition, and another field goal was tipped and sailed wide.  The Browns are not good enough (at this point) to surrender points these ways and still come out ahead.  Hopefully this will get cleaned up immediately.

Coaching:  It’s easy for some to blame Hue Jackson for the play calling after the first quarter.  However, the Browns had two third down conversions in the second half wiped out by penalties (which could have led to points).  Jackson knows what he’s doing and talked some sense into Coleman after his penalty.  The Browns are in good hands for the future, but there will be growing pains (which we saw on Sunday).

 
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Posted by on September 18, 2016 in NFL Season, Players

 

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Yet Another Loss for the Orange and Brown

Yet Another Loss for the Orange and Brown

Another Loss – Game #15 – Browns @ Chiefs 

It was a miserable start, but at least the Browns made it interesting before falling to the Kansas City Chiefs. There were ample errors, a turnover, and several missed opportunities for the Browns. The end result was a tough defeat and yet the team hanging their heads at the end of the contest. Let’s remember what went down for the orange and brown.

Offense:

Quarterback – I guess you could say that Johnny Manziel had a decent game. The signal caller made several plays – via mostly by his legs. However, the quarterback missed a few targets and heaved a costly interception early in this matchup. I still feel he should get the shot to start the final game next wee, but worry about his future going forward (a fair amount will be dictated by the front office, however).

Running Back – Both Isaiah Crowell and Duke Johnson was active in this matchup – both as rushers and as receiving options. I still feel each can help with this offense, provided the guy under center can move the ball at a reasonable pace. Duke once again displayed a solid ability to catch and run, while Crowell carried the ball well between the tackles. It will be interesting to see what happens between the pair.

Wide Receiver – It appears that finally the injuries to the wide receiver spot have taken a toll on the group. Travis Benjamin and Darius Jennings were less than stellar; Manziel targeted his tight ends and running backs more as a result. I guess Dwayne Bowe played in this matchup – he was as productive as expected. Maybe next season the Browns can get guys who can move the chains and excel as athletes.

Tight End – Gary Barnidge made a few plays when given an opportunity to catch and run. Several time Manziel over through his target and missed connection was a result – unfortunately that hurt the offense. Jim Dray mad a few receptions, but it was not enough to help the offense. I was disappointed to see E.J. Bibbs not get any chances, but what is new.

Offensive Line – I was extremely pleased to see Cameron Erving not get blown up and destroyed by the defensive line. I do not know whether the rookie has improved or if he was not getting challenged as much as he usually has been in contests. However, Manziel and the backs were not being harassed at the point of attack the way they have been.

Defense:

Defensive Line – I guess keeping Charcandrick West from getting 100 yards plus on the ground was a positive for this defensive line. They ground was far from dominant, but they could have been a whole lot worse. Danny Shelton was around the ball a decent amount, but I would have liked to see Xavier Cooper, Randy Starks, and Desmond Bryant corral Alex Smith in the pocket.

Linebacker – Along the lines of limiting the signal caller, I was terribly disappointed to witness the opposing signal caller run down the field on occasions. I guess one could argue that Craig Robertson and Nate Orchard made a few plays (including teaming for an interception), however there were many missed opportunities by this unit. Barkevious Mingo whiffed on a wide open shot at a sack – one more game until this awful bust is hopefully off this squad.

Secondary – Maybe Charles Gaines has turned a corner at cornerback? The rookie was not burned as badly as he usually has been, and was actually somewhat respectable. Tramon Williams, on the other hand, was picked on and could not help his teammates in defending the pass. I though K’Waun Williams did a decent job this game, at some point he may have to get an increased role in the NFL.

Special Teams: The fake punt was a thing of beauty – I was expecting it, and they were able to execute the play. However, another blocked field goal occurred in this matchup – this is beyond frustrating.

Coaching: In the second half of this game, the offensive staff finally turned Manziel loose and allowed the quarterback to run and pick up yards while not throwing the ball. While it will not work most of the time, it was successful at times in this contest. Defensively, they were not embarrassing – it will be too little too late for this unit and many will wonder why the Brown could not limit teams all season long. Another defeat and a game against the black and yellow is next.

 
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Posted by on December 27, 2015 in NFL Season

 

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Ugh…Another Browns Loss

Ugh…Another Browns Loss

Browns @ Panthers – A Look Back at Game #15

Well, what we learned again on Sunday is that Brian Hoyer is a better professional quarterback (right now) than Johnny Manziel. Overall, the team was dysfunctional, and they made their poor opponents look good.   When it was all said and done, it was another loss by the Browns. Let’s take a look back at the fourth loss in a row for the orange and brown…

Offense: The injury to Johnny Manziel was probably the best thing that could have happened to the Browns’ offense. The unit actually got their stuff together, and the signal caller hit Jordan Cameron for a long touchdown. Personally, I would like to see Hoyer back with this team next season, but that will likely not occur. Manziel has been horrific in 2014, if he is on the bench next season with Hoyer at the helm – then I could be complacent.

Isaiah Crowell got a few carries in this contest, and he was the only running back who got a shot at running the ball. He finished with just fifty-five yards on sixteen carries and gave the only glimpse of a running attack for the Browns. I was surprised that Terrance West did not get a carry – and the running game was not utilized at all. This is another area where the Browns can excel; it just takes a tremendous effort by the line and the backs.

Once Hoyer was re-inserted into the lineup, the wide outs finally got involved into this contest. This includes Andrew Hawkins, Josh Gordon, and Jordan Cameron. The latter had a tremendous touchdown – something a veteran signal caller would only see.   Gordon dropped an easy play on third down early and caught a few tough from Hoyer. I just want to see the veteran under center – he gets the most from the wide outs.

The injury to Ryan Seymour led to Nick McDonald playing back at center. The offensive line was less than stellar, but the guys upfront were less than consistent. At least Joe Thomas didn’t commit any penalties in this contest – the left tackle held his own reasonably well. I would still like to see the team draft a guy up the middle to help with blocking. We shall see, but that could really be huge for the Browns going forward.

Defense: Well, at least this game ended. The run defense got smoked in this contest, and gave up a fair amount of yards on the ground. Jonathan Stewart ran easily and had more than 100 yards in the first half alone. None of the guys upfront had success with great ease. The Browns’ defensive has been miserable recently; I’d like to believe they will get better going forward. The team needs to find some reliable guys upfront and soon.

So Solomon was the only guy who put a big of a pass rush against the Panthers. I was completely impressed with the play of the new member of the Browns on the edge, but no one else was very impressive in this contest. The inside backers played adequately in this contest – unfortunately if was not good enough to win this contest. Neither guy inside played well, but it was decent enough if the offense was good enough.

The secondary played good enough just to win, but they had to cover Kelvin Benjamin. The rookie tore up the defensive group, and converted against the secondary against the secondary. Buster Skrine played his best, but was unable to shut down the offensive unit. It was a respectable effort, but they will need a great effort to win on Sundays.

Special Teams: Garrett Harttley made a pair of a field goals, that was the best for the Browns’ special teams. The coverage team did not hold their own, but the offense did not give them a great opportunity to succeed.

Coaching: They let Johnny Football be himself, and it did not work. I was disappointed to see the lack of execution by his part. Granted, he is still a rookie, but he did himself no favors going forward. I always wanted Teddy Bridgewater last spring, and this game cemented this, hopefully Hoyer can play well the last game and the team makes a wise decision going forward.

 
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Posted by on December 21, 2014 in NFL Season

 

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So the Browns Can be Worse

So the Browns Can be Worse

A Look Back – Game #13 – Browns vs. Bengals 

Awful, horrible, embarrassing – use whatever adjective you want to describe that game. Horrible offense, bad defense, and little to no contribution on special teams was the name of the game for the Cleveland Browns. I was deeply surprised and saddened by this outcome. Without further ado, let’s review this rotten mess.

Offense: Johnny Manziel passed for only eighty yards and heaved a pair of interceptions into his rookie debut. The Bengals crowded the line of scrimmage early and often, and the Browns’ signal caller succumbed to pressure before he could complete a pass. I know he will bounce bad – frankly, he has to. There are a ton of adjustments that he and Kyle Shanahan have to make before success comes.

Seventeen carries for fifty-three yards for the Browns’ running game? None of the rushers stood out and were very underwhelming. That said, it might have been due to the defenders crowded the line of scrimmage all game long. Perhaps Crowell and/or West could bust a huge gainer with Manziel as their quarterback – but I felt a five-yard dash was an achievement today.

Poor quarterback play leads to bad statistics for wide receivers. Andrew Hawkins and Jim Dray each had huge drops, while Josh Gordon’s thirty-two yard reception was the only impressive passing play for the Browns. I will be under the belief that he can at least be like Brian Hoyer and get many guys involved in the passing game; the only problem is that he has to be accurate for that to happen.

Wow, what a miserable game by the offensive line. Mitchell Schwartz got beat multiple times of the right edge by Carlos Dunlap, while Ryan Seymour invited Geno Atkins into the backfield a few times. Joe Thomas’s streak of mental errors is appalling. The veteran is committing false start and holding infractions at an alarming rate. I am looking forward to Ray Farmer overhauling this group in the offseason.

Defense: Is surrendering 244 rushing yards a good thing for an NFL defense? Despite the facetious question, how can the front four look this badly? They got blown off the football regularly and outside of Desmond Bryant (four tackles and one sack), all defensive linemen were greatly underwhelming. The Bengals took the ball out of Andy Dalton’s hands, and the Browns’ defense could not do anything to stop their opponent.

Two of the best performances by Browns players were Chris Kirksey and Craig Robertson. The duo combined for eighteen tackles and the veteran hauled in a big interception. When the other seven are playing well, this group can be an effective one. On the outside, Barkevious Mingo and Paul Kruger had their moments – but they were far from effective. Kruger has been the only consistent pass rusher all season, the Browns must add a complement or two this offseason.

The injuries to Joe Haden and Justin Gilbert did not help a secondary that was already missing K’Waun Williams. Fortunately, Andy Dalton did not try to find A.J. Green too frequently, and when he did Buster Skrine was draped all over the wide out. Jim Leonhard did not make his signature play, was around the ball from time to time, and got beat a few times. Pretty much sums up the day for this defense – no one could step up and make a play.

Special Teams: Well Garrett Hartley still has not missed a kick in his Cleveland Browns career. The team was so bad; he did not even get an attempt. Spencer Lanning will likely have to take an ice bath tonight; the punter had seven attempts and averaged just less than fifty yards. The coverage units were adequate, but there were way too many of those today.

Coaching: When the Bengals were crowding the line of scrimmage, why didn’t the Browns try something to go downfield? Kyle Shanahan never attempted this; the offense was predictable and horrible. Defensively, they should have been focused on stopping the run. That was not the case and they suffered as a result. Time to flush this mess and move on to Carolina.

 
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Posted by on December 14, 2014 in NFL Season

 

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