After another snooze-fest Sunday afternoon, the Browns are sitting pretty with a 2 and 4 record. The truth of this team is that the way they’ve played, they shouldn’t even be that good. The offense has been a complete embarrassment. Derek Anderson is playing like an undrafted rookie free agent that couldn’t make the Ravens. The offensive line looks like a Browns offensive line again, and Braylon Edwards has completely forgotten how to catch those oval shaped brown things that keep flying at him. This is another case of high expectations being placed on the head of people who can’t handle it.
I have not been sold on D.A. yet. He plays brilliant football at times, but other times he looks terrible. I know that certain quarterbacks have bad weeks or a stretch of bad games, but he looks lost. In the Giants game, the D.A. of old came out. He was comfortable in the pocket, because he didn’t feel like he was going to get hit. I would never claim that a professional athlete was afraid of getting hit, but his play is directly connected with the amount of times he gets hit.
The Redskins sacked him once, but knocked him down five times during the game. You can see how skittish he gets when he feels like he’s going to get hit when he misses Jamal Lewis on a screen pass. All he has to do is get the ball 10 feet to his running back, and he’s missing. He is missing wide-open receivers by FEET not INCHES. That is a massive problem.
All the blame cannot be placed on Derek, even though he is a major contributor. On the occasion that he does get a pass off to an open receiver it is usually to Braylon Edwards, who may or may not catch it, no matter how many guys are actually covering him. I like Braylon, I have for many years, but he needs to stop reading his clippings and start reading his playbook. A number one receiver and a quarterback have to know each other’s timing. They also both need to be running the same play. Braylon is not a great route runner, but it is easier for a QB when he is running the CORRECT route. He breaks too early, if at all, and that would be sort of acceptable if he CAUGHT THE BALL! No professional wide receiver should drop that many passes. (In high school I had to run if I dropped ONE, which was rare, but I’m awesome.)
To go on and on about Braylon and D.A. would only be putting a band-aid on a gaping cannon ball sized bullet hole. The biggest most obvious problem with this team is that bloated walrus looking Shakespearean character on the sideline. Romeo Crannel is not a good coach. Sometimes things are as cut and dry as that. He is not a good head coach. A defensive coordinator, good…head coach, bad. He has ZERO control of these players, which I account for all the mental, stupid errors these guys are making. First, why in God’s name is he letting Jerome Harrison collect dust on the sideline? He is not a superstar, but he is a player. He has shown over the past few years that he is a dependable guy that can eat up yards when he has the ball. He has good hands out of the backfield, and is a nice compliment to Lewis’ running style. But, he had 3 carried against the Redskins…3! Which if Romeo was a student of this game at all he would know that having a bruising runner like Lewis is a great asset, as long as you know how to supplement him with a smaller quicker back throughout the game
Next, like I said, he has NO control of this team. At no point in a game should your players be arguing amongst themselves about things. Vickers made a mistake; D.A. grabbed him ON THE FIELD. A mistake is made and that should be dealt with in the locker room during films. Not by your QB who is trying desperately to be the team leader. Braylon, D.A., Winslow, and back in the day Frye have all shown their frustration and aired them on the field. That is not acceptable. Romeo is not a strong enough personality for this team. There are too many egos running around on the sideline and he needs to be able to grab a facemask and put someone in their place. That is what these guys need, and they won’t get it with him. He is far too passive. Cower, Parcells, Fisher, Holmgren, and Billick…these guys controlled the sideline and have been successful for it.
So, is it time to panic? No, because they are still in it. The Browns have 10 games left in the season, and at the moment is no further back than 2 games of a wildcard spot. The D has played like a playoff team and they have the talent on offense to be a playoff team. But they have to get their heads on straight and play together. Funny, last week Kellen Winslow was not on the field and the team moved the ball just fine. Now he’s back and he is pissing and moaning about his GM not calling him in the hospital and having to be restrained by Jamal Lewis to shut his mouth. He says he wanted a trade, but was too “big” to ask for it. Pack your bags scooter. You don’t block, you bitch too much, and you can’t stay healthy. You are a Hall-of-Fame talent without the numbers. Shut your mouth and play, or get out.
I have to admit I don’t like the idea of pulling your QB in the middle of the season. It messes with the chemistry of the offense, and it can create a division within the locker room. I also think a two QB system (MICHIGAN!!!!) is a stupid tactic that only works when you are using Tim Teabow, but I digress. D.A. has shown he is not the future of this team. I still say the biggest off-season mistake this year was resigning him while his stock was so high. Teams admitted they would forfeit their draft picks (rumored to be a 1st and 3rd rounder) to sign the restricted free agent. After this year his trade value is not going to be as high, and they will be lucky to get anything above a 4th round pick for him. The Browns aren’t trading Brady Quinn and it is about time to get him some P.T. The truth is, this season is still alive and Quinn can’t do worse than Anderson is. He is a better QB and he has shown that he is able to shoulder pressure, and I know Jon will appreciate a Golden Domer taking the reigns.
My advice to this team is to check the egos, get back to basics, be a team, and save this season. They have 10 weeks left and anything can happen. But if things continue down this road, we may be in for another transitional period with a lot of new faces next year.