Thursday, November 30, 2006

Savage: Quit yer Whining

Phil Savage held a press conference to back up Crennel:
General Manager Phil Savage said with emphasis, “Romeo has the total support of Randy (Lerner, the owner) and I. He’s earned his way here. He’s left a positive impression on hundreds of coaches. He was going to create a team-first philsophy, with discipline, hard work and unity. He brought an experience level to us. “The bottom line is we felt we needed someone to come in and provide a steady hand. We needed to regain the trust and respect of the players from the head coach position. He has done that on an hourly, daily and weekly basis. “He has the respect of the team. They believe in him. Randy and I are 100 percent behind him. We’re going to do everything in our power to help him rest of five games and next year.“
I'm glad to see that the people in charge aren't going hysterical, just because some vocal fans/Cleveland sports press have concluded that Crennel is gone.

Tony Grossi has been pushing the "Crennel is gone" story as much as anyone. He started the rumors that they're looking into Jim Tressel. He has also claimed that WTAM's calls from Crennel's head were instigated by Browns management. It looks like, with Roger Browns' departure creating a void in the Plain Dealer's Making-Things-Up department, Tony Grossi is pushing to be the new Man-with-an-ear-to-his-own-mouth.

To be fair, I'm sure Grossi does have some inside source who feeds him rumors. But just because he hears from Joe in accounting that "Marty in accounting has checked out OSU's web page to see when Tressel's contract is up", that doesn't make the rumor anything like true. And the fact that, who is never afraid to pass along any unsubstantiated rumor, especially anti-Browns rumors, hasn't mentioned anything about Crennel being on the hot seat really drives home how bad a source Grossi is working with.

I wonder how much Grossi was the story behind the "inside information" that Todd Grantham was going to be the next MSU coach (for those out-of-the-loop, MSU hired someone else to be their coach, with Grantham not even making the final cut). I know that it was a teevee station that first reported the "it will be announced after the Steelers game" story, but I doubt that Grossi wasn't at least part of alot of the "chatter". In one of his recent podcasts, he was blaming the Browns for the rumors getting out because "they didn't go out of their way to stifle the rumors" (I'm paraphrasing). So let me see if I got this right:
Grossi: Coach, is it true that Todd Grantham is going to be hired by MSU on Monday.
RAC: I don't know, and even if I did, I wouldn't comment on it.
Grossi: Aha, so it must be true!

Maybe I need to re-examine my trusting of the PD Browns news. I read them because they always seem to have stories that Akron Beacon Journal, Dayton Daily News, and Steve Doerschuck don't have, but maybe thats because those are just made up stories. . .

My feelings were hurt too

From today's PD (their news is still OK, even if their commentary is crap):
Ryan Tucker is out for the season with what's believed to be an emotional illness, but he told Crennel he wants to return.

Ummmm. . .

What, exactly, is an emotional injury?

And how is it the kind of thing that can strike in the middle of a football game, making the player incapable of finishing the game?

Only the Browns. We can't have things as simple as a broken bone. No, we have to have torn patellar tendons and emotional injuries.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Off with all the heads

With the weather growing colder, the sounds of salvation army bells as you enter stores, and the constant commercials reminding you which giftcards are the best way to show you care, its definitely that time of year again. With the Browns season winding down, with another unacceptable number in the W column, we need to find our new scapegoat.

Actually, we'll kind of be double-dipping this season, since we've already tossed Mo Carthon. Although, to be fair, he did just as much as the fans and the media to secure his role as "the goat". His playcalling simply wasn't getting things done.

People want Crennel gone. People want Savage gone. People want Charlie Frye gone. The usual suspect, the offensive line, is sure to be gutted. I've even heard someone calling for the head of Todd Grantham.

Its funny, each time we go through this, we do such a great job of finding the top personell man (Savage, or Carmen Policy) and the top coaching candidate (Crennel, or Butch Davis). We bring these guys in, and they are the solution to what ails the Browns. And then they're here for a couple seasons, and they transform into the problem. Its amazing. We had a problem before they were here, we still have that problem, but now these new guys are cause of the problem.

So we toss them. We get rid of the problem, and bring in new solutions. The faces keep changing, but somehow nothing gets better.

I don't claim to have all the answers. But I do know one thing for sure: Firing Romeo Crennel and Phil Savage and gutting the team isn't going to improve the Browns.

Patently Offensive

Not too much to say about yesterday. The team fell apart. Hopefully they'll get put back together.

I'm not about to worry about the sky falling because of the defense's collapses (both yesterday and in the 4th quarter against Pittsburgh). With our injured secondary, was there ever any question that we were vulnerable against the pass? I mean, we've got Ralph Brown starting for us. They need to be fixed, but we know they have the potential to be good.

My worry is the offense. Its just plain broke. I mean, they were shut out by the worst defense in the league. I kind of wish we still had Mo Carthon around calling fullback options, because then we could still point a finger at his play calling and say "thats why we're so bad". But instead, I have to conclude that the whole thing is broke. The o-line is the start of the problems, but Frye hasn't been able to pull off any excitement since week 3 against Baltimore.

Next up is Kansas City. That game could end up just as bad. Hopefully Davidson will get some suggestions from Mo Carthon before the game.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Maybe this is "That Game"

The Browns season has followed a pattern since 2003, and that pattern seems to be continuing this year.

They start off looking really bad over the first game or two. Then they seem to turn it around and win one or two, giving signs of hope, and get near to .500 after 5-6 games. Then, through October and November the Browns keep losing, but they play alot of close games where they give hope that we might finally turn the coroner. Then as we hope that they can finally turn it around going down the stretch, they turn truly pathetic and get totally embarassed at home. Only after they hit rock bottom, do they rebound with a win or two to close the season on a good note.

In 2003, the rock bottom came in a December game against Baltimore, where Jamal Lewis embarassed us with 205 yards rushing, and we layed a goose egg, with the final score showing 0-35. I was at that game, and I stayed most of the game in the bitter cold.

In 2004 Butch Davis was already gone, and we were giving Luke McCown his shot at losing for us. On Dec. 19 we lost to San Diego 0-21, as we gained 13 yards rushing. I was also at that game, and not only was it bitterly cold, but there was a blizzard. I left sometime in the second half as I was sick of my beers freezing before I could finish them.

I wisened up last year, and didn't bother going to any games live. We all remember the 0-41 shellacking by the Steelers on Christmas eve.

With us down 0-17 at halftime, looking absolutely pathetic, its looking like today could be rock-bottom.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

We already had the turkey

I was going to post with a list of things to be thankful for. But, A) thats trite, and B) it would end up being a kind of short list. After all, even if we've shown improved play nearly accross the board, the number in the W column still puts us on track for a top 5 draft pick.

> There has been alot of hot air swirling about Simon Fraser's hit(s) on Roethlisberger during the Daven Holly interception return. First Romeo comes out and defends Fraser, then TMQ, invoking yours truly, says that Fraser should be suspended, and then the NFL gives Fraser a $5,000 fine. I searched the various video sites, but I couldn't find a clip of the play (I did, however, find this awesome clip of Winslow PWNING Joey Porter).

Without reviewing the video, I have to go off how I remember the play. Holly gets a (very lucky) interception and makes a wild, criss-crossing return to the 3 yard line. While Holly is running through the area of Roethlisberger, Simon Fraser blocks Ben to the ground. Ben gets back up, and this time with Holly beyond the vicinity of Roethlisberger, Fraser knocks Ben down once more. (TMQ claims there were three hits, but I don't remember a third one).

A) The first hit, when Holly was in the vicinity, was perfectly fine. After all, if a Colt had given Rothlisberger a block like that during last year's playoffs, Nick Harper would've scored a TD off the Bettis fumble and we'd all have been spared the Steeler's Super Bowl. While Ben wasn't making any overt moves towards the ball carrier, he also wasn't making any overt moves away from the play. Now, I understand that the NFL will give the benefit of the doubt to the QB, but I disagree with that. I would give Fraser the benefit of the doubt, and would only call a penalty if Roethlisberger was clearly removing himself from the play.

B) The second hit, once the play had moved beyond Roethlisberger, was undoubtedly a foul according to the rules of the game. However, I think that Crennel makes a great point: If Roethlisberger was "removing himself from the play", then why was he getting back up? So that he could get a better view of Holly scoring?

The NFL should prescribe QBs some sort of fair-catch-signal-like manuever that will clearly define when they are taking themselves out of the play. After they make this signal, no one is allowed to hit the QB, but the QB isn't allowed to do anything that will involve him in the play. Until something like that is put in, its always going to be a judgement call and QBs will always have the advantage. Of course, if the NFL were to create such a signal they would be explicitly acknowledging what they now only leave to implication: QBs get special treatment, and they're more interested in having super-star pretty-boys ala Peyton Manning than blue-collar tough guys ala Simon Fraser.

> It sounds like Chad Johnson has a little bit of a mancrush on Leigh Bodden. Johnson always seems to have nice things to say about Bodden, except for sometime earlier this year (Bodden must have forgetten to invite Chad to his birthday party, or something).

"He's one of the best cover corners I've been able to go against," Johnson said. "He ranks right up there with Champ, D'Angelo, Nate Clements and those guys. Because of his ability to cover small areas of the field with no help."

In three meetings against Johnson, Bodden has two interceptions and one forced fumble. Johnson has 17 catches in the three games, but only one touchdown.

"He has a technique that he plays with that I've never seen before that he used the first game," Johnson said. "He was able to throw myself and Carson's timing off, our rhythm. It was something new that I never saw before and he's been very successful with."

Unfortunately, it looks like Bodden won't be able to play because of a sprained ankle. So Johnson is going to have to see how he likes Daven Holly.

Which reminds me of one of the comments one of the Steelers fans left (this is all sic): "The difference between a championship caliber team and a perenial basemnet dweller is depth, and the Browns have none, as eveidenced by the poor play of the corners in the fourth quarter." Buddy, NO team has enough depth to be able to field 2 to 4 shut-down corners after their top three cornerbacks go down with injuries. The Browns have one of the deepest secondaries in the league, and they are plumbing the depths of it this season because of injuries.

> Braylon Edwards' big mouth is developing alot faster than his playing ability. He's already apologized for calling out his own teammate for a dirty hit, but that doesn't really clear things up in my book. It should be a wake-up call to Braylon: No matter how innocuous your intentions, when you make comments to the media things can get portrayed differently than how you mean.

I have no problems with Edwards complaining about the play-calling, because it needs to be complained about. But don't ever throw your teammate under the bus.

> It looks like all the Grantham to MSU talk was premature, at best. I haven't heard peep about it since someone claimed that Grantham would be named MSU head coach this past monday (which, obviously, never happened). Since they were so wrong about that, maybe they were wrong about Grantham being the favorite, too.

> Game against the Bengals. If our offense can't get SOMETHING moving this Sunday, then they're officially done. The run defense has another chance to prove themselves. We've never been able to stop Rudy Johnson, so if we can pull it off this week we might be ableto say that the run defense is fixed. The pass defense will probably get embarassed, but I guess thats just because we "have no depth".

Monday, November 20, 2006

The trolls are on the loose

I've figured out where all the Trolling Steelers fans' comments have been coming from (I've been promptly deleting the comments. I already have a bad football team to deal with, I don't need idiot Steelers fans coming round to rub it in). Apparently the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette doesn't have the talent to write their own material, so they like to borrow it from Bloggers:

Its funny: Even though I've always put on the "I hate the Steelers" front, I had always figured that Steelers fans were probably decent, hardworking people like Clevelanders. But after seeing the Post-Gazette blog, and the comments that Steelers fans' have left over here and on some other Browns blogs, I guess may have to rethink that. I gotta admit, its really lowering my estimation of the people of the city. The Rooney family may be kinda classy, but the Steelers fans that have been making themselves heard seem to be trash-talking clowns.

Hey Steelers fans: You aren't Joey Porter, and I'm not Kellen Winslow. I'm just an average guy, posting about the Browns because the crap organization that we have doesn't give us a product worth watching. If your only contribution to the debate is to point out the obvious that the Browns stink, kindly just move on your way. On the other hand, if you really are looking for one Browns fans' opinions, feel free to stop by. Even once the Steelers start to suck, and all the Steelers "loyal" move onto new teams with fairer weather, I'll still be here, bitching about how bad the Browns are.

It could've been worse. . .

. . . but it should have been a whole lot better. One the one hand, at least it wasn't an embarassing defeat. The Browns continue their streak of being in every game. But on the other hand, man, we should've had this one. This loss is the worst of the season, because this is the first time we lost to an inferior team.

The offense is still broken. Plain and simple. The fumbles don't get me down as much as the inability to run off the clock. How many times this season have we gotten the ball back with a lead, and have gone three and out?
  • On a positive note, the run defense may be fixed. Now if we just had some healthy cornerbacks, we might have one of the best defenses in the league.
  • On that last TD by Pittsburgh, there was a really bad block by the left tackle that the refs just missed. But, we already know who the refs play for. It wasn't really a surprise to see that at least one member of this officiating staff helped "call" the Super Bowl.
  • There is no doubt in my mind that we would've won this game if any of our top three corners had been able to play. But when you're on your 4th-7th stringers and the other team goes into spread, yeah, they're gonna move the ball.
  • I'm not blaming the D for this loss, because they shouldn't have been put in that kind of position in the first place. But still, part of me can't help but wonder, maybe if we hadn't played so soft on those last two drives, things might've gone differently. At least when Grantham is named head coach at MSU later today, it won't be as big a dissappointment as it would've been if our defense had just won this game.
  • What was the deal with Holly's second INT return? I understand the Browns player's infraction (although I'm REALLY sick of the refs babying the QBs, especially when it seems like its always the other teams QB). But how does that put the ball way back on the 30-something yard line? I'd figure it should be marked off from the end of the play, meaning about the 15th yard line.
  • Another note of ref's babying QBs: a personal foul on Wimbley's QB sack with incidental facemask contact? Gimme a break. Watching the OSU-Michigan game really made me realize how bad the NFL has gotten. There were a couple QB hits that would've been flagged in the NFL where the NCAA refs just let the game play.
  • Kind of disappointing that Braylon Edwards couldn't beat Polamalu down the sideline. It was a great play, but it should've been even better. I he's still not 100% on his knee.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Pittsburgh week

Big Pittsburgh game this week. Kind of ironic that Steelers/Browns is happening the same weekend as OSU/Michigan, but where as OSU and Michigan are the two best teams in college football, the Browns and Steelers are fighting for the basement of the AFC North.

There are alot of quotes from the Browns locker room about this game, and the lasting embarassment from last year. Heck, Savage was pretty blunt that he was building our team with Pittsburgh in mind. Of course, part of that building was bringing in LeCharles Bentley to make Casey Hampton his bitch, and we know how that has turned out to date.

But, I don't think anyone is fooled that the 2005 Pittsburgh team was REALLY that good. They're more a testament to their idiot-coach, who inspired them to play beyond their level of talent. In the playoffs, they squeaked by with alot of luck (or, from Carson Palmer's POV, dirty tactics). In the Super Bowl, even luck wasn't enough and they were dependent on the refs.

Pittsburgh probably isn't as bad as their record suggests, as they've had alot of decent performances that were derailed but some very costly mistakes. But then, the same goes for the Browns. We're a handful of plays away from being 6-3 instead of 3-6. Lets just hope this isn't the week that Pittsburgh decides to wake up and try to go on another end of season run.

Our pass defense should again be respectable. Holly won't be able to shut down Hines Ward as he has other WRs, but he'll still be able to keep him from being too big a piece. I like Pool against Heath Miller. With Rothlisberger's problems this season, we should see some more blitzing on obvious passing downs.

I'm more worried about our run defense. I think that Fast Willie is more comparable to Warrick Dunn, so our success against Dunn last week gives me some hope. But I'm not yet sold on our D's ability to defend the run, particularly up the middle. With Pittsburgh's center likely not playing, that might keep them from using Davenport to be the bruiser. But Cowher is smrt (I mean, smart) enough to realize where our weakness lies.

Our offense has its own issues to worry about first, before we even think about what the Steelers bring to the table. If we can't run against Atlanta, we won't be able to run against Pittsburgh. And, while Pittsburgh's secondary has proven to be a weakness, the problem will be holding the Blitz off long enough for Charlie to be able to make a pass.

I see us winning if:
- Our special teams continues playing great. Richardson can help us win the battle for field position, our return guys will help him, and hopefully Borg Phil Dawson will be around to score when the offense fails.
- Our defense doesn't give up the big plays, holds them to field goals, and creates some turnovers. I think Pittsburgh will have plenty of 5-6 yard runs and 6-7 yard pass completions, enough for them to keep the chains moving. But if we can limit them to that, we'll have more opportunities to put some pressure on them and maybe cause a turnover.
- Our offense is able to establish SOME consistency. I see alot of three and outs, with our successful drives coming on long passes. If we can score quickly and force Pittsburgh to turn to their passing game, I think that our defense will look alot better than if our offense struggles early.
I heard alot of grumbles about Davidson lately. While I haven't fallen in love with our offense now that he's in charge, I just want to remind everyone that he has now been in charge for 3 games (4 weeks), and he is still using Carthon's playbook and Carthon's offense. There is only so much change he can do right now. BUT, because he's getting his time in now, he should be in a MUCH better position come next season to make the changes that he sees fit. So hopefully come July we won't be reading all those questions about "Can the Browns young offense adjust to their new coordinator?"

I've also seen alot of speculation about our next head coach (I think alot of it has come from Grossi, but I'm not sure). Particularly, about Cowher or Jim Tressell being our coach in 07 or 08.
A) Romeo isn't going anywhere. Even if we lose the next 7 games (provided they aren't blow-outs), he should be back.
B) Cowher and his chin may have lucked into/bought a Super Bowl ring for Pittsburgh, but I can guarantee you that he would not be the "missing key" to turn this franchise around.
C) Let Tressel stay at OSU. Even if he could get the Browns to mediocrity, it still wouldn't be worth it if it meant we would lose our DOMINANCE in the Michigan rivalry.

And with that note, I would like to close with a video that my good man Nick shared with me:

Link is SFAnywhereAnytime, but its loading slowly, must be alot of OSU fans getting refreshers. . .

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Its like Rush Limbaugh getting into sports (oh, wait. . .)

I usually don't comment on Peter King's MMQB because the guy is an idiot. I really don't even read it too closely, just scan for the rare nugget of information.

But something in yesterday's article caught my eye:
b. Last Tuesday sure was a good day, wasn't it?
King's reference was obviously to the recent mid-term elections. I assume that his comment is w/r/t the Democratic takeover of Congress. Now, I'm not saying that I disagree with his politics (not to say that I necessarily agree, either), but I just think its pretty classless for someone whose business has nothing to do with politics to go bringing up a decisive issues.
I guess its been apparent for a long time that King's articles are full of worthless drivel. I just thought that this was a new low.
But, it does make me thankful for the truly good, profession newsources. Like OBR.

Monday, November 13, 2006

This win was brought to you by the letter D

I'm not about to start gushing and call this win the defining moment in Romeo Crennel's head-coaching career, but I was pretty happy about it.

This is how our games against San Diego and Baltimore SHOULD have ended. And the main reasons this game ended with the Browns winning is because the defense was able to keep its play going through the end of the game, and the offense was less incompetent than normal.

I'm not going to say much about the offense. Winslow just pulls off the same old stuff again. Running game again is not the savior. Offensive line still getting shredded. Frye doesn't throw a pick (although his "streak" was kept alive by too many receiver-caused-interceptions for me to have been too down on him).

What I'm more impressed with is our defense. And even more specifically, our run defense. Amazing. They didn't shut Atlanta down, but the fact that we were able to eliminate the huge gains for TDs was key.

Brodney Pool is really doing a great job filling the roles that he asked to do. Forget Nickel-back, he's our official Big-guy-back. I wouldn't mind seeing him get more playing time, but with Russell and Jones there just isn't any need to fill in a young guy. He's going to make it hard in deciding how much to offer Russell for next year.

Man, how about Sean Jones? He making me hate Butch Davis just a little bit less. Great interception, great tackling. He probably won't be in the running for the Pro Bowl, but he deserves a spot.

Andra Davis looked alot more like his old self. Before yesterday, I was starting to wonder if he had gone soft since getting his new contract. Its good to see that he has realized there is a problem, and has taken steps to fix it. I don't want to give inordinate blame to him, but the loss to San Diego was partly because of his getting taken out of those running plays.

And Kamerion Wimbley again impresses. With his sack yesterday, he surpassed last year's team sack leader. In fact, his 5.5 sacks is nearly 25% of total sacks the team had ALL of last year. And beyond the pass rushing, he's really looking like a complete LB. And the way he was able to catch Warrick Dunn from behind. Man, this guy's speed is unbelievable some times.

Most importantly though, I'm just really impressed with the coachs' abilities to plug their guys into roles, and to keep the D's holes hidden. Simon Fraser, Leon Williams, Brodney Pool, all are able to contribute in specific situations, and are played in exactly the right situations.

One last downer note: I was on the road for the first half of the game, and was listening to the radio as the last seconds of the first half came to a close. So, I didn't see the 1-second-left-Supposed-to-Hail-Mary-but-Frye-Fumbles-and-Altanta-nearly-laterals-their-way-to-the-endzone play. So I'm not sure how much blame lies on Frye's shoulders. But, dammit, what is this kid thinking? There are so many acceptable outcomes to that play. You can throw the pass. You can throw an incompletion. You can throw it away, even if you're going to take a grounding call. You can kneel it. You can take the sack. But the one, single, unacceptable outcome, is to give up the fumble.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Maybe Shaun Alexander has been praying for us

As told in that mecca of Browns news, OBR, we have some good news that our injury list will be getting a little shorter and our active list will be getting a little longer.

-Ryan Tucker: Still no word on why he was out. It sounded mighty suspicious, and they still aren't talking, but at least he's back.

-Daven Holly: He was making some VERY promising (almost Leigh Bodden like) strides before his mysterious illness. I was impressed with his open-field tackling against Carolina, so I'm glad that he'll be around to help corral Michael Vick.

-Demario Minter: I guess he's not technically back since he was never with the team to begin with. But still, he was another of our promising rookies. While he might need plenty of work, we need plenty of warm bodies at DB, so this is the perfect situation to try to get him to get a little exposure.

Between Bodden, McCutcheon, Holly, and the youngins who still need to show a bit more (Minter, Jereme Perry, Mike Hawkins), we might be OK at CB next year even with Baxter out.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Frying Frye

After reading some opinions that are questioning whether or not Frye is our QB of the future, I thought it is necessary to clarify my opinions on him.

I'm certainly not ready to give up on Frye yet. He still looks better than alot of other young QBs that are playing around the league. And he has alot of extenuating circumstances that help to explain away alot of his mistakes (I mean, really, how many dropped balls for interceptions can a guy really have?).

My point was that we (and by "we" I mean the coaches) can't just rely on time to correct Frye's ills. The coaches need to be working with him to correct these things now. At this point in the season, playing to win should be secondary to playing to improve. And to see improvement, I think the coaches should make it clear to Frye that his job, even before winning the game, is to get better at protecting the ball and himself. That means taking sacks or throwing the ball away when he needs to.

If Frye can't fix that by season's end, I think that questioning his long-term prospects will be a valid point. But, its hard to say at what point we could say that he has "fixed" this. So, I'm not expecting any definitive answers by the end of this season.
Hearing these complaints about Frye makes me that much happier that we don't have a "qualified backup" on the roster. What point would there be in seeing Trent Dilfer out there right now, and Charlie on the bench? Unless we have another long-term starting prospect to take Frye's place (which we don't) I want to leave him in there so we can get a better idea of what he can offer us.
Its time for me to confess my ignorance: From watching a game, I could never tell one offensive blocking scheme from another. I've read about Denver's "zone blocking" plenty, but I couldn't tell that from Sunday.

That being said, this CBS article says that the Browns have gone to a zone blocking scheme under Davidson. Is that true? That sounds like a pretty fundamental change to try to be making midseason. And it definitely sounds like something that I would of heard of from someone else.

I'll keep an eye open, but this sounds like questionable reporting.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Second Verse, same as the first

Geez. San Diego (and the refs) do their best to hand the game to us, and we can't pull it off. 6 trips to the red or maroon zone, and we fail to score a TD, settling for field goals instead. Despite LaDainian Tomlinson's opinion, I don't see signs that we're "almost there". The gap between "hanging in games" and "winning games" is alot bigger than it appears.

The rushing game looked pretty bad. I don't want to get too down on them, because they were playing a good defense. But that just serves to underscore an important point: With the speed and size of defensive players who are playing in the game today, a good defense is going to be able to shut down (or at least slow down) even the BEST running game. So, while working out a strong running game is admirable, no matter how much better it gets its never going to get you all the way.

And that brings us to the passing game. Charlie did not look good. Passes in the wrong position. Holding on too long. And, of course, staring down his receivers. And some of his decisions. If you're gonna stare down a guy and make the pass, at least do it to a guy who isn't double covered. On the play in the third or fourth where Frye was running around, only to be sacked and fumble the ball away (reversed by a hold against Jurivicis), I was pulling my hair out as Frye had three or four opportunities to get rid of the ball and just didn't take them. I think that Crennel and Davidson need to make this their number one priority: Get Charlie to understand when to throw it away. Because if he can't improve on that by the end of the season, I'll be ready to call for a new QB.

What can I say about the O-line? Its not there yet. But when I glance at the lists of top prospects for the 07 draft, I see alot of Offensive tackles in the top thirty. So help me, Phil Savage, if you ignore the line in this year's draft, too, I'll be calling for your head.

The rush defense is still looking pretty inconsistent. They looked alot like our '03 defense against Jamal Lewis: They stopped the run cold most of the time, but when they didn't stop them, the back was able to get huge chunks of yards.

But, to not dwell on the negative: Romeo Crennel and Todd Grantham are officially geniuses in their ability to stop a passing game. They make Ralph Brown and Jereme Perry look like, well, Leigh Bodden and Gary Baxter. Kind of makes you wonder if Baxter and Bodden (and Holly) are really that good, or if its just the system.

Sean Jones is the real deal.

Kellen Winslow is the real deal.

Wimbley is looking decent. How did you like him almost catching Tomlinson from behind on that 40 yard TD run? His tackle attempt looked awkard, but the fact that he got close enough to make an attempt at all is pretty impressive.
Looking ahead, Atlanta is a team that we can beat. I think we can do enough to confuse Vick to stop the passing game. The big question will be whether or not we can slow down their running game. Also, on offense we should be able to run it at them. But we've gotta be smart about it. These runs up the middle are getting pretty old pretty fast. I understand that is Droughn's strength, but when it doesn't work, it doesn't work.