Sunday, September 30, 2007

Hello Cleveland!

Boy did the Browns and Ravens prove me wrong today. I've never been so glad to be so wrong.

Going into the season, conventional wisdom was that, given our schedule, the Browns' best-case scenario going into the bye-week was two wins. Well, we will meet that goal even if we don't beat Miami in two weeks. Part of that is because Cincinnati and Baltimore are playing worse than most expected ,but I'll take it. After that opening bust against the Steelers, I couldn't in a million years predict that we'd be at 2-2.

That offense looked downright competent. They hit some big plays. They did a good job of grinding out some drives and converting third downs. The play calling might have got a little conservative towards the end, but I have no room to complain, it did the job.

Derek Anderson might have settled in. If he could learn to avoid more of the dumb mistakes, and to put more touch on the shorter passes, he could prove to be a respectable starting quarterback. At the very least, he's looking like a great long term back-up (if not trade bait if someone wants to start him).

Jamal Lewis was his normal boom-or-bust self. He is doing an OK job so far this season, but I still look forward to someday having a more steady running back.

But how about that offensive line? No sacks against the Ravens, can that happen?

The defense looked only a little better this week, but I have a feeling this is the best we can hope for this season. Its enough to slow down the other team and prevent the big plays. The turnovers were HUGE. So was keeping the Ravens out of the endzone on a couple of redzone opportunities. But until the young secondary and linebackers show some improvement, giving up 400 yards is more likely than not par for the course.

After we were up 14-0, I popped a video in the VCR and started taping for review. Hopefully I will be able to make some insightful comments (or something) after reviewing. But for now, I'm just going to bask in a defeat of the Ravens. And the steelers lost too!!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Oooh Nelly

I haven't been posting because I don't know what to say about this team. I did not get to see last Sunday's game, but from the sounds of it we should be ashamed we didn't find a way to beat Oakland. Coaches and players deserve blame. When Ace Davis starts taking (spot on) shots at the coach, you know his tenure is tenuous.

This week I will get to see the game since its on in my area. Let me provide a preview of what I expect to see:

>> Savvy quarterback and receivers finding holes in the coverage and mistakes by inexperienced players.
>> Power running plowing through as bad a run defense as we've seen since the rebirth
>> A disciplined run defense keeping our boom-or-bust running back from breaking anything big, leading to 50 - 60 yards on 20 attempts.
>> An aggressive pass rush that hurries a young QB and keeps him from establishing a rhythm, leading to sacks and interceptions.

Needless to say, I'm not optimistic.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Two weeks of offense for the price of one

I have nothing to say. That offensive performance was as awesome as it was surprising. I'll let the video do the talking:

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

So how about them Indians?

I should have expected that Sunday would end up like it did when I was in the Emergency Room by 9AM*. Little did I know at the time, but the day would hold much bigger injuries.

I don't have much to say that other people haven't already said. The Browns stunk, the Steelers looked good. Terry Pluto sums it up pretty well: The truth of the matter is, we were bad everywhere, and it was just particularly pronounced at quarterback.

Since the negative aspects of this team are all too apparent, I thought I would grasp at straws for one reason to have hope:

In the 2007 Profootball Prospectus chapter on the Browns is an article titled "How Important is Offensive Line Continuity?" Looking at seven seasons worth of data, they came up with a metric to determine how much continuity each team has in their line from week-to-week.

Of course, the Browns had the worst continuity in the league over that seven year period. Not only have we had alot of bad guys on our line, but they've been getting hurt pretty regularly.

They then took this continuity statistic and compared it to various measures of offensive line success (eg wins, sack rates, false starts, etc). The unsurprising answer was that there was a very measurable correlation between continuity and success. That doesn't mean its enough to field 5 hacks on the line as long as its the same 5 hacks all season, because continuity doesn't cause success. Its probably much more the case that lack of continuity prevents success.

I bring this all up, because in that travesty that we call "Week 1", Eric Steinbach and Kevin Schaffer were both playing for the first time in weeks. Not only would you expect them to be a little rusty, but this is also the first time in a while that the line has played together.

As the season goes on, if we can avoid injuries, the line should improve, even if none of the individual players get any better.

*Not to fear, they saved the finger and I'll be good as new in a couple weeks.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


Charlie Frye's gone? I haven't even gotten to finish my post about Sunday's game yet!

Not that I'm upset with Frye being gone, after what I saw last Sunday. But management has some SERIOUS 'splainin' to do. A guy going from erstwhile starting QB to cast-off afterthought after less than a half of play, no matter how horrible that less than a half was, suggests total incompetence is pulling the strings.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Go Browns!

I'm out for the weekend. Headed to West Virginia (defacto steelers country, but what are you gonna do?) for some camping and watching some football. As in real, actual football.

I've been working for something like a month on a sweeping review of Cleveland Browns blogs, and I think I'm almost done. I've collected my data, I'm just working on figuring out HTML coding. Unfortunately, all my coding experience from my TI-81 in high school doesn't translate, but I think I have it just about there.

So no posts from me until after we pound the steelers. Until then, go Browns!


Just as you think we should have a healthy, intact defense (sans McGinest and Baxter) for at least the first game of the season, reports are that Leigh Bodden goes and gets himself arrested at the airport.

When I first saw the headline I was expecting something bad. But it was for disorderly conduct. He was trying to pick up his girlfriend who was travelling alone with their 2 year old and their baby during rush hour. He probably thought he was being chivalrous by doing whatever he needed to find her as soon as possible. So he parked his car against the cop's orders and mouthed off when the cop stopped him. Not exactly in the same league as running an underage child prostitution ring. . .

Too bad nobody ever told Leigh that airport cops are by rule Nazis (admittedly for good reasons).

Will this result in a suspension? It very well could, although I think any more than a slap on the wrist is pretty out of proportion. If he is suspended, would it start this week? Only if Crennel decides to impose it in lieu of the league, which I wouldn't expect.

So hopefully we'll see Leigh out there.

I like the idea of the bruce arians-directed spread offense against the Browns defense. Remember bruce arians, the O-coordinator who thought the best chance for a team playing in Cleveland was to implement a pass-based spread offense utilizing the talents of such Hall-of-Famers as Kevin Johnson, Quincy Morgan, Dennis Northcutt, and Andre Davis? Seems like the same guy is trying to do the same thing in pittsburgh.

The steelers spreading the ball actually worked against us pretty well last year. Albeit most of (and I literally mean MOST of) our secondary was hurt. But we should expect Bodden to shut down hines ward, and Eric Wright probably has what it takes to shut down santonio holmes. That means roethlisberger will be stuck trying to find his alternate receivers and tight ends. So expect a fun day for ball-hawks Sean Jones and Daven Holly.

I think we even have a decent shot at slowing down fast willie on his outside sweeps. Lets just hope no one tells arians that running strait up the center of our defense should provide all the offense that they need.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Roster cuts

The list of roster cuts has a couple surprises. The biggest surprise for me is that we cut three of this year's draft picks (Syndric Steptoe, Chase Pittman, and Melila Purcell) and three of last year's picks (Babatunde Oshinowo, DeMario Minter, Justin Hamilton). In their place we kept such players as Jereme Perry and Mike Adams.

This isn't necessarily a bad thing. It would be great if we could keep guys around, but on a 53 man roster we don't have room for a bunch of risky long term projects any more than we have room for mentors.

>> Mason Unck is on the injury reserve. Kris Griffin should be a good fill in on special teams. But it will be strange not seeing that name on the Special Teams plays.

>> They kept Charles Ali around as a back-up fullback. Thats not much of a vote of confidence in Lawrence Vickers.

>> David McMillan is still around. Once McGinest is back, I won't be surprised to see him cut for an extra D-lineman.

>> Nat Dorsey has stuck. With Tucker suspended for the first four games and Shaffer still recovering from his concussion, I guess its necessary.

>> Once Tucker, Baxter, and McGinest stop eating up roster spots, I won't be surprised to eventually see Chase Pittman, Babatunde Oshinowo, or Chris Barclay resigned.

>> I was sorry to see Justin Hamilton cut. He has a lot of character. I am sure he will land on his feet.