Monday, November 12, 2007

Silver linings are cheap

I'm nothing if not irrationally optimistic. Thats why I keep this blog, and follow this team.

This loss was certainly better than the first loss of the season because we can at least point to things that they need to fix. Albeit, they're big fix jobs, but after that first loss, all I could do was throw my hands up and swear.

steelers suck

Watching the game without being able to hear it at the strip club I was at*, I had no idea that we burned two timeouts on the challenge of the Miller catch. Yeah, that was idiotic. Crennel has some 'splainin' to do. I'm not going to be defending him against the calls for his head.

But I can't get too hung up on our lack of time to tie it up at the end. I can't even get too hung up on our crappy defense letting rothlisberger look like a good quarterback. Because none of that would have mattered if our offense didn't totally roll over in the second half.

Watching all those three and outs (or the particularly demoralizing one-Jamal-Lewis-fumble and out) looked like the Browns we came to know and hate over the past few seasons. Even when they took a break from the poorly advised run plays, the passing game was full of miscommunications. Anderson's protection was adequate, but less than solid. So many passes went incomplete, and while some were due to poor throws, others were due to bad route running (and liberal interpretation of the five yard rule by the steeler secondary and their reliably-friendly officiating crew). It seemed like even when a third and long pass was clanging to the ground incomplete, even if the receiver had caught the ball he probably couldn't have made it to the first down marker.

So I lay this blame on the offense. Got a little too conservative, and a little sloppy, before the game was anywhere near done. If they would have shown some life in the second half, then the defense and poor clock management wouldn't have mattered. But they rolled over, and based on our play over that second half, we didn't deserve to win this game.

Hopefully this loss will make the players hungry. Their play during the first half, and even during the very last drives on offense and defense, should be enough to show these guys that this team can beat the steelers. If they play up to their talent, maybe they'll get their shot in the playoffs. If not, they won't get their shot until next year.

*Don't ask. Let me just say that a strip club with the lights on and no girls around looks like any other restaurant/sports bar.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Flight 80 into Midway

We are officially half-way through the regular season. In past year that "regular" qualifier would be unnecessary, but this year its still a very real possibility that we could have more than 8 games before closing down for the offseason.

So what is there to talk about? Normally, now would be a good time to start talking about which coaches should be scapegoated, which untested rookies should be given playing time in what is already a lost cause, and which positions will be most important for the draft next year.

Instead, I'm going to figure out how we got here, sitting at 5-3:

>> No major injuries. Have the football gods decided we've be retributed against enough? I don't know, and I'm knocking on wood while writing this, but so far we haven't had any major injuries, other than the carry-overs from last year, and the guys who are old enough for the injuries to be expected.
>> A stable offensive line. Hallelujah, Phil Savage!! After all the years talking about "what if", this is an amazing turn of events.
>> A competent, smart QB
>> A receiving corp that runs good routes, and makes things happen after the catch, allowing the QB to look competent and smart
>> A kick returning team that provides regular good field positions
>> A punting team that (rarely) gives up good field position.
>> An offensive coordinator who isn't afraid to play to the team's strength and throw the ball alot.
>> A defense that, while bad, still comes through with a game-saving stop or an opportunistic turnover just enough to let us win.

My biggest concern is how much talk the Browns are getting from the national pin-heads. Its a sure sign that we have some disappointment ahead of us. But hopefully we can still pull out enough games to make the end of the season exciting.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

A nice Bad Situation

Pft is speculating about what will happen with Derek Anderson after the season, saying either someone will give up their first and third round draft picks for him, or we'll have to pay him alot. It ignores the third option of trading Quinn. But at this point, its too early to start talking about it. Closer to the end of the season, we should know alot more about Derek Anderson, and if he's the real deal. Then we can worry about the choices. But so far, I fail to see how any of these are bad situations. Starting Charlie Frye, now THAT'S a bad situation.


The Colts/Pats game is already getting too much hype, and I hate to add to it. But I gotta say, I'm pretty excited. Its like a good Super Bowl, but without all the annoying fanfare, bad musical acts, and twittering about "the commercials". Its just football (and 1.5 hours of car commercials). And instead of pitting the best AFC team against the NFC's least-bad team, its really the two best teams in the league.

Being in Virginia, I'll be able to see that game. Hopefully I can get a streaming video of the Browns game on the 'puter, and I'll be set.

FYI, I have found a way to get a free video stream of Browns games online. Its not a 100% sure thing, the quality stinks, and its a couple minutes delayed, but its a million times better than nothing, and you can't beat the price. To avoid it being too widely publicized, I don't want to post the link, but if anyone wants it, just leave me a comment with your email address, or email

Insider Trading

20 days ago, we were a 2-3 team with an inconsistent quarterback, and a list of opponents that (at that point) ranked as the strongest schedule in the league (as ranked by Football Outsiders).

We have since beaten two winless teams and had a bye week. Our strength of schedule has dropped to 14th toughest. Derek Anderson and Braylon Edwards are the talk of the league, and playoffs are a very real possibility.

Its a fun team to watch, certainly head and shoulders above past years, and thats one of the big things I want to get out of games. But I'm still not ready to call this a 180 degree turnaround just yet. We still have alot of football to play.

One of my own goals coming into the season wasn't necessarily wins or playoffs. It was draft picks. I didn't want to see the Cowboys end up with a really high draft pick from the Brady Quinn trade. Not because I have anything against the Cowboys, Its just I get annoyed just thinking about all the talking heads constantly pointing out how expensive the trade was, and how great the Cowboys did, and how much the Browns would need it, etc. So my hopes were pretty meager: At the least, end out of the top 10 in draft picks. We should be able to check that box off with two more wins. Preferably, our draft pick will be in the second half of the round. That might take another four wins, so it is certainly within reach.


I've read a few articles talking about how Charlie Frye will be providing the Seahawks with insider information about the Browns offense. Here is a sample of what he's telling them:

Double cover Kellen Winslow. Since the QB won't have his open target, your 4 men rushing will have at least ten seconds to break through, chase the QB around, and get a sack. If you rush 5 men, you'll be able to make him dance and fumble the ball. No, don't worry about covering Edwards or Jurevicius, the QB isn't supposed to look at those guys. Just worry about KWII, and maybe any backs that have broken off for a dump off. Anybody thats out more than 6 yards is just a decoy, he's not a real target, so don't worry about covering him.