Monday, December 31, 2007

Winning to lose

After a great season that was more successful than anybody's wildest dreams, I guess I shouldn't revert to the all too familiar "woe-is-me" post, but I'm a Browns fan so it is what comes naturally to me.

We won 10 games (and at least our 10 wins all came against teams that were trying to win . . .) and yet are sitting at home this January. Here is a list of the number of teams who finished either 10-6 or 9-7 and did not make the playoffs. This goes back to the 1990 season, when the 12 team playoffs were put into place.

Season 10-6 9-7
2007 1 -
2006 - 1
2005 1 4
2004 - 3
2003 1 1
2002 - 4
2001 - 1
2000 - 4
1999 - 1
1998 - -
1997 - 1
1996 - 2
1995 - 1
1994 - 2
1993 - 1
1992 - 2
1991 2 -
1990 - 2

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Offended by silliness

The 2007/8 ProBowl roster is out.

The good news: The Browns have ended their streak of shut-outs.
The bad news: There was some serious shafting going on.

I'll be the first to admit that ProBowl rosters tend to be popularity contests, and reflect past achievements and not current achievements. And furthermore, we all know how much of a team sport is, and how much of a disservice it is to pay homage to a couple guys and not the other guys who are allowing them to excel. But, it is what it is.

Braylon Edwards and Josh Cribbs will be representing the Browns. Thats fair. Cribbs by all means should be there, and its a rare example of the better player getting in over the higher-profile player (Wes Welker).

But how about Browns omissions? Kellen Winslow could beat out Gates or Gonzalez any day of the week. I would have liked to see Derek Anderson in over ben rothlisberger, not because I think he deserves it, just because it would have pissed off steelers fans so much. I also think that Lawrence Vickers probably deserves consideration, although I'll admit to not being the connoisseur of fullback play. Ditto on guard and tackle: I love what Joe Thomas and Eric Steinbach have been doing for us, but I can't speak to their comparative value.

We can complain all we want, but at least we've got guys who are there, unlike the Jacksonville Jaguars. . .

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Best. Game. Ever.

Wow, what a game! This was probably the best I've ever watched. It makes me wish I was a purist.

This must be what fans who reminisce about the old days are talking about. From the first snow covered shot, I knew it was going to have the setting of an old school Browns game. I just didn't expect for it to BE an old school Browns game, but thats exactly what it was. That was power football, a game of field position and execution. I wasn't too surprised to see Jamal Lewis and the Browns Offensive Line do such a good job. But how about that defense? We looked pretty decent against the run.

So now we're tied with Pittsburgh, and the only way we miss the playoffs is if we lose out and Tennessee wins out.

And Baltimore descends to a new low in losing to Miami. What a day!

Lake Effect

The game has just started. Here in DC we've been spared any snow, but turning on the Browns game I see that not everyone has been so lucky.

THIS is a Browns - Bills game. Hellloo Cleveland!

It probably hurts our chances of winning, but its going to be a game to talk about for a long time.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Stop holding down the shift key

I present for your consideration Jerome Harrison.

In three games this year, he has 16 carries for 109 yards, yielding a 6.8 average. 11 of his runs have been successful*, giving him a 69% success rate. He also has one reception for 15 yards. 11 of his runs have come on first down, and he hasn't had any third-and-short runs, but thats more a result of his success (he keeps running for 10-15 yards on first down).

Beyond his successful stats, the kid's running has just been exciting to watch. His cutting and spinning have helped account for at least a chunk of those 109 yards.

Now, I'm not saying he's ready to be the feature back, but based on his production, I'd like to see him get more touches.

* Gaining 40% of the yards needed for a first, or 100% on third down

Monday, December 10, 2007

Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder

Others call the Browns win over the Jets ugly. It was closer than I would have liked, but I always had faith that we would pull it out.

I think some are denigrating the Browns' performance based on the assumptions that the Jets are a terrible team, and we should have won by alot more. While the Jets certainly don't look like a good team, they probably aren't as bad as their 3-10 record suggests. And considering the number of talking heads who were falling all over themselves to praise Eric Mangini last year, I have a hard time writing them off entirely. They beat the Steelers, after all, and having to face the AFC East, AFC North, and NFC East in one season is a tough call for a young team with injury problems.

The defense was terrible as usual, particularly in the two minute drill. Clearly the Jets were getting desperate, which can help explain alot of their success. We were playing with fire by kicking to Leon Washington, but the Jets recovery of that first onside kick was a matter of luck.

It will be good to go home again next week. And if there is any justice in the world, the Browns Bills game should be on TV here.

Monday, December 03, 2007

My Name is Kellen

Yeah, we got a little bit robbed. But we won on a similar call against the Jets last year. The refs almost never call a force out.

I guess the ref's standard is, it has to be indisputable that he would have come down inbounds if not for the force out. Would Kellen have come down inbounds? Probably, he had the room. But its not like its that hard to picture him coming down with a foot out of bounds. We've seen him make the amazing catches, but I don't remember seeing him pull off any of the receiver-specialty tip-toeing the line catches like I've seen from Braylon.

Oh well, what are you gonna do? The answer is, you don't turn the ball over like that. Especially against a hurting Cardinals defense. As heartening as it is to see that our talent look like its genuinely better than the competition, it doesn't mean anything towards getting to the playoffs if it doesn't come together.


I didn't get to see the whole game, and I seemed to miss most of the big plays. So I was just purusing's offering.

A couple thoughts:
>> I haven't seen any frame-by-frame replays, but I can see how Bralyon wasn't down during his 62 yard catch-and-roll-and run. He was touched, then his foot hit the ground, and then he did his roll, and he may have been touched again after he bounced up, but I didn't see it clearly where he was touched while down.
>> In response to Josh Cribbs's punt fumble, the announcers proclaim you never run more than 10 yards for a fair catch. If the punt is headed straight into the back of one of your unwitting teammates, you do whatever you have to to try to get to that ball. If Josh hadn't muffed the punt, it would've been 50-50 whether it would have hit a Brown or Cardinal first. Course, it still would've been better if he had caught it.
>> The announcers during a part of the game that I saw yesterday were going crazy over a third down Warner completion to a diving receiver for an 18 yard pick-up. They seemed to miss the fact that it was actually 3rd and 22, so that reception meant absolutely NOTHING, unless you've got Warner for fantasy football.