On “The Turnstile” John St. Clair- Seems that the only Browns lineman on the right side able to go right now is the one that I least want to see over there. Brent Sobleski of the OBR wrote a piece critiquing the line play (subscription required) in last week’s game against the Packers and had this to say about St. Clair-
A favorite whipping boy for some fans, St. Clair had a solid first effort. Although somewhat lumbering at times, St. Clair was able to get to and effectively block on the second level. He was only beaten clean once when he missed his punch. As a result, the defender had a clear path to the quarterback. The result? Seneca Wallace’s athleticism took over, he rolled to his left, and threw a strike to Brian Robiskie for a 13-yard a touchdown. As an potential starter, St. Clair may be ideal since he plays over his toes, he does not have a naturally deep kick step and he struggles on angles at times. Even with those attributes, St. Clair was not a liability against Green Bay.
First, I have to address the TD play. Just because Wallace made a great play rolling away from the pressure does not excuse St. Clair for blowing the block. That was a crucial third down play. Had Delhomme been under center I’m not sure he escapes, and Robiskie doesn’t break off his route and find the soft spot in the defense. And no, he may not have been a liability Saturday night against Green Bay (In less than 2 quarters of work mind you), but Green Bay is also struggling to find someone to rush the passer opposite Clay Matthews. That is one of their big question marks in camp this season.
On CB Eric Wright- On NFL.com’s main page, once you get past the two or three required Brett Favre stories of course, you will see a familiar sight. Eric Wright is featured in a piece by Jason La Canfora as one of his players that could become household names by the end of the season-
Other corners have great respect for his technique and cover skills, but Wright has been stuck on horrible defenses for most of his career. He won’t get too much help from the pass rush this year, either, but if rookie Joe Haden can perform adequately on the other side, perhaps the Browns can start building from the back on in defensively. He merits recognition for his work amid the chaos, and maybe he’ll start to receive more this season.
Obviously I’m in agreement with Jason. At least about Wright. I’m hopeful that the Browns will have a better pass rush this season, even though statistically they had a much better one in 2009 than I think Jason gives them credit for. The problem is that the Browns have to scheme and blitz in order to put pressure on the QB. Now Ryan isn’t afraid of the blitz, but to really pressure the QB you have to have players able to beat their man one on one and get in the face of the QB. The Browns don’t really have that kind of rusher, other than maybe Shaun Rogers who is frequently double teamed in pass protection anyway.
On Marcus Benard- The forgotten LB. Remember the LB depth? Anyone have Marcus Benard penciled in as a starter? I didn’t either, but the Browns have been working Benard with the #1 group this week according to Tony Grossi. With Jackson’s pectoral injury the new foursome is Benard and Roth on the outside and Fujita and Gocong inside. If Marcus were to beat out Barton, Tusnik, Veikune, and Maiava that would be quite a story. Veikune and Maiava were both drafted by the Browns last season, while Benard spent the draft weekend listening for a phone that didn’t ring until it was all over and teams were interested in signing the undrafted raw talent from Jackson State.
Look for our piece tomorrow on what we want to see out of the Browns game Saturday night in Cleveland. Also, it’s not too late to get good seats on the cheap for the game. A few seats under $10 still remain. Check out WFNY Tickets.