Things the Browns Have Gotten Wrong

Let’s not call this article criticism as much as it is a “reporting of findings” combined with a dose of self-awareness. It would only be criticism if I called people names or questioned their overall intelligence.  I think I have praised the Browns overall enough this season that I can point a few things out that they have decidedly gotten wrong without coming off like a basher or the dreaded “hater.”

It is totally impossible for any NFL front office in the modern age to be right all the time. Even the mostly infallible organizations like Indianapolis with Bill Polian and the Patriots with Bill Belichick miss on occasion. Still, those guys are so good now that almost nobody will criticize a draft pick, regardless of Mel Kiper’s board. I think the Browns have gotten more right than wrong since Holmgren and Heckert have joined the organization, but they have missed some things too that are currently hurting the Browns on Sunday.

This is an obvious one, but the Browns seriously misjudged the wide receiver spot. A year ago, I was telling everyone that it was way too early to call Brian Robiskie a bust. Now that we are over halfway through his second year as a pro, I still feel that way… Last year at this time, it was too early to call Brian Robiskie a bust.

This year however, I am confident in saying that despite having good hands, Brian Robiskie lacks something (speed? awareness?) needed to play wide receiver in the NFL. Chansi Stuckey, despite the fumble this week against the Jets, is far and away a better receiver than Robiskie. It is obvious, and we are talking about a 27 year-old player who was taken in the 7th round of the 2007 NFL draft.

That is a bit of a breakdown somewhere between the front office and potentially even the coaching staff who might have decided the Browns were good to go into this season with the current receiving corps. I believe Heckert was on record saying the Browns were “good” at wide receiver. I don’t know exactly who the Browns should have added, but I can honestly say they would have been better off sending Brian Robiskie the way of David Veikune and keeping 37 year-old Bobby Engram on this roster to help them this season.

Although it hasn’t killed them yet, running back is another position that has been an utter mess this season after Peyton Hillis. I know on paper it isn’t painful because Jerome Harrison hasn’t done anything in Philly yet, but you will never be able to tell me that trading him for Mike Bell was worthwhile.  (Author’s note: Believe it or not, I wrote this yesterday before Harrison went off for a 50 yard touchdown run for the Eagles.)  I know Jerome Harrison was moody and had problems with self-confidence, but he just never seemed to have the same kind of irreconcilable differences that Braylon Edwards or Kellen Winslow had. Now that the offensive line is blocking like crazy, I refuse to believe that Jerome Harrison couldn’t be exploiting some defenses. Well, at least moreso than Mike Bell has thus far. And just because it hasn’t killed them doesn’t mean that it isn’t a mess.

Now, don’t read into this that I think the Browns front office stinks. Still, it is worthwhile as we notice these things to point them out. The Browns will have to find ways to address some of these things this off-season as well as some others like the aging defensive line, Abram Elam’s spot, and potentially (gulp!) Phil Dawson.

They say always to end on the positive notes though, right? Well, overall, I am elated with the new front office. Colt McCoy, Joe Haden, and T.J. Ward help ensure that. Combined with the contributions of Scott Fujita and Chris Gocong and the prospects of Shawn Luvao, and it is easy to forget some other failures. Failures like Tony Pashos… Oh wait. I said a positive note…

  • Chris

    I am loving Gocong these past couple games. Glad he got a mention.

    I have to agree and I find it weird that RB seemed like a position of depth and now we have “just Hillis”. We never seemed to utilize Harrison the way we should have in the run game, he got moody about it, and rather than work it out we shipped him off. I want to give them the benefit of the doubt, though, maybe those comments were just the last straw. Maybe they traded him as a favor. I don’t know what went on in the locker room.

    I really like to think the “we’re better than good” at wide receiver remarks were just the front office not wanting to hurt any feelings, and not the way they actually feel about the position. Our TE should not be our leading receiver.

  • C-Bus Kevin

    It’s unfortunate that Robiskie hasn’t looked better so far this year. And I know it’s not his fault the way the ball squirted out of the pile, but it doesn’t help that he dives right past the Chanci Stuckey fumble during the most crucial moment of the Jets game.

    However, the bigger mystery to me is Jerome Harrison. I just don’t understand how they couldn’t have made it work with him for at least a year. The Browns don’t have many dependable wide receivers, but they have less running backs. It didn’t make sense to send the only guy on the roster that gives you depth out the door.

  • matt tag

    The Hardesty injury is what put the RB position into chaos. Hardesty+Hillis with JHarrison as the change of pace guy would have been a solid group. When Hardesty got injured, and the coaching staff still in learning mode about Hillis, JHarrison as primary ball carrier was not a pleasant option.

    As for WR, I think this is just a case of Heckert and staff not being able to fix every position in one year. Not enough picks, not enough cap room. They hoped for some growth from the young guys and didn’t get it,

  • Carl Tassoff

    First off, I don’t “blame” Holmgren-Heckert for not addressing the WR this past off-season.

    Mangini had drafted Massaquoi and Robiskie with 2 high draft choices. He’d gotten Moore on waivers and he was productive, although he was more of a slot receiver then TE. He’d gotten Stuckey in the Edwards trade. And he was committed to making Cribbs a WR.

    So Mangini had 5 young WR’s on a rebuilding team he was committed to giving playing time to in order to find out who would excel. H&H did go out and get Ben Watson to start at TE and take some of the receiving pressure off the young players, and they drafted Mitchell as a project.

    So what do we have?

    Sunday the #1 receiver – Massaquoi – caught his first ball with 40 seconds remaining in the game. Robiskie did not have a catch Sunday, and after starting 9 games as a WR – has 9 catches all year. Moore – a guy with hands like Hillis, cannot even average 2 catches a game….he has 11 catches in 9 games. Stuckey is the best of the lot and catches some dink-and-dunk passes. Cribbs belongs in the backfield.

    Holmgren said at his first press conference – he actually chuckled – that you couldn’t win consistently in the NFL with the sort of passing the Browns were doing. He gave Mangini and the coaching staff what they wanted, he had Gil Haskell (his OC in Seattle) work with Daboll constantly from day one.

    Two weeks ago Holmgren gave his mid-year assessment, and in response to a question said the WR’s hadn’t been used enough.

    I believe the Browns season peaked Sunday – and they still lost. “Everyone” is so sure that everything is so wonderful. In the stock market this is the point that you sell at.

    Under Mangini (and Romeo before him) the Browns take a few risks on scripted plays to get a lead. If they slowly lose it (usually) then they lose the game. They are incapable of making an in-game offensive adjustment, and getting the momentum back when the other team has taken it. This has been going on with the Brown for 3-4 years now. (When is the last time the Browns came from behind in a game?)

    Last night you saw Heckert’s old Eagle team – coached by Holmgren’s old assistant and running his West Coast Offense – obliterate what is actually a very good Redskin defense. Andy Reid doesn’t play not to lose, he plays to win – and not starting in OT with 1:35 remaining and the ball on your own 3 yard line.

    Holmgren is not going to allow a team to lose twice as many games as it wins while “the process” is ongoing. Sunday was yet another game the Brown were in that they could have, and should have, won. But they cannot come back in games. (They went ahead of the Saints and Pats 10-0, and were able to sit on the lead.) And a big reason the Browns cannot come back or gain momentum is because of the WR situation, and the way those players are being used.

    The front office could only do so much in one year, and they did a bang up job. As for the future, keep in mind what Holmgren told Tom Withers when he asked why Homgren drafted Colt McCoy…..

    “he can flourish in my offense.”

  • Mmonast

    I was ready for the browns to cut robo after his half hearted effort to grab stuckeys fumble in ot…

  • C-Bus Kevin

    @ Matt Tag…I agree with you, but the Hardesty injury happened well before the Harrison trade. Once Hardesty went down, it should have been clear that they needed to keep Harrison for the season.

    As a side note, and this is with 20/20 hindsight, it didn’t make sense to take Hardesty any higher than a 6th or 7th round pick because of his past injuries. I know it’s harsh, but there’s too much money on the line to draft RB’s that have bad knees before they even arive at camp. Other injuries might not be as much of a concern (broken arm, broken fingers, etc.), but a few injuries should be huge red flags…ligament tears, muscle tears, and concussions.

    It’s a harsh reality, but some people are born with bad parts that break down more easily, and with draft picks and millions on the line, it’s bad business to take that risk. This also explains why “low mileage” players like Antonio Gates and #7 in Pittsburgh can end up being such a great value. They haven’t played enough to be broken.

  • http://waitingfornextyear.com DP

    They can’t come back in games… except the time where they were behind by a TD with 2+ minutes to go and forced overtime.

    Carl, I guess I don’t quite get your point. I want to understand your overall point, which reads like: “the Browns have peaked. They’re going to suck the rest of the way.”

    I don’t quite get why you feel that way. What have you seen–against three of the best teams in the league–that tells you the Browns will go in the tank the rest of the season?

  • whipjacka

    so one of this front office’s faults is having a wide receiver that was drafted before they got here? i’m not sure that counts as a homgren blunder. The defense was the biggest hole before the draft and you cant draft for every position on the field at once. What it comes down to is the browns had as good a draft as you could hope for and were decent in their offseason moves. you cant expect to make a huge jump in talent in one year. Incremental, solid improvement will make this team a perennial contender, not quick patches. Also, i think Hardesty hurt their depth to a great extent, although i agree that the Harrison trade seemed strange.
    i would say that our current issues aren’t because we got it wrong as much as the cupboard was bare going into the past offseason.

  • http://waitingfornextyear.com DP

    whip, I think Craig’s point was that the FO didn’t make any moves to upgrade the position. I don’t think he was blaming H&H for drafting MoMass and Robiskie; just for not upgrading the position when pretty much everyone else seemed to believe it was a position of weakness.

  • http://www.60bpm.com/ Robbie

    @4 — The Browns didn’t “sit” on 10 point leads against the Saints, and they DID come back against one of the best defenses in the league this past Sunday, with a guy who was supposed to be red-shirted this year leading them.

    The team has weaknesses and holes that I’m more confident than I have been since 1999 that the people in charge of it all can get it right. That’s why I’m optimistic after Sunday’s loss.

  • http://www.60bpm.com/ Robbie

    Sorry “…10 point leads against the Saints AND Patriots…”

  • Chris

    @Carl:

    It would seem to me that the reason the wide receivers aren’t being featured is because they aren’t very good. The browns are out there calling passing plays, and we have some smart QBs. It stands to reason that if our WRs were getting any sort of seperation, they would get the ball fed to them.

    So far the only time I see the ball regularly going to a wideout is when the play breaks down, gets extended, and cribbs pulls a nice move.

    I guess you could say the right plays aren’t being called, but isn’t it just as likely the rwcievers aren’t getting open on their routes?

  • C-Bus Kevin

    @ DP and Carl…I don’t think Carl watched last season. If he did, he would know that this team is leaps and bounds above last year’s squad, and I think their record will reflect that by the end of the year. I think 8-8 is realistic, and 9-7 is not out of the question. If this team finishes with “twice as many losses as wins”, then by all means, get upset, but I don’t think that will happen.

    The real test that remains for this season…beat the divisional rivals the second time around. Other than catching fire and going 10-6, the best progress we could hope to see would be going .500 or better against Cincy, Balt, and Pitt this year…a feat not accomplished by any coach or GM of this team since ’99…I think.

    Also, Mmonast…If Robiskie had fought for that fumble, it would have made up for a lot of poor play thus far this year.

  • Carl Tassoff

    They can’t come back in games… except the time where they were behind by a TD with 2+ minutes to go and forced overtime.

    Carl, I guess I don’t quite get your point. I want to understand your overall point, which reads like: “the Browns have peaked. They’re going to suck the rest of the way.”

    I don’t quite get why you feel that way. What have you seen–against three of the best teams in the league–that tells you the Browns will go in the tank the rest of the season?
    ____________

    DP,

    The Browns play not to lose, they don’t play to win.

    It’s nice that they opened it up with less then 3 minutes to go in regulation when they were behind a TD. How come they didn’t do that before then?

    Did they come back and win? No, they came back and tied.

    I’m not trying to be a wise-guy here — look back and see how many times a Mangini or Romeo team came back playing aggressive on offense when they’re down in a game. They don’t. They’re afraid to because they feel that if they should have some sort of turnover by taking a risk, then the game would be totally unwinable. So they try to stay close and hope for a miracle.

    if you watch the West Coast offense that Holmgren has run his entire NFL life, they do not think like that. THE WCO considers risks and seeks to minimize them, buit it does take some.

    The point DP is that with the rule changes in the NFL that so favor passing, a team that cannot come back from 14-17 points down in the 4th quarter is simply not going to succeed in a playoff run.

    As far as the Browns “tanking” the rest of the season, I did not say that. I said they PEAKED. They will win some games. They will not win the next 5 as many think or 4 of the next 5 as many more do.

    I wrote what I’ve seen to believe this.

    Your #1 WR catches his first pass with 40 seconds remaining. Your #2 WR has no catches after playing 5 quarters in a game – and has 9 catches in 9 games.

    Do you really thunk a team wins like this in the present day NFL? Show me one that even remotely has such an unbalanced offensive attack. And better yet, run those stats by fans in Seattle and Green Bay that saw Holmgren take teams to the Super Bowl, and ask them how long they think he’ll put up with that.

  • Stinkfist

    DP, I certainly blame the Browns for drafting Robiskie. He certainly wasnt considered a second rounder, and maybe not even a third. I know that wasnt H&H, but still.
    But basically, I just want to commend the front office on their trades and signings this offseason. Nothing really struck people as a great deal for the Browns, but everything has turned out well. The Quinn-Hillis trade, Gocong and Fujita, Sheldon Brown… solid moves that not too many people seemed all that thrilled about. Keep up the good work!

  • Carl Tassoff

    t would seem to me that the reason the wide receivers aren’t being featured is because they aren’t very good. The browns are out there calling passing plays, and we have some smart QBs. It stands to reason that if our WRs were getting any sort of seperation, they would get the ball fed to them.
    __________

    Chris,

    1. When has Mangini continue to play a guy that he thinks is not very good?

    2. Do you know that Holmgren-Heckert have cut every other Mangini draft pick other then Mack, Massaquoi and Robiske. If they think those guys can’t play, do you think they sit on them instead of trading or releasing them and getting some other players in here?

    Please keep in mind that the Browns are not trying to win the Super Bowl this year, they’re keeping young guys for the future that they think can play. But Holmgren did make it clear 2 weeks go that while it was nice that the Browns were in all games, he thought the Browns should have won more of them. Sunday was yet another example.

    I think the point is, you lose a game because you gave it your best shot and came up short – that’s understandable. But to play 3 years and a cloud of dust along with dink-and-dunk passes when you’re behind at halftime is not conducive to winning in the NFL.

  • C-Bus Kevin

    @ Carl…you make some good points, but I don’t see how you can look at this roster, and some of the creative play-calling we’ve seen and say that this team is not “playing to win” (remember the fumblerooski? remember the Peyton Hillis pass to Colt? remember the cross-field pass on a punt return?).

    With some exceptions, they have been making progress each week by maximizing the potential of the players that they currently have.

    To say that they have “peaked” by beating some of the best competition in the league, and that they won’t play any better just doesn’t make logical sense. Everyone can see this team is improving on the field and in the locker room (did you see guys encouraging stuckey after the fumble…most guys would leave him alone to sulk).

    Frankly, you just sound like you are waiting for the bottom to drop out so that you can say, “See…they still stink!”

  • Carl Tassoff

    Thank you for your time gentlemen.

    I’m trying to being up some point that are not twisting the issue, but are blatant.

    Like all pro sports, teams can do things with young players that can temporarily throw opponents off. But at some point the opposition makes adjustments. Case in point….

    Going into halftime, Phil Simms said that both defense needed to contain the QB’s in the pocket. The Jets were able to do that and McCoy suffered some as he loves to scramble out and throw on the run. Sanchez was able to constantly break containment and made a number of big plays.

    I think that going forward you’ll see teams realize that to beat the Browns you have to make adjustments for 3 players – Hillis, McCoy and Watson. The coaches don’t use any others very much.

  • http://waitingfornextyear.com DP

    Carl, I guess what I don’t get is that I infer from your “the Browns have peaked” statement that you believe they can’t continue to get better into next year. You’ll never find a statement from me where I said I thought the Browns were a playoff team this year. But, I guess I don’t see–other than maybe the drive that started at the 3 in overtime–how Mangini didn’t “play to win” on Sunday, or in the games prior. At some point, you have to give the Jets’ defense credit for slowing down the Browns’ offense.

    I thought the Browns played to win in both the Saints and Pats games… you don’t beat teams that good by 13 and 20 by “playing not to lose”. You just don’t. And, even though I understand your point about the lack of really good passing game, the Browns were able to salt away ALL THREE of their wins with sustained drives where they did nothing but run the ball when the defense knew it was coming. Against the Bengals, the Browns ran it, ran it, and ran it again to run the clock out, and the Bengals couldn’t stop them. Against the Saints, they uncorked a 7+ minute drive in the fourth quarter to effectively give New Orleans no real chance to have enough time to come back to win. Against the Patriots, it was a four-minute, 60-yard drive that featured nothing but Hillis runs to put the game back up to 20 points with 2:38 to go.

    How is that not “playing to win”? It works!

    The team we JUST PLAYED is 20th in the league in passing and 4th in the league in rushing. They’re also 7-2, leading their division, and are considered by many to be a serious Super Bowl contender.

    I guess at the end of the day I can’t really argue with your stats and assertions. I’m just not ready to write the whole team off as having “peaked” in year 1.5 of a FULL rebuild, especially when they’re showing tremendous progress without any real threat at WR. Can we wait until we get a couple of legit NFL wideouts before we write off the whole offensive potential?

  • http://www.redright88.com Titus Pullo

    I’m still not all that broken up about the Harrison trade. He had no consistency to his game. He looked good last night, so in one game he gained 109 yards; he has 97 total yards in the rest of the season so far.

    Last year, he put up those 561 yards in the final three games; the rest of the season he only gained 301 yards.

    If the Browns could only get the big-game Harrison, rather than the inconsistent Harrison, I’d be more upset.

    As for the receivers, oh boy. But there really weren’t any viable options in the off season to improve the position, unfortunately. Who were the Browns going to sign that was going to fit in with the team and also be a more than one season addition?

  • whipjacka

    carl, the borwns drove 60 yards to tie the game in the last two minutes of the fourth quarter. I fail to see how this shows an inability to regain momentum or a lack of winning mentality

  • http://waitingfornextyear.com DP

    I think the point is, you lose a game because you gave it your best shot and came up short – that’s understandable. But to play 3 years and a cloud of dust along with dink-and-dunk passes when you’re behind at halftime is not conducive to winning in the NFL.

    I totally disagree with this broad-brush you’re using. The Browns were losing by 4 points at halftime on Sunday. FOUR POINTS! So, you’re saying you throw your entire game plan out the window and go pass-wacky the moment you fall behind by LESS THAN ONE TOUCHDOWN?? How does that make any sense? Their “3 yards and a cloud of dust along with dink-and-dunk passes” offense scored 13 points against a top-5 defense in the first half. But, in your world we should just abandon that because [gasp] we’re behind by FOUR?

    That just doesn’t pass the smell test, man.

  • Carl Tassoff

    you make some good points, but I don’t see how you can look at this roster, and some of the creative play-calling we’ve seen and say that this team is not “playing to win” (remember the fumblerooski? remember the Peyton Hillis pass to Colt? remember the cross-field pass on a punt return?).
    _______

    C-Bus,

    I have to go.

    Have you noticed that those gadget plays you speak of come early in the game or when the Browns are ahead?

    No, they don’t play to win.

    If they played to win McCoy would have opened it up in the 3rd quarter after the Jets kept the ball for 10 minutes and came out of it with no points. THAT was the turning point of the game. The Browns had the Jets questioning what was happening. I saw Paul Brown coach. Vince Lombardi. Don Shula. Chuck Noll. Bill Walsh. And even current day coaches like Belichick, the Colts last 2 coaches and Sean Peyton. All of those guys would have recognized that they had the opponent dazed and tired on the ropes, and would have gone in for the kill – how many times have you see Peyton Manning throw long immediately after an incident like that? But the Browns went back on the field with their little time control offense, and went 3-and-out as the Jets had all of halftime to discuss how to stop what they were doing…and the Browns didn’t do anything different.

    No, if the Browns were playing to win they’d have opened up the game right there with their first possession of the 3rd quarter, gotten a TD, and had the Jets back peddling. Instead the Browns wimped out and let the Jets pick up right where they left off.

  • Chris

    You know this raises another good point: Holmgren has talked about a west coast style offense. I have to wonder how well that will work come 30 degree weather with the snow flying. We need more of a pass attack than we have, but NCO is not the answer for Cleveland.

  • Chris

    @23: You make it sound as though the browns lack a killer instinct. I say the browns are playing the best they can with what they have. What’s the point in airing it out when your receiver can’t get open?

    I almost have a feeling we’re all being subtly trolled here.

  • http://www.60bpm.com/ Robbie

    Don’t forget that the Browns kicked an onside kick after leading off the game with a scoring drive. If that’s not aggressively playing to win a game, I don’t know what is.

    Also, the fact that shortly after that the team lost a starting CB (Brown), the leader of the defense (Fujita) and arguably their most dangerous offensive weapon (Cribbs)… I find it hard to blame the Browns coaching staff for maybe pulling back on the reins a little bit.

    Regardless of ALL of that, they still took a Super Bowl contending team within 16 seconds of a tie.

    Yeah, I’m still feeling optimistic about the Browns future.

  • Carl Tassoff

    DP,

    You wrote a post that validates just what I said.

    The Browns run scripted plays at the beginning of games to take leads. If they’re ahead they’ll try some things every now and then. If not, they keep the game close and become conservative.

    This is how Romeo coached the Browns except for the year Savage forced a DC on him (and the browns went 10-6).

    If you talk to Jet fans, they will tell you that this is exactly what Mangini did there.

    You have to be able to come from behind sometimes in the NFL and win games. Heck, you have to be able to do that in all sports at any level.

    When something isn’t working, you try something else….and you’d better have a plan to. The reason the Browns opened it up with 3 minutes to go in regulation was because they were behind a TD and they had to. And McCoy led them. Why do Browns QB’s have to get in that position before they can play? Why can’t they run a diversified offense before their backs are to the wall?

    Taking one step back and looking at it, I don’t know how anyone can look at how the Browns use their WR’s, and realize that this is a Mike Holmgren team.

    It would be like the Dolphins playing a pass-first, wide-open offense and being passive on defense under Bill Parcells.

  • mgbode

    I think the Browns are the 2nd most improved team from last year to this year (give the Bucs credit, they get that honor since they beat us and have a better record).

    If we somehow have another magical offseason like we did last season (even including our misses), then we will be a true contender. The problem is even the best FO’s rarely have back-to-back offseasons that end up working out so well. We can hope though.

  • Chris

    We actually were running a very diverse offence until Cribbs dislocated four toes. Possibly the most diverse offence I’ve seen yet this season. Keep in mind they dialed it down a TON for McCoy and have been slowly opening the play list back up as he proves he can handle it. Also keep in mind how many options you take off the field when Cribbs is out of the game. He’s one of our better WRs, he plays wildcat, and I believe I saw him playing some RB vs the jets.

  • http://waitingfornextyear.com DP

    The Browns run scripted plays at the beginning of games to take leads. If they’re ahead they’ll try some things every now and then. If not, they keep the game close and become conservative.

    Yes, this is called “game planning”. It’s called “coaching to your team’s strengths”. If that’s not playing to win, I don’t know what is. Trying to run a crazy pass-wacky offense with a team that’s just not equipped to do it consistently isn’t playing to win, IMHO. A two-minute drill against what is probably not a base defense does not equate to an offense you can run full-time and expect the same results.

    If Stuckey–on a pass play, mind you–doesn’t fumble and the Browns kick a winning field goal, would your view be different? If the Browns had rallied to tie the game and then won it in OT–thereby going 3-0 against three top-five teams in the league–would you still feel like they’re “playing not to lose”?

  • C-Bus Kevin

    @ Carl…you’ve obviously watched a lot of football in your day, considering how many names you just dropped, which makes me wonder how you haven’t learned much about offensive strategy.

    Of course the Browns try gadget plays early in the game and while they are ahead. Every team does. You know why? Because when it’s early, or you are ahead, you have a greater margin for error. It’s like pushing someone all-in in poker when you have 4x as many chips as they have. You are pressing your advantage. if you lose the hand, you still have more chips than the other team, but if you win, you have taken them out of the game. Does that make sense?

    I’m not sure you watched Sunday’s game, but as far as I can tell, the Browns only had the Jets “on the ropes” in overtime right before Stuckey fumbled.

    The fact of the matter is that you play to your strengths. And you know what? It was one unfortunate fumble away from working agaist the division leading New York Jets. The strength of this team is its running game led by Peyton Hillis and some pretty good run-blocking by the O-Line. To say that they should “open it up” when they’re only down 4 points would be like telling Peyton Manning, “Alright, they know we’re going to throw a lot, because you are a great passer. So instead, we’re going to run the ball 50 times. They’ll never see it coming.”

    That makes no sense. While you often “take what the defense gives you,” it’s not good to let them dictate your entire game plan, especially when you are within one score of the lead.

    In conclusion, your type of analysis frustrates me. You take one 3-and-out to start the second half, and you’re ready to throw the baby out with the bath-water. The Jets are playing some pretty good football, and the execution of the Browns offense faltered at the end of the game, especially with the unwise decision to fight for another yard or two by stuckey. However, the game plan was solid.

    Also, as a side note…What would you have suggested for “opening things up” in the passing game and the play calling in general when arguably the Browns best play-maker, Cribbs, was sidelined with an injury. In-game adjustments are necessary, and the Browns made them, and almost won on the back of a rookie quarterback, a stud running back that until this year was an unknown, and Chansi “freaking” Stuckey.

    In conclusion…you are wrong. Have a nice day!

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  • NJ

    I actually had a view very similiar to Karl’s going into this season – Mangini loves to run a ball control offense and seems more concerned about losing only by one score rather than trying to win. He’d rather take three yards on 3-and-7 and then punt instead of risking a possible interception.

    My opinion has changed over the last few months. Not only has Mangini and Daboll regularly opened up the play book, but (thanks to Hillis) the ball control offense, the ground and pound, has proven itself to be our best way to win games.

    I’ve also come to accept that Mass and Robiskie are just lacking as WRs. There were plenty of deep routes run last Sunday, but McCoy usually had to check down to Stuckey because nobody was getting open. Mass might be an okay #2/#3 receiver. Robiskie is the invisible man. What’s the point of keeping him on the roster at this point?

    Anyway my point is – go Browns!

  • OmegaKing

    Yeah, I’m not sure I’m following Carl’s logic. How can you “open up” the playbook and throw deep when we really have no one to throw it to?

    People would be irate if McCoy tried to force a bomb for the sake of it with Revis and Cromartie stalking our below-average receiving corps. It would have been ludicrous, and would have been disasterous!

    We were an ill-timed fumble away from being 3-0 in the hardest part of our schedule. Well done, Brownies! Now go beat the Jaguars!!

  • Mark

    @Chris – um, Holmgren ran the WCO in Green Bay. How would that be any different than in Cleveland?

  • Tbuck

    @C-bus – Thank You
    @Carl – Playing to win means you put the ball in your best player’s hands. Period. It doesn’t mean doing what you do worst because that’s what other teams would/could do. In addition, to do what you suggest would be to throw right at arguably the two best players on the other team in Revis and Cromartie. Not the best idea. Yes, the Colts, the Saints, and the Pats throw the ball. That’s because their best players on offense are their QBs and their recievers (P.S. I bet Brady throws it to Welker right now in that scenario. Who’s our welker…Oh yeah Cribbs, but we didn’t have him either). The year they won the superbowl the Ravens and more receintly the, Steelers (puke in mouth) under Cower, and Giants would have handed the ball off just like we did. As far as having another plan when something isn’t working, I don’t think that we have ever thrown on first down as much as we did last week.
    Now, if your point is that Holmgren is going to blow it all up because it’s not his style, maybe your right. But I think it’ s the wrong move. The team was playing to win. Just not in the way you and possibly Holmgren (though I’m not so sure) are used to.

  • Tikihat

    @ #24) Can the Mike Holmgren West Coast Offense work when the snow is flying and it’s 30 degrees? Seems to me it worked pretty good in those conditions in Lambeau Field

  • Tikihat

    @ Mark, it’s not cold enough in Cleveland?

  • Believelander

    Carl, your points are so largely off base that I will not give them the respect of actually going into how off-base they are. Just go watch the Lakers and drink your Metamucil vodka screwdrivers and quit bashing a good team and their good coach for a tough loss

  • C-Bus Kevin

    To those who are saying the West Coast Offense wouldn’t work in the cold, snowy conditions that over-take Cleveland, I think you don’t quite understand how the WCO works.

    The WCO is based on the idea that you can stretch the defense by throwing SHORT passes. In theory, this will allow you to make greater gains via your running attack by making the linebackers back off the line of scrimmage to defend these short passes, and yes, eventually it should lead to opportunities to throw deep on occassion. But really, regardless of weather, every team should take at least 3 to 5 deep shots down field, regardless of offensive scheme.

    I hope this doesn’t sound nitpicky, but it just seems like people get the wrong idea when they hear “west coast offense,” as if it’s a scheme that requires you to throw nothing but 15 to 25 yard passes in ideal conditions while the head coach lounges by a pool in the 85-degree heat sipping on umbrella drinks.

  • C-Bus Kevin

    Also @ Believelander…You are correct sir.

    Carl should save his “rant-based” analysis for the mouth-breathing angry every-man morons on SOME sports talk radio who’s whole shtick is to say, “Wow! What was he thinking?!?!?!” after every loss.

  • Reggie Ruckus

    Maybe Harrison was becoming a cancer in the locker room? Sometimes it’s addition by subtraction. I agree he has more talent than Mike Bell and was disappointed that he was moved. The Ghost was a ghost of himself this season when he got the ball but I had hope that it was just a slow start. I wanted Robiskie to contribute this year but he is a huge bust. What about the lineman drafted this year (Geathers?) who was cut and now is in the rotation in Miami? Why couldn’t we have more patience with a young lineman like that? The draft pick of Larry Assante looks like a big miss too as he hasn’t seen the field yet this year. 5th rounders shouldn’t be practice squad players.

    On the bright side, we’ve learned our offensive line is one of the best in the league, we have a stud at running back, we have the best fullback in the league, quality TE’s (even Robert Royal has contributed this year) good linebackers, some good youth in the secondary (Haden & Ward) and at last we appear to have a QB of the future. I think they’ve hit on more than they’ve missed this year.

  • HoosOnFirst

    @42

    Geathers is hardly “in the Dolphins rotation.” He made one appearance on 10/24, recorded no tackles, and has been inactive for the past three games. That being said, I agree that the Browns should have more patience with a player on whom the spent a draft pick.

  • bobby

    To just add my 2 cents- how do you have a team “on the ropes” when they just physically manhandled you for 10:04. Granted, because of a missed kick, that got no points. Thats still 10 minutes of your O controlling the game, while the other O is getting cold standing around. If the browns were to have anything other then a 3 and out it would have been amazing.

  • Believelander

    As you guys will learn, Mr. Carl (recently shown the figurative door at clevelandfrowns.com with his Mangini-hunting) does not actually seem to assemble the facts in order before smashing on Clevelanders and Cleveland sports teams or players. I liked him better when he was gushingly supporting the Browns after they beat New Orleans and New England.

  • http://cleveland.com JT

    Robiskie is a stiff and has one more draft class before he is out of the league. Massak, Masssiq, the other guy is a stiff, too.