As you know from yesterday, I will not be discussing Mangini’s future for another two games. That doesn’t mean I won’t talk about the season that is still going on. And just to clear a couple things up because some people took umbrage with my Mangini Moratorium. Let me just explain why it doesn’t make any sense to engage in this conversation now. It is premature. That isn’t to say that Mangini doesn’t deserve to be fired. Someone can certainly make that case after the last two weeks.
The problem is that by burying Mangini now, you might as well write off talking about the last two games of this season. They are important divisional games. The culture of this team better be to compete hardest in divisional contests even when there is no longer anything meaningful on the line. Anyone who is talking about something that won’t take place until after the season is over (like potentially firing a coaching staff) is, in my mind, rendering the last two contests meaningless. I refuse to call any matchups against Baltimore and Pittsburgh meaningless. This isn’t to say the Mangini haters are necessarily wrong or right. Just save it for two more weeks after you see the complete portfolio of work. Make sense? Maybe I am wrong. I am sure you will tell me.
As for what we saw yesterday…
Is there any phase of the Browns team more frustrating than the Browns’ offensive line? Even the pieces and parts that we thought we could just take for granted seem to be failing. Joe Thomas probably shudders as he goes to sleep with the words “high ankle sprain” reverberating in his head. I won’t even bother talking about John St. Clair anymore. It isn’t worth the breath.
Through three quarterbacks now, it seems that the Browns have a serious tell at the line of scrimmage regarding snap counts. I don’t know if it is something the quarterbacks are doing, or if it is something inherent in Alex Mack’s motion, but the Browns sure appear to get jumped by opposing defensive lines a lot. The earliest I can remember this being a problem is all the way back in week five when John Abraham was torturing Joe Thomas. Either nobody else has realized it, or it is a figment of my imagination.
I guess you can never have enough linemen period. The Browns’ defensive line was also massively underwhelming yesterday in Cincinnati. The Browns’ inability to stop the run yesterday was most infuriating because they didn’t force Carson Palmer to beat them without T.O. Palmer was throwing well enough all game that it might not have mattered, but you can’t allow Cedric Benson to dominate the clock. The time of possession battle was a 38-22 beat-down by the way.
I love Josh Cribbs and he has ridiculous amounts of heart, but he shouldn’t be playing right now. He isn’t healthy and explosive. He isn’t helping the team right now as hard as he is trying. As Rick pointed out yesterday, Cribbs must have run into his own blockers at least three separate times. And can everyone please stop calling for the Wildcat with Cribbs still banged up? I know it is fun to hate Brian Daboll, but his not calling the Wildcat is not ammunition right now. Cribbs is too banged up to make a difference doing it. As I said, he is probably too banged up to play at all. Let Jordan Norwood return kicks. They signed him off the practice squad for something, right?
Finally, yesterday on Twitter, I said that the Browns are probably four players away from competing and six away from being considered playoff contenders. Some agreed with me, and some disagreed that the Browns needed either less or more. Here’s what I was thinking. The Browns probably NEED WR, DL, OL, RB to compete. If you add in one more WR and either a S or a LB I think they are playoff contenders. Agree?