August 26, 2014

Week 15: The Browns Will Win If…

Behold, the Seneca Wallace era of 2011 Cleveland Browns football.  With Colt McCoy still waiting for the numbers 9 and 2 to disappear from his forehead, the Browns lackluster offense will be under the watch of the versatile veteran, Mr. West Coast offense himself, Seneca Isayha Wallace.

Wallace will take an offense that will be without tight end Ben Watson and fullback Owen Marecic (also out with head-related injuries) and attempt to rectify it from the dust of the three-point Thursday night outing against the Pittsburgh Steelers.  Many will point to the play which provided the Browns with a first-and-goal at the five yard line and romance the fact that it was a perfectly thrown pass from the hands of Sir Wallace. Others will scream from the mountaintops, pointing that Wallace should have been given the chance to play well before the nationally televised decapitation of McCoy.  Either way, you’ll get your chance at redemption as Wallace will face off against the NFL’s 23rd-ranked pass defense. On the road. Opposite of something called a John Skelton.

The Browns Will Win If…

Editor’s note: Similar to the past weeks, we have started things off with sharing some takes with our audience over at Still WFNY – please feel free to head over to Cleveland.com to partake. Also, we will lead things off, once again, with a take from Daniel Wolf from National Football Authority.

Dan: …Colt McCoy or Seneca Wallace (whomever starts at QB) can continue throwing the ball downfield to Evan Moore, Greg Little (if he doesn’t drop it) and any other receiver who wants to get open and catch the football—just like what was seen on the first drive against the Steelers. The Cardinals are giving up 242 yards in the air and their pass defense is weaker than their rush defense. Maybe the Browns get lucky and the Cards stack the box against Peyton Hillis and can get some passes completed over 10 yards down the field. Just watch out for rookie Patrick Peterson and don’t throw it his way please. Speaking of Peterson, don’t kick to him on special teams (EVER) or he will single-handedly beat the Browns.

Finally, how about stopping a running back and holding him under 100 yards for once this season? Beanie Wells is a beast of the running back but he is not shifty or super fast, just hit him hard and wrap him up the first time and Cleveland could squeak out a win against a Cards team that may be emotionally and physically spent after upsetting the 49ers last Sunday.

Rick: …they play a lot better than they have been? That sounds really basic and maybe even sarcastic, but it is really the only way that they are going to get any W’s the rest of the season. They will have to step up and stop the run, especially against a Cardinals team that is suddenly relying more on the running game than the passing game. Offensively, the line will have to block better (which is possible) the backs will have to run hard without getting injured (which may or may not be possible) and Wallace is going to have to be on target with his throws. Arizona is not a push-over, but it is a winnable game. If they were to win, it would be the best team this year Cleveland will have beaten.

Andrew: …Seneca Wallace is a much better QB than Colt McCoy is? I mean, I don’t know, I think the Browns match up much better with teams who struggle running the ball. At 23rd in the NFL, Arizona falls into that category. When you factor in how mediocre Arizona’s defense has been, you have to look at this game as a somewhat win-able one, don’t you? Well, you probably would if you hadn’t watched the Browns play football this year. But since pretty much everyone reading this has watched every Browns game this year, we all know the truth. The Browns are terrible, they are seemingly getting worse, and unrest among fans is higher than I can recall since the team came back. This hasn’t been a fun year, and a win against the Cardinals isn’t going to make anyone feel better. Having said all that, though, I still believe that if Seneca Wallace plays pretty well (not too conservative, but doesn’t turn the ball over), I think the Browns will have a chance to win this game. The Browns just have to somehow (SOMEHOW) figure out how to show improvement on the offensive side of the ball. Here’s to hoping Seneca can be that spark.

Kirk: … they want to ruin their chance at a Top 5 draft pick. Yep, I said it. For that reason and the fact that Seneca Wallace is starting, I would actually be surprised if the Browns didn’t manage to win. While Seneca does not have the long term potential that the Browns have been trying to confirm or deny from McCoy, he is everything you want a backup to be. He’s a veteran presence with play-making ability and knowledge of the offensive system. If he avoids the painful interception, he’s got a good chance to win. One of his best weapons, tight end Ben Watson, won’t be playing, but the Browns haven’t been targeting him much lately anyway. Maybe this is a week for Evan Moore to break out. How about a good running game from Chris Ogbonnaya? I’m tired of waiting for Hillis and Hardesty to put up a good game. Obie has been the only one to rush for 100 yards this season, and he’s been effective on third down. Defensively, if the Browns exhibit that first half pressure on Kolb and/or force turnovers like they did against the Steelers, they’ll blow the Cardinals away. Joe Haden has had some rough breaks late in games recently. He can send quite a message if he shuts down Fitzgerald. If they don’t shut down Beanie (or Stephens-Howling), though, none of the other stuff matters.

TD: … Wow. I don’t even know what to say anymore on these. Sure, you need to stop Larry Fitzgerald and you can’t let Beanie Wells beat you, but offensively, lets see what Seneca Wallace does with his first chance to lead the team for four quarters. He certainly couldn’t do any worse than what Colt McCoy has been doing. The problem is, Wallace has the same lack of weapons that McCoy has. Im actually not happy considering the Tebow/Brady game is on at the same time and we can’t see it in Cleveland now.

___________________

But wait…that’s not all.

With a take from the Internet’s most-read Arizona Cardinals fan, we have NYMagazine’s Will Leitch; creator and former editor of Deadspin, author of various sports-related books such as God Save the Fan and the recently released Are We Winning: Fathers and Sons in the New Golden Age of Baseball. He’s the man behind one of the best sports profiles of 2011 and the reason AJ Daulerio has a Cardinals-based buzzsaw tattooed on his ass.  His thoughts can be found below.

“During my lifetime as a fan of the St. Louis/Phoenix/Arizona Cardinals, the following men have played quarterback for my beloved Big Red: Cliff Stoudt, Stan Gelbaugh, Tony Sacca, Chris Griesen, John Navarre and Tim Rattay. For several years, the primary quarterback option was Tom Tupa, who is a punter. So are you telling me I am supposed to be worried that John Skelton is the starter for the foreseeable future? (Because our team actually tries to HELP people with concussions, unlike SOME teams.) Please. The Arizona Cardinals barely even need a quarterback. Just let Larry Fitzgerald play every position. By the way, it is not for nothing that the Cardinals finally found some success after years of pain once they changed the design of their helmet. Have you considered the Cleveland Mauves?

____________________

As DP would say…What say ye, fuzzy britches?

  • Chip

    yeah it’s like what are ya wearin flannel pants or sumpthin? tss tss

  • Chris

    Andrew: 100% agree with you. If we’ve been wrong this whole time and McCoy is just a terrible QB, then we have a chance with Wallace.

    Last year, Seneca and McCoy seemed to be about equal in talent. This year, McCoy seems to have taken a big step back, but a lot of that blame (IMO) has been on the system, the restrictions on him (no audibles or hot routes?!), and the coach refusing to use his pieces properly, instead trying to make the players match the system.

    If it’s not the system or the coach, but just a QB who can’t run it correctly, we might have a chance to win this.

    That said… at this point I’m kind of pulling for a better draft pick more than I am for winning out. If we get 1 more victory, I’d rather we upset the Ravens or Steelers.

  • Joseph

    Too early to nominate this the “Game of the Week?” :D

    Hopefully we can turn this ship around if for at least 60 minutes and get a win!

  • Harv 21

    Game? But just saw the huge PD front page story, analysis, columns … oh, wait, that was the Holmgren presser. OK, guess I’ll watch but probably won’t be as comment-worthy.

  • Return of the (Alex) Mack

    matt kalil at RT next season?

  • 216in614

    I’m not rooting for the team to loose. But I don’t want a meaningless win.

    Barely beating the Cardinals is only going to set us back in the draft. If Wallace comes out of no-where and makes this offense explode he needs to do it to the point that he is our man next year including winning all the final games. If something like that were to happen then it be fine to be knocked out of the top ten.

  • mbpipes

    I live in phx and will be at the game sunday. A John Skelton is acutally not too terrible and some people here feel he’s actually better than Kolb. The Cards’ D has been a lot better the last couple of weeks than their stats indicate. The D line has to dominate upfront for the brownies, if Sheard keeps killing fools we might have a chance. Here’s hoping I get to talk mad sh#t monday

  • BuckeyeDawg

    @6 – yep. Can’t bring myself to hope that they lose, but if they do I won’t be too upset.

    I am very interested in this game, if for no other reason but to find out what the offense will look like with a different QB. We have been asking all season long, “whats the problem? McCoy or the rest of the offense”. One game will not definitively answer that question either way, but if the Browns come out and light it up with Wallace under center, it might be time to go ahead and leave Colt on the shelf for the rest of the season to see what happens.

    Oh, and I also agree with the sentiment that if they are going to win Sunday, they need to go ahead and win the last two as well. Winning one more meaningless game, losing several draft positions, then getting stomped by BAL and PIT to end the year would be worse than just losing and keeping the higher draft pick. Win out, or don’t win at all.

  • mgbode

    let’s take a minute to note that AZ has been playing a ton better lately (particularly on defense). what looked like a pick’em game a few weeks ago between 2 bad teams now looks like we are decidedly underdogs.

    that said, we took it to Pitt early and if we can do the same to AZ we have a shot at this thing.

    YOU PLAY TO WIN THE GAME! #herm’d

  • Big Z

    With the way Beanie Wells is playing this year I don’t see any way the Browns pull it off. Seriously, all the Cardinals have to do is give the guy like 25 carries and it’s all sewed up.

    I, too, will be rooting for the Browns this Sunday… to LOSE in a very well fought and close game. Sorry, but this team needs a QB and the only way they get RG3 or Barkley without giving too much away is to be in the top 5.

  • pepe

    I don’t care who wins anymore. But I am more curious about watching this one than I have been in a few weeks. That being sad, with Wallace at QB we aren’t going to learn anything about McCoy or Shurmur’s system.

    Wallace couldn’t even beat out Delhomme last year. That’s bad by the way. It will be a miracle if he doesn’t stink up the joint like every other QB has in the last 38 games or so. I do expect him to have better pocket presence than McCoy, but I think 300 yards and two TDs would defy the laws of physics.

    Win or lose, this will be ugly. Just as every game this year has been ugly. We ain’t got no alibi, we ugly. Our mama says we ugly.

  • oribiasi

    @ pepe: I think we’ve learned all we need to about Shurmur’s “system” in 13 weeks of hell and 13.9 points per game and 9 guys on the field for a play and handing off to Alex Smith and not knowing how/why Peyton Hills got into a game and not knowing that your punter had a slipped disc and not seeing the biggest hit since the Titanic struck an iceberg and so on and so on and so on…

  • Stevo

    God help us if Wallace comes out and lights it up.

  • jimkanicki

    this game in under 140 characters:

    just threw a hundo at cards -6.5. having career backup qb starting doesnt change 31st NFL run defense or that shurmur still HC/OC.