April 20, 2014

Browns defense deserved better in 17-16 loss to the Eagles

The Cleveland Browns’ defense came out as if they were fired out of a cannon. The unit that seemingly never got off the field a year ago, was forcing turnovers, flying all over the place and making life miserable for Michael Vick and his receivers. D’Qwell Jackson played like the grizzled vet. L.J. Fort and Craig Robertson played inspired youngsters. Frostee Rucker and Juqua Parker were the energetic new guys. Sure, L.J. Fort dropped an interception that would have iced the game, but it’s really hard to think of that as the key play of the loss for the Browns.

The key to the loss is undoubtedly the one-man turnover machine, Brandon Weeden. He’s a rookie and rookies throw interceptions, but today’s game was ridiculous. Weeden looked over matched, uncomfortable, unprepared and just downright scared at times. I can’t insult anyone’s intelligence and try and sugar coat a 12/35 passing performance with four interceptions. The best I can say for Weeden is that one of those interceptions really wasn’t his fault. It was a rocket at Greg Little, who allowed it to pop up into the air. It was especially unforgivable because it occurred inside the Eagles’ five yard line.

So, is there a QB controversy? I guess. You can’t avoid a controversy with a performance like that, no matter who the starter is and who is backing him up. If Tom Brady goes out and puts up a performance like Weeden did today, people will start to think about Ryan Mallett’s name and Belichick will remember the words “diminishing skills.” I’m not saying Colt McCoy should start the next game, but I am saying that even at his awful worst, Colt McCoy never turned the ball over like that. Many of McCoy’s critics have criticized McCoy for racking up meaningless TD passes in garbage time, but most of his interceptions occurred with the team down and chasing desperately. Some of you will think that this is precisely why Colt McCoy shouldn’t be here, but it doesn’t matter whose name you put in second. Seneca Wallace would be getting some serious love today too. No question.

Today’s game against the Eagles showed a brash carelessness by a rookie QB with a live arm. He’ll probably get better and learn, but everyone better hope that he has as short a memory as he claims to have as a former professional pitcher because he needs to forget about this game, and quickly.

Trent Richardson wasn’t great today either, and that was part of the problem for Weeden. It was reasonable to assume that Richardson might be rusty and green after missing all pre-season action. If there was one encouraging thing from the Browns’ offense today it was his ability to run the ball, take hits and not look the slightest bit injured. Yardage wasn’t good, but at least they looked healthy, right? And how about that head butt to Kurt Coleman that propelled his helmet 10 yards? Other than that? The offense was U-G-L-Y. I won’t bore you with the stats, but trust me when I tell you they were.

Lucky for them, they’ll be on the road next week in Cincinnati. Not that it will be an easier place to play, but it will at least give Brandon Weeden and his cohorts a chance to win back the home crowd without having to endure the live criticism. It’s criticism that they deserve, but it might be more constructive filtered through the internet and the media this week rather than experienced first-hand.

As always, this is far from it on this game. Make sure you tune back in all week as we break it down.

(Photo – Screencapped from FOX TV Broadcast)

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Almost as stupid as announcing (or as close to it) that he’d be your starter on the night he was drafted.

  • Big Z

    For real. I though this game would be a blowout. I think this team could prove to be watchable for once.

  • mgbode

    Tannehill was equally offensive. Russell Wilson was not good. RGIII on the other hand…

  • dan

    A ball in the dirt is better than 10 yards too long and an INT. But McNabb has a career QB rating of 85, and even in his last couple of years he wasn’t THAT bad (qb rating 77-82), with similarly pathetic receiving corps and a lack of an offensive line.

  • Tsunami

    yeah! only true “professionals” like Robiskie

  • Common Sense Guy

    Shurmur made the decision to lose, rather than yank his chosen rookie QB.

    he’s a rookie! He hasn’t earned the respect of his teammates. He’s done nothing. Pull him! Now the team knows for sure their coach is a selfish, egotistical loser.

    Cle has a losing mentality and a loser coach who would rather lose his way than make a few adjustments and get a win. The game was there to be won. A winner gets that win.

    Weeden should never have been drafted. What a waste. He isn’t discernibly better than McCoy and he never will be. Waste. Waste. waste.

    LOSERVILLE. Shurmer should be fired now. He passed up on an easy win. The whole locker room knows it even if Loserville doesn’t

  • mgrace74

    The Browns offense was indefensible, save for one thing. Richardson had no chance yesterday to do anything. The guy had to break 2 tackles each play just to gain that 1 yard.

  • http://twitter.com/Dennymayo Denny

    Nah, if this were an English blog everyone would love Randy Lerner.

  • Hopwin

    Good point, I will amend no. 3:
    3) Stopping drafting unproven turd-cutters who avoided playing with Rick Vaughn in the California Penal League only by the grace of Athletic Directors who exert undue influence with the local law enforcement.

  • pjack

    arm strength is overrated, jamarcus russell could throw a football 75 yards from his knees, just ask Phil Savage

  • Harv 21

    thought they hate Lerner and love Jerry Lewis. Or maybe I’m confusing them with other peeps who refuse to adopt our units of distance measurement.

  • BuckeyeDawg

    I’m still bummed about losing a game that, as it turns out, we easily could have won…but there were a lot of good things to take away from this game defensively. I think we knew coming in that the defense would be the strength, and the offense would be a project with 4 rookies and a couple 2nd year guys starting. Well, that was confirmed yesterday. The defense looks like it will keep us in most games…we just need to find a way to score some points. (Easier said than done, I know.) The good news is that there is no way that Weeden and Richardson look that bad again this season, and the Eagles are likely one of the best teams in the NFL.

    Keep improving. That’s all I ask.

  • http://www.cinpleweb.com/ stin4u

    notice where I said “if only a backup”. Pull the cotton out of your eyes. Colt wins that game.

  • http://www.cinpleweb.com/ stin4u

    Not sure where the positives came from on the offensive side of the ball. We all knew the defense was on it’s way up from last year. I guess you could say special teams played a lot better if you are searching for good things to say. I’d say at this point, even with all the draft picks, the offense took a big time step backwards. Not sure why that inspires any kind of optimism.

  • W. Mantle

    Can’t waste my time here. Worst organization in Pro Football. They will have next years 1st pick in the draft.

  • eldaveablo

    I really don’t know why the )-Line isn’t catching more heat. They looked TERRIBLE on run blocking. TRich was having to make a move as soon as he was taking a handoff. When he was able to get a head of steam, you saw the impact he could make.

  • Steve

    They still gave up 456 yards. They succeeded when the Eagles made bad decisions. The Eagles were moving the ball pretty easily.

  • mgbode

    last year we had a bend-dont-break defense that didn’t get TOs. week1, we had a bend-dont-break defense that created TOs. progress.

    and our defense looked fast and aggressive. i like that.

  • Steve

    I wouldn’t call this a bend-don’t-break. If Philly was smart enough to just keep giving McCoy the ball at 5.5 yards per carry instead of asking Vick to chuck it around everywhere, we would have broken pretty easily. And two of Vick’s interceptions were some pretty awful throws where the defense forced nothing. If the defense plays like that against a team that isn’t going to try to outsmart themselves and just run it down our throats and tell their QB to only throw it if the receiver is wide open, we’re going to give up close to 30.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    This pains me almost as bad as watching the unnamed football team yesterday but Steve Dolan is right. The defense gave up a ton of yards and the end result was probably due more to Vick’s incompetence then anything. All this aside I saw a much more athletic, fast and hard hitting defense but as we all know it’s just one game. It was a shame that on that game winning drive for Philly they couldn’t come up with a stop.

  • deebo

    I may have been drinking… but my point is really more along the lines of I think we just need to give this team a chance and all the clamoring to fire this guy, bench that guy, put in this guy, how did those idiots use that draft pick for this other guy because this other other guy was like 100 for 100 and threw for 7000 yards and ran for 350 and scored 936.5 points in the first quarter and single-handedly raised the enlightenment of humanity – it all just seems way premature and an over-reaction and seems to fall into the Cleveland Sports Misery Circle of Death Trap, which has worn thin and I think it is just way too early for that kind of thinking at this juncture. Now the Indians? Full on Cleveland Sports Misery Circle of Death Trap with no foreseeable escape.

  • ad21

    Ok Guys, if you want to compare the 5 Rookie QBs who started Sunday, here are their numbers: (1) RGIII — 19 of 26 for 320 yds, 2 TDs and 0 INT, 12.3 YDS PER ATT, 73 % Completion %, 139.9 Rating

    (2) Wilson — 18 of 34 for 153 yds, 1 TD and 1 INT, 4.5 yds per attempt, 53 % completion rate, 62.5 Rating

    (3) Luck — 23 of 45 for 309 yds, 1 TD and 3 INT, 6.9 yds per att,, 51 % comp rate,52.9 rating

    (4) Tannehill — 20 of 36 for 219 yds, 0 TD and 3 INT, 6.1 yds per att,, 55.5% comp rate, 39.0 rating

    (5) Weeden — 12 of 35 for 118 yds, 0 TD and 4 INT, 3.4 yds per att., 34% comp rate. 5.1 rating.

  • ad21

    Yeah, like that. Actually, the TV broadcasters were saying McCoy should have been sent in for Weeden by half time.
    I looked at a video from earlier in the week with an NFL scout reviewing the preseason of the 5 rookies set to start this weekend. He ranked their readiness 1 through 5 and listed Weeden last.

    He said that Weeden was not ready to play in the NFL. The other 4 were rookies and would make mistakes but they had all been prepared to play.

    On the other hand, our local experts who said Weeden was ready to play also voiced an opinion on RGIII back in April — not a good prospect because at 6’2″ he is too short . . .