Blog Entry

Week 11: Wagons Successfully Circled

Posted on: November 18, 2008 4:34 am
Edited on: November 18, 2008 4:50 am

Dear Diary,

Tonight I had the extreme displeasure of watching the Cleveland Browns take on the Buffalo Bills on Monday Night Football. I thought my Browns would come out and play hard in front of the nation, but I was wrong... oh so very wrong.
We won the game, Diary. I should be happy. I should be excited. This win puts us at 4-6, which allows for another week of finger-crossing and misguided hope for delusional diehards like myself. I should be thrilled...but I'm not. The Cleveland Browns played such a poor game on both sides of the ball that I feel nothing but disappointment and frustration after watching the game.

Oh Diary, I just don't know how much more of this relationship I can take! Every week the Browns and I go through this. They're so sweet at times and yet...they always find ways to let me down. Just when I'm ready to break it off and call it quits for good, this team does just enough to keep my by their side. Mother tells me to forget about the playoffs and move on, but I just can't! I know they are a good team deep down inside, and all that's left for them to prove it.


My therapist suggests I explore any feelings of angst and depression in this diary. For the sake sanity, here it goes:

The Good
  • Jerome Harrison: Harrison showed exactly what Browns fans have been clamoring about for the past few weeks. On his 72-yard touchdown run, Harrison showed the great vision and speed necessary for an NFL running back. Harrison's touchdown run on prime time television may have opened the eyes of those not already familiar with his talent. Running back tandems or committees are becoming quite popular in today's NFL. Jacobs and Ward...White and Williams... the change in dynamic between runners is quite effective, and hopefully Rob Chudzinski will recognize this in upcoming weeks.
  • Turnover Differential: The cardinal rule in professional football states if you turn the ball over 4 times or more, you will lose the game. Trent Edwards' three interceptions along with Fred Jackson's fumble proved the old adage correct. Here's an astounding statistic: after this game, the Cleveland Browns rank 3rd overall with a +8 turnover differential. While the team may have its problems, if they maximize takeaways and minimize giveaways, they will eventually have success...or at least I hope so.
  • Penalties and Game Management: Breaking news! Romeo Crennel challenged a play...and won! It took 10 weeks, potentially backbreaking field position, and Brady Quinn's statistical line, but Crennel finally let go of that red flag and it couldn't have come at a better time. Even better, the Browns minimized the self-inflicted wounds - only committing two penalties for 15 yards. Timeout management wasn't bad, and Romeo managed the clock well enough to take a charity win courtesy of the Buffalo Bills.
  • Shaun Rogers: If you haven't already, please go here to cast your ballot for the 2009 Pro Bowl.
The Bad
  • Andra Davis: To put it simply, Andra did not have a good game. He missed several open field tackles - including one that should have saved the Browns from a Marshawn Lynch touchdown run. He took a poor angle to the ball carrier on several long rushing plays. He showed poor instincts and awareness on gap assignments in the running game. While he did display soft hands on the interception, Davis did far more to hurt this defense than help them today.
  • Tackling: Football is a game of blocking and tackling. It always has and always will be. If a team struggles so mightily with one of the most basic elements of the game, they have no chance whatsoever of being successful. Just for fun, I tried counting all the missed tackles by Cleveland Browns defenders. I couldn't keep up. It wouldn't be fair to blame the coaching staff, because players were in position to make plays. I do blame Kamerion Wimbley, Andra Davis, Willie McGinest, and Corey Williams for that. Those players showed a lack of aggression engaging and shedding would-be blockers. Such a passive approach to football is reason for change. This cannot continue.
  • Pass Protection Adjustments: Overall, the Browns did not necessarily do a bad job of pass protection, but it wasn't good either. I recall several times during the game where Kawika Mitchell was afforded a free lane to the quarterback. Hank Fraley and the guys up front did as good a job as they could picking up the stunts and overloads, but it could have been better.
  • Jamal Lewis: I've been critical of his style of running for quite some time now, and last night's game should show you just exactly why. Lewis demonstrated exactly what not to do as a feature back. Running backs are taught to make one cut and then go. Unfortunately for us, poor Jamal thinks he's Barry Sanders out there and tip-toes around in the backfield. He takes short choppy steps in an attempt to generate forward momentum. That sort of approach may have worked 4 years ago, but Lewis is a completely different tailback now. Oh, and by the way: Jamal Lewis quit in pass protection.
  • Points Off Turnovers: Trent Edwards threw three first quarter interceptions setting up the Browns on their 48, Buffalo's 49, and Buffalo's 12 yard line. How is it possible to only walk away with 6 points after all this? I guarantee an average team is up by 13 at the end of the quarter. I understand Brady Quinn is still young, but such offensive ineptitude is unacceptable. 
The Ugly
  • Special Teams Coordinator Ted Daisher: Congratulations, Ted - you stand alone as this week's goat. Why Ted, why? Why did you continuously kick to the most dangerous part of the Buffalo Bills' team? My goodness! You would think someone who has the most dynamic return man in the game would understand the value of special teams! They say the definition of stupidity is making the same mistake over and over again. If so, then Ted Daisher is truly a stupid man. Leodis McKelvin completely abused the kickoff coverage unit on the opening play for 40 yards. He did it again for another 40. After seeing this - what does Daisher do? Kick it to him again, of course! Aye...

Well Diary, there isn't much left to say. While I feel better about the win as well as Jerome Harrison, I didn't like what I saw from my football team at all. I fear this team is years away from being great. While I do still love the Browns, I honestly don't know how much longer I can wait for my ring. Afterall, I only have so many more years left! Until I see some commitment from this team to fundamentally sound football, we may need some time apart. Let's hope next week will be better!


P.S. - I miss Derek Anderson!

Since: Nov 18, 2008
Posted on: November 18, 2008 2:15 pm

Week 11: Wagons Successfully Circled

Sir Butt Cheeks,

I must admit that you have truly written about the hearts of Browns fans perfectly.  I do not know why we still have hope but I believe our most popular saying is, "just wait till next year."  Everything in this "letter" is accurate right up to your signature.  BUT that is where is starts to go all wrong and stupid. 

P.S. - I miss Derek Anderson!??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

WTF mate.  You seem like a Browns fan in your letter, but then you sound like a Pittsburgh Steeler with that last comment.  There is a reason that he was waived from the Baltimore Ravens that needed a good Quarterback and have settled for bums.  They didn't even want him. 

Then last season comes and our Browns fantasies are coming true.  A guy that no team has seen before is doing well for us.  He gets us to a winning record and doesn't stop.  Until every team figures him out (they figured out that he stares down the receiver that he is going to throw to) and he starts to suck worse than Charlie Frye's and Tim Couch's unborn child.  When the playoffs were on the line he couldn't beat a crappy Cincinnati team to get us there.  He is 0-3 versus the one team that matters to all Browns fans.  I don't care if we lose every game but beat the Steelers twice and prevent them from winning the Division.  That to me would be a good season compared to winning games and missing the playoffs because we lose to them twice.  I would have loved if he came in this season and mopped the floor with teams but when he didn't and you look at last season's last 7 games, you realize that he is terrible and most sportscasters agree.  Brady Quinn's start was well overdue.  So he lost to Denver in his first start; it wasn't him that lost it.  He did his best to win that game for us and then the defense makes Cutler look like Elway and lets him destroy us.  Last night's game wasn't a good performance at all.  However, it was a huge stage in brutal conditions on unfriendly turf against a team in dire need of a victory.  But he overcame that and got us the win still making key plays when they had to be made. 

I'm not saying that Quinn is the answer for the Browns.  All I am saying is that Derek Anderson is not.  Giving him a huge contract after failing to get us to the Playoffs when we had good offers on the table was stupid because now all we could get for him is a box of matches and a pile of gun powder because his career just went up in smoke. 


A True Browns Fan

Since: Apr 10, 2007
Posted on: November 18, 2008 1:42 pm

Week 11: Wagons Successfully Circled

How did Braylon Edwards escape being on the bad and/or ugly list?  This guy has the worst hands of any WR I have seen this side of Darrel Jackson.  He is atrocious.  He ended up with good overall game stats.  But, he dropped one inside the 10 in the first quarter that would've led to a 1st and Goal.  Then, he dropped a 3rd down pass with about 5:30 left in the game that went right through his hands and hit him in the face mask that would've enabled the Browns to milk at least another minute and a half at a minimum off the clock.  This guy's lack of concentration cannot go unpunished any longer.  He is as much to blame for Anderson's benching as anyone on the team.  Anderson is no great shakes but Edwards made him look exponentially worse.  People on that team need to start calling him out and make him actually earn his paycheck.

Since: Sep 1, 2008
Posted on: November 18, 2008 12:00 pm

It's OKAY SirCheeks... It's not your fault...

Sir.. It is going to be okay, really it is.  One day soon it will be okay...IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT...

The reason I say this is because the Browns do have talent, they are a little misguided, but the do have some talent.

I will disagree with on the kick offs.  I think they needed to kick deep and cover.  They are not going to run one back every time!  Giving the Bills that short field after the go ahead field goal was really tempting fate, don't you think?

The still won on the road on Monday night in a noisy, cold environment, with poor clock management, poor play calling, a QB with in only his second start, more dropped passes by their "star" receiver, poor tackling, failure to take advantage of turnovers but still won only by an ironic missed 47 yard field goal 'wide right'....But they did win.. In short they won despite (as Romeo would say) not playing well. 

Let's hope they "play well" this coming Sunday against another under achieving rematch from last year.  Coming up is a game they SHOULD win, so be afraid, be very afraid.  By the way, do you need tickets? I don't think I will make it...


Since: Nov 18, 2008
Posted on: November 18, 2008 10:46 am

Week 11: Wagons Successfully Circled


I agree with most of your analysis and can empathize with your feelings.  There was one more topic that I think should go into your list of "bad" observations - the Browns were down 24-23 and arrived at the Buffalo 39 (after a nice pass play) at the two-minute warning, they needed just two things at this point - a field goal and run-out the clock!  Why were they going for a TD?  Why not just run the ball for three downs, getting better field position for the field goal?  They did have three timeouts!

Keep plugging for the Browns in 2009!

Since: Jan 18, 2008
Posted on: November 18, 2008 10:26 am

Week 11: Wagons Successfully Circled

The pages of your diary must be getting torn through from pushing down so hard on the pen, cheeks!

Great post - like the idea of releasing the tension through writing. Actually having the chance to watch this game last night, here's some of my observations:

1. Brady Quinn is going to be a very good NFL quarterback. That 2nd & 10 pass he threw to Winslow? How he stepped up just a hair and stayed in the pocket when that guy came flying at him from behind without even flinching was something else. That's just amazing awareness for a guy in his second start.

2. Harrison has to be the starting RB. I said it a few weeks ago - Jamal Lewis is not the guy who rushed for 200 yards in Baltimore anyomore. He doesn't have the quickness or burst the browns need against tougher defenses. I've always been a Jamal fan, but if they don't start giving Harrison the majority of the carries after watching him last night they're crazy.

3. More head-scratching offensive strategy: I know it's predictable to think so, and if you disagree cheeks please tell me. I don't understand the reasoning - when the Browns are up by 6 with 7:40 left - they are having Quinn throw downfield. They have a young, rested back who's torched them for 80 yards on 3 carries. Why not give it to Harrison? Or go with safe, short passes to him and let him juke his way upfield? the idea is to run as much time off the clock as possible. I know Jaworski was giving it to Kornheiser when he made the same observation, but it just doesn't make sense to have any QB - let alone a less experienced one - throw high-risk passes in a one-possession game. The reason I say "More" head-scratching strategy is because I've seen lots of teams do this - I think if the Saints didn't pull the same thing in their MNF game with Minnesota they would have won. What do you think?

Anyway, great post as always sircheeks - keep up the phenomenal work!

Since: Oct 19, 2007
Posted on: November 18, 2008 7:03 am

Week 11: Wagons Successfully Circled


Nice Blog.  You hit the nail on the head about tackling.  Many fans miss this basic point, giving the offense too much credit and blaming losses on the obvious dropped pass or key turnover.  It was especially frustrating to see Marshawn Lynch's approximate 20 yard TD run with Browns all around him the whole time and noone even trying to make a tackle.  If Mel Tucker can't teach these guys how to tackle, they need a defensive coordinator that can.

I noticed Jerome last year.  He is very quick to the corner and elusive.  The Browns need to find ways to get Jerome Harrison the ball more often. 

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