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Posted on: January 7, 2009 7:49 pm
 

Habemos Coachum!

On top of a the training facility in Berea, Ohio, orange and brown smoke begins to disseminate while the eagar crowds of Browns fans gather at the entrance - eagarly awaiting the announcement. A multi-billionaire named Randy Lerner emerges from the balcony to deliver the good news to the Cleveland faithful:

"Habemos Coachum!"

The thousands on hand errupt in wild cheers and celebrations - for the Browns have selected their 15th head coach in franchise history: Eric Mangini.




Finally!

I've got to say, it's been a long time since it felt this good to be a Browns fan. While CBS writers Mike Freeman and Pete Prisco may disagree, Randy Lerner's hiring of Eric Mangini was the best possible move the Browns could have made.

In Mangini, you get a bright, young head coach with the pedigree and wherewithal to make a long-lasting impact in the organization. You get a coach with the experience necessary to handle situations with dignity and class. Simply put, you get one of the brightest football minds in the game.

While Eric Mangini coached under Bill Belichick, Bill did everything in his power to keep his bright young student in house. He repeatedly asked Mangini to decline coaching interviews, and for years he did. Belichick was also the one to give Eric his start in coaching - having him break down film while the two coached in Cleveland at the tender age of 23. If Bill sees enough upside to want Mangini by his side, I have no doubts as to whether or not he's a capable coach.

It's been rumored his players didn't like him in New York. Fine. Ask any given player who played under Parcells early in his career and I guarantee you wouldn't want children around for the response. Head coaches are not necessarily supposed to be loved by their players. They are master motivators designed to get maximum effort out of a given group of guys. To say players don't like him does little to determine how successful a coach he may turn out to be.

Look, everyone makes mistakes. I hate to use the Belichick analogy again, but he was hated and looked down upon right after he finished his stint in Cleveland. You'd be hard-pressed to find anyone using the words "genius" or "legend" back then as they so freely do today.

I have complete confidence that Mangini is the right man for this job. He will learn from his mistakes in New York and lead the Browns exactly where they are destined to be.
Posted on: December 29, 2008 1:44 pm
 

Black Monday ousts Browns Coach

*Sigh*

Back to square one.

No front office...no general manager...no head coach.

About 4 years ago, I remember telling people how Phil Savage will stop at nothing to bring a Super Bowl Championship to Cleveland. I remember looking at Romeo Crennel and seeing a world of potential and greatness. I remember looking at the 2004 incarnation of the Cleveland Browns and thinking this will never happen in this city ever again.

But now we're back to square one.

Granted, this time around there is talent. We have a potential franchise quarterback with several malleable offensive pieces to work with. We have young talented defenders such as Kamerion Wimbley, D'Qwell Jackson, Eric Wright, Brandon McDonald, and Sean Jones who may be able to help jump-start that side of the ball. All hope for a quick turnaround is not lost.

Romeo Crennel will best be remembered for being a great person. You hear it everywhere, but Romeo was a gentle-hearted man who cared about his players and trusted his assistant coaches. While he is still owed close to 8 million dollars from the extension he signed last year, this move is for the better. Crennel will have no trouble finding employment elsewhere - perhaps even back in New England or maybe even as a head coach in another city down the road.



In the end, Savage and Crennel were simply too different. Conflict between the two resulted in a lack of chemistry and an inability to work well together. As reported by the Plain Dealer, here were some of the alleged disagreements that proved to be the iceberg that finally sank the ship:

  • Phil Savage and Romeo Crennel disagreed on the drafting of UNLV linebacker Beau Bell. Crennel reportedly watched tape on Bell and determined he was not the right player for his defense. Phil Savage traded their 2009 5th round pick to move up and get him.
  • Before 2007, Crennel wanted the Browns to retain free safety Brian Russell. Phil let him walk after free agency.
  • This year when Leigh Bodden was traded and Daven Holly was injured, Crennel pushed for the Browns to make a move towards Ty Law. Financial reasons prevented them from doing so.
  • Crennel noticed the Browns would be without Joe Jurevicius for the entire season and asked Savage to bring in free agent wide receivers such as Joe Horn, Terry Glenn, or Keenan McCardell. Savage neglected to do so.
  • Some of Savage's picks were not tailor made to conforming to Romeo's 3-4 defensive scheme. Savage admitted to drafting versatile players over scheme specific players.
  • It was Phil Savage that selected offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski. Chudzinski's offense, an aerial-based attack, stands in stark contrast to Romeo's preferred method focusing on a ball control, ground-based attack.

Category: NFL
Posted on: December 29, 2008 9:03 am
Edited on: December 29, 2008 9:18 am
 

A Savage Mistake

With every relationship, there eventually comes a time to say goodbye.

For the Browns and General Manager Phil Savage, that time came yesterday.

Call this move whatever you want, but don't call it unexpected. Randy Learner is a man greatly concerned with public image, and Phil Savage happened to give him every reason to pull the trigger. The Staphgate '08 controversy and the Buffalo e-mail incident compounded with the team's collapse this season all but secured his departure.

Despite this you wonder: was this the right move for the Browns?

Of course not.

In a season marred with futility and incompetency, Randy Learner began this offseason with just that. Firing Phil Savage was a move with Learner's fingerprints all over it. Like his former employee, Learner seems to only concern himself with how people perceive him as an owner. Retaining a general manager and head coaching tandem after such a season would have taken resolve and commitment to building a winning football program. In a Browns' Town that lives week to week with this organization, it would be nearly impossible to do so without being viewed in a negative light.

In this business, perception is reality. On the surface the Browns are the 5th worst team in the NFL. On the surface they are a team headed in the wrong direction after barely missing the playoffs in 2007. On the surface, Phil Savage is an arrogant man who put together a disappointing football program.

All of these things are simply not true.

Savage made the correct moves in assembling the 2008 Browns. The offensive unit remained in tact while the defense improved with the additions of Shaun Rogers and Corey Williams. The young defensive back tandem of Eric Wright and Brandon McDonald started off shaky, but they finished strong and Cleveland now may have found its franchise cornerbacks because of it. People questioned Savage as to whether keeping two capable quarterbacks was a good decision. The Browns not only lost them both, but a third as well.

Look, I'm not saying Phil Savage was the perfect manger. Public relations management is part of his job, and he proved himself irresponsible to that regard. What I am saying is Savage was a great General Manager - balancing short and long term gains in bringing a winner to Cleveland. His creative ability to balance free agency and the draft proved highly innovative, and had the Browns moving in the right direction. His scouting ability to assess and evaluate professional talent ranks in the upper echelon of GMs. His vision and decision making ability gave Browns fans hope for a better future.

It's a shame this move was made.

"Go turn around Detroit - we'll miss you."
Posted on: December 22, 2008 3:04 pm
 

Browns Cannot Afford to Lose


"Hey Mike, feel like going to the game this Sunday?" I asked my friend.

After seconds of deliberation, he responded.

"Nah. The Browns suck right now, so there really wouldn't be any reason to go."
 
This response wouldn't have been anything out of the ordinary except what came after it.

"Plus, why should we blow 75 bucks to watch this team?"

I thought about what he said, and it made sense. There is no convincing reason why Clevelanders or any other group of suffering fans should pay money to attend football games.



Everybody knows the economy is suffering right now. We live in an era where disposable income is at an all-time low and frustration is at an all-time high. There are very few dollars to go around - and the entertainment industry will undoubtedly suffer because of it. While professional football generates billions of dollars in revenue, entertainment monsters such as the NFL have already begun to feel the effects of a sluggish market. With less cash to spend, people will be more selective of how they spend it on entertainment.

And right now, the Cleveland Browns are not very entertaining.

Do the math. If people have less money to spend on entertainment and the Browns do not provide an entertaining product, people will not spend money to see the Browns. It was either CBS writer Pete Prisco or Ray Rato that wrote a column some time ago about the economy's effect on the National Football League. Since this season's ticket sales were based on last year's results, things like paid attendance do not provide an accurate representation of how many people actually spent money to see the game.

Browns fans' are supposedly one of the most loyal fanbases in professional sports. During the team's expansion years, fans constantly sold out the stadium regardless of how poorly the team played. From the numbers alone, you would be hard pressed to tell whether the 2004 Browns were 4-12 or 12-4. If last Sunday's 14-0 shutout courtesy of the hapless Bengals is any indication, times may be changing for the worst.

Loyalty means nothing without the money to support it. Blue-collar towns like Cleveland and Detroit will undeniably feel the strain of a poor economy before more affluent NFL cities. Bad football not only discourages fans of a particular city, but leads to poor franchise perception which in turn costs the organization additional profit.

Cleveland Browns' owner Randy Learner is widely known as one of the most shrewd businessmen in professional sports. His ventures in England with European football clubs only serve as testament to that very fact. As a businessman, one thing Learner understands is the necessity of appeasing his clients. When he conducts his January evaluation of GM Phil Savage and Head Coach Romeo Crennel, the down-trodden economy will most likely weigh heavily into his decision.

Since Randy is making the decision with his clients in mind, expect a certain bias to come with his choice. Making a splash with a celebrity head coach or general manger will generate excitement and hopefully revenue for Learner's Browns. Regardless of how capable a coach or good a fit as he is, if that person can generate publicity and increase Learner's financial gain - expect that person to be heavily favored.

The NFL is more than just football. When evaluating players, factors such as earnings potential, public perception and marketability are just as important as 40-yard dash times and bench press repetitions. This is precisely why Cleveland gave up so much for Brady Quinn. While his prowess on the football field is still in question, he has already captured the hearts and imaginations of fans without proving very much on the field. That success equates to jersey sales, ticket sales, and ultimately to an increase in earnings.

The Browns are a team in dire need of success. The economic conditions facing the country only serve to expedite the need to field a winning football team. For a business-inclined owner like Learner, the allure of profit may overtake the best interests of the team sooner rather than later.

And that scares me to death as a Cleveland Browns fan.
Category: NFL
Posted on: December 15, 2008 12:50 pm
Edited on: December 15, 2008 4:32 pm
 

10 Reasons to Watch Browns/Eagles


Top 10 Reasons to Watch Browns vs. Eagles




10. Ken Dorsey's Arm Strength



When looking at quarterbacks, it is fashionable to site arm strength as the most overrated characteristic in the entire evaluation process. Accuracy and decision-making are widely regarded as the two most important factors, and perhaps rightfully so.

On Monday night, we put that theory to the test. Cleveland Browns backup quarterback Ken Dorsey has a notoriously weak throwing arm. Last week against the Titans, Dorsey was unable to complete a number of pass attempts down field - virtually all of which were underthrown. Tonight we see just how arm strength plays into being an effective quarterback. Can Dorsey dink and dunk the Dawgs to victory? Is he capable enough to earn a roster spot next year? What does that say about Brady Quinn - another accuracy-based passer? These questions and more will be answered during the game.



9. Tony Kornheiser is Hilarious



Not taking anything away from any other broadcast tandems, but the trio of Ron Jaworski, Tony Kornheiser, and Mike Tirico are very entertaining to watch. It takes a special group of guys to pull off the three-man booth and ESPN managed to find the perfect combination. Jaworski's insightful game analysis combined with Tirico's play-by-play and Kornheiser's witty remarks keep the action fresh and lighthearted.


8. The Fantasy Playoffs



With the conclusion of this game, the first week of the fantasy playoffs will officially come to an end. Fantasy players around the nation have been particularly disappointed by the overall disappointment created by the Cleveland Browns, and Monday night's game is the icing on the cake. Whether you're in dire need of Phil Dawson field goals, a stout Eagles defensive performance, or a certain skill position player to light it up, this game provides the last chance for a late night miracle. Speaking of skill position players...


7. Will Braylon Edwards continue to drop passes?



The more appropriate question would be to ask whether Dorsey will even have the time to even find Edwards, but regardless - this will be interesting to watch. For wide receivers of Edwards' caliber, a prime time stage should bring out a prime time performance. Edwards has been inconsistent all season - unofficially dropping upwards of 15 passes. If Braylon wants to be considered one of the best at his position, he must do whatever it takes to come up with a big game when his team needs him the most. This is a weekend where Andre Johnson and Antonio Bryant both came up huge for their teams, so Edwards must step up in a big way to remain in that elite receiver class.



6. Browns Secondary Against Eagles Receivers

vs.

Cleveland's cornerback duo of Eric Wright and Brandon McDonald can establish themselves as two of the better young defensive backs in the game. Wright, the speedy second round draft selection from UNLV has done an admirable job for the disappointing Browns. He will most likely line up against Philadelphia's Kevin Curtis in a matchup which will determine the effectiveness of the Eagles' passing attack. DeAngelo Hall made a name for himself by shutting Terrell Owens down on a prime time stage, and Wright in particular has a chance to do something similar for himself.



5. How bad could it get?


The NFL is a competitive league of full of parity and close games, but this one could get ugly. Philadelphia has the world to play for while the hapless Browns have nothing but pride. If the Eagles are able to control the line of scrimmage and time of possession, the route may be on. According to CBS projections, the Eagles are favored 99 to 1. It could get ugly. For those who like a David versus Goliath matchup or just like rooting for the underdawg, this game is for you.

Additionally, this may be the last time the NFL puts the Cleveland Browns anywhere near a prime time game. For those outside the area, this may be the last time you ever get to see the Browns on television!


4. Brian Westbrook is talented.



It's been said before, but Brian Westbrook is the best running back in the NFL that no one talks about. His name should be listed among the top 5 backs in the league, yet for some reason he does not receive the publicity of a Marion Barber or an Adrian Peterson. Westbrook is Marshall Faulk incarnate - possessing the ability to run inside and outside the tackles while making catches out of the backfield. For as talented a tailback as he is, Brian is twice the receiver. It will be a treat to watch one of the best running backs of this generation, so sit back and enjoy what will be a classic performance.



3. D'Qwell Jackson's Emergence on Prime Time Television



If you haven't heard the name yet, now is your chance to meet D'Qwell Jackson - one of the premier young inside linebackers in the NFL. Jackson made a name for himself last weekend against the Titans. He intercepted Kerry Collins twice with a third slipping through his hands. Jackson is a hustle type - showing good lateral direction and instincts while playing hard on every play. His quickness and aggressive style of play make it no mystery why he leads the NFL in tackles. The lone bright spot in Cleveland's linebacking corps, D'Qwell should provide football fans with an exciting performance. Keep an eye out for number 52.



2. How many positions will Josh Cribbs play?



Get used to seeing that face, because number 16 will be everywhere. Cribbs returns kicks and punts, plays gunner on the special teams coverage unit, lines up as a receiver, plays quarterback, and lines up in the backfield as a running back. Regardless of where he starts, Josh Cribbs is a dynamic player with game-changing speed and agility. The key to this matchup is how Jim Johnson's defensive unit contains Cribbs, and how the Browns counter back. If Cleveland's swiss army knife is left unaccounted for, this game will be a lot more interesting than it leads on to be…



1. Donovan McNabb



The most exciting part of this game will undoubtedly come from Donovan McNabb. The embattled Philadelphia quarterback cannot afford to stumble in a game ripe with playoff implications for his team. If he didn't have enough to play for already, there is added motivation for McNabb to prove something to the Cleveland Browns. Flashback to 1999. The Browns held the number one overall draft pick and needed a quarterback to build their expansion franchise around. Tim Couch was selected over Donovan McNabb who the Browns deemed too wild to be a successful NFL passer. Oops!



Sircheeks' BOLD prediction:
Cleveland Browns: 9
Philadelphia Eagles: 20

What they're saying:
"They are a good football team. They are excited about where they are. They feel like they've got a chance to make it to the playoffs and so they need to win out because they're playing in a tough division. It's Monday night I know that they'll be ready to play as well as we'll be ready to play"

~Romeo Crennel on the Eagles

"They're a great defense. Not only are they great schematically, but great personnel wise. They've been giving offenses fits for many years now and that's part of the fun and excitement in playing Philadelphia."

~ Ken Dorsey

"The thing about Brian is if you give him a seem, he gets to the second level [and] he's gaining yards and he's hard to tackle. He's got great vision and great quickness. Likewise as a pass receiver, they have routes designed to get him the ball out of the backfield where the matchup is on a linebacker. And many times he's able to beat that linebacker and end up gaining big yards as well."

~ Romeo Crennel on Brian Westbrook

"We can't relax. We have to win out, so there's no room for that. We have to come on ready to play on Monday night on a national stage and play well. We don't have that luxury right now. They're a lot better than their record. You can say the same thing for us. I don't think that really matters. The bottom line is we have to come out ready to play and they're going to come out ready to play."

~ Quintin Mikell
Posted on: December 12, 2008 2:16 am
Edited on: December 12, 2008 2:59 am
 

Romeo Must...Stay?

By now, you'd be hard-pressed to find a Browns fan who hasn't called for Romeo Crennel's immediate removal as head coach of the Cleveland Browns. With all the speculation floating around nowadays, it seems like a forgone conclusion a coaching change will be made.

This begs the question: would the Browns be justified in firing Romeo Crennel after this season?

On the surface, Crennel does not possess the tangible characteristics of a winning football coach. In his four year tenure with the Browns, Romeo has guided the Browns to a cumulative 23-37 (.383%) record. The Browns have been inconsistent since his arrival, and they failed to establish an identity on both sides of the ball. Crennel's teams have yet to defeat the hated Pittsburgh Steelers, and have posted a 4-18 (.182%) mark against the AFC North. On record alone, it is difficult to justify retaining such a head coach.

As with everything in life, there is more than meets the eye.

The first two years of Romeo's stay in Cleveland were spent installing his system and coaching staff. The previous regime left Crennel a roster void of talent and direction. Phil Savage and Romeo Crennel had little to work with and were asked to be competitive against established division rivals who have had years to perfect their respective schemes.

When GM Phil Savage and Romeo Crennel arrived in Cleveland, Savage asked Clevelanders to be patient with the Browns. He estimated it would take a full three years to make the change from pretender to contender. Between changing the Cleveland Browns' culture, removing ineffective players, and converting to a 3-4 scheme, it would be extremely difficult to evaluate Crennel's prowess in his first two years as Cleveland Browns' head coach.

The third year was definitely a charm.

While falling short of the postseason, the 2007 Cleveland Browns exceeded expectations and won 10 games - 6 more than the year before. Cleveland established a vertical passing attack all the while coining the phrase "tall ball" along the way. True to what Savage and Crennel said, the Browns had turned into a respectable team at the end of their third year.

This season has been particularly frustrating for the Browns and their fans, as the hope surrounding the team fell to the ground faster than a completion through Braylon Edwards' hands. Injuries ravished Cleveland's offense and defense. Inconsistency from those healthy enough to participate cost the team close victories. The team's strength of schedule (.595) was easily the most difficult in recent memory. Despite this, 4 of their 9 losses were by 4 points or fewer. This could easily be an 8-5 football team.


Cleveland Browns TE Kellen Winslow has symbolized everything wrong
with the 2008 Browns: health, inconsistency, and controversy.



So that brings us to Romeo Crennel. Crennel has been criticized for everything from his wins to his waistline. There are several misconceptions about the current Cleveland coach, and it's only fair to address them.

Myth #1: Romeo Crennel is a poor game manager.

False. As reported by the Plain Dealer's Toni Grossi, so much of what we see on gameday is not directly related to Romeo Crennel. The timeouts for example are the responsibility of T.J. McCreight - the Browns' Director of Player Personnel. McCreight is the man directly in Romeo's headset, whispering sweet timeout talk into his ear. Crennel only handles situational management. Kicking field goals and attempting 4th down conversions, for example, are his responsibilities alone.

Myth #2: Romeo Crennel never challenges plays.

False. Like many coaches in the NFL, Romeo Crennel leaves the decision to challenge plays up to his coaching team in the booth. Since they have the luxury of watching instant replays, they give Romeo the green light on which plays to challenge.

Myth #3: Romeo Crennel isn't fiery enough!

False. During Shaun Smith's weekly appearance on The Browns' Redzone, he clarified this misconception. Smith said Romeo Crennel often yells behind closed doors in addition to lecturing along the sidelines on gameday. Since the cameras are primarily focused on the game action, it is impossible to monitor Romeo's demeanor throughout the course of the game. Browns Beat Reporter Mary Kay Cabot also agreed - professing she too has noticed Crennel verbally reprimand players. Smith said since fans only see Crennel on a limited basis, they have developed a misconception about not only him as a coach, but how he handles players in general.



Cleveland Browns fans have been tormented for the past 20 years with bad football. After a surprise 2007 season, the need for instant gratification is at an all-time high. Due to extenuating circumstances, it may fair to write the season off and give Romeo Crennel a fair shot at redemption with the players and scheme he and Phil Savage put in place.
Category: NFL
Posted on: December 8, 2008 4:40 am
 

The Fall of Jamal


Running backs in the National Football League are very similar to automobiles: they typically run well, come in all different shapes and sizes, and are generally relied upon to transport the goods from place to place. Whether it's a bus, a Cadillac, or a train, football teams have depended on these mechanical monsters of men to carry their respective organizations to victory.

Just like any old car, there comes a time to wheel in that old classic and say goodbye forever.

For Jamal Lewis and the Cleveland Browns, that time is now.

In football terms, Jamal Lewis is like the '99 Explorer the Browns overpaid for at a used car shop. It may have looked great and dependable on the outside, but there was definitely more than met the eye involved. Lewis started all 16 games for last year’s 10-6 Browns – totaling 1,552 all-purpose yards along with 11 touchdowns. Such statistical production lead Browns GM Phil Savage to renew his lease on Lewis – signing him to a three-year contract this past offseason.

Through 13 games of the 2008 campaign, Jamal Lewis is a far cry from the bruising back the Browns signed in the spring. Lewis hasn’t been nearly as effective on the ground – averaging a mere 61.5 yards per game at 3.5 yards per carry. His choppy steps along with his indecisive nature as a runner make this year’s model of Lewis a far cry from the Hummer of a back he was in 2003.


How much gas does Jamal Lewis have left in the tank?


When comparing Jamal Lewis to the guy he was years ago in Baltimore, two important traits stand out as diminished: his speed and his strength. Jamal’s greatest asset as a runner has traditionally been his ability to keep the proverbial wheels churning throughout the duration of a play. For a physical running back like Lewis, breaking tackles while consistently moving forward is the most important element of his game. For whatever reason, it seems Jamal Lewis lost that leg strength that allowed him to maintain momentum and keep piles moving. Without that Herculean strength he once possessed, Lewis cannot generate yards after contact, and that undoubtedly resulted in a decrease in production.

In fairness to Lewis, such a drop-off in production can be partially linked to the players around him. Ryan Tucker, the Browns’ best run blocking offensive lineman, has started one game all season. Fullback Lawrence Vickers has missed significant time at different intervals this season. Derek Anderson and Brady Quinn highlighted an inconsistent passing attack which has lead to an increase of 8-man fronts. All these factors combined with Jamal Lewis have contributed to a rushing attack ranked 24th in the NFL.

Regardless of Cleveland’s offensive struggles, Jamal’s paltry performance last Sunday against the Titans indicates this very well may be the final lap of his illustrious career in the NFL. Lewis was unable to find any room against Tennessee, rushing 7 times for a total of 7 yards. He was eventually benched at the end of the 3rd quarter in favor of backup Jason Wright.

Like a car reaching the 75,000 mile plateau, it seems the useful shelf life of an NFL running back ends at age 30. Priest Holmes, Shaun Alexander, and a host of others have struggled to maintain consistent success after they hit the big 3-0. While the 29-year-old Jamal Lewis has 9 months until his next birthday, it already seems time to blow out the candles on this potential hall of fame running back.

The Cleveland Browns are circling the final lap with Jamal Lewis. His treadless tires and worn-out engine indicate his days as an elite back are but a distant memory. His lack of vision, speed, and power signify it may be time to hang it up.

And not even Castrol GTX can save him.
Category: NFL
Posted on: December 7, 2008 4:45 pm
Edited on: December 7, 2008 5:01 pm
 

Week 14: Chris Johnson Meets the Browns

There wasn't much to say about this one as the Browns were simply beaten by a superior football team. Tennessee used the same formula that established them as one of the leagues' best: run the football and stop the run. Ken Dorsey made this a game in the first quarter, but once Tennessee brought the pressure the game was essentially over. An ineffective Jamal Lewis combined with a stout Titans defense proved too much for the struggling Browns.



The Good
  • Josh Cribbs is this team's MVP. Even in this losing effort, Cribbs showed why he is the most versatile football player in the NFL. He played almost every position on offense and special teams while excelling all the way. It's a shame the only pass attempt, the 44 yard non-catch to Edwards, wasn't even challenged.
  • D'Qwell Jackson continued his play at an all-pro level. He showed great athletic ability on the first near pick and even better on two acrobatic catches for interceptions. Aside from that, one thing that stood out to me was Jackson's intensity. He played with that intensity and fire we have all longed to see out of our linebacking corps. Jackson's hard-hitting style of football makes him one of the lone bright spots for this defensive unit.
  • Rob Chudzinski: Fans and writers have grilled Chudzinski all season for a lack of offensive creativity. After this game I don't think anyone can fault him for today's effort. In this game Ken Dorsey took snaps as a wide receiver. Josh Cribbs lined up at halfback, wide receiver and quarterback. If anything, you can't fault Chud because he called one heck of a game.
The Bad
  • Mel Tucker's defense played a poor game overall. While individual efforts padded certain defensive statistics, this performance was much uglier than it looked. The Browns looked lost completely lost out there - failing to bring consistent pressure while allowing Tennessee to have their way in the trenches. What the Titans and many other teams around the league are doing to the Browns is using their strengths against them. Tennessee was able to bait Shaun Rogers - drawing him away from the play with his own aggressiveness while running away from him. The conservative zone coverage schemes were picked apart by Kerry Collins, as he found success with dump-offs and release options underneath.
  • Game Management: Romeo Crennel's coaching from a management perspective continues to be sub par. Crennel's passive use of the challenge flag burned the Browns again, as the Edwards' near catch could have changed the game's momentum. The timeout usage at the end the game was baffling, and his decision to punt late in the 4th quarter indicated the loss of a will to win.
The Ugly
  • If it wasn't clear by now, Jamal Lewis has lost his status as an elite NFL running back. Part of the reason Baltimore cut ties with Lewis was his indecisive nature and hesitation in the backfield. Unfortunately for Cleveland, both flaws manifested themselves on the field Sunday which resulted in a lack of production (7 carries for 7 yards). Not taking anything away from the Titans, but a better running back gets the job done in this game. Both Chris Johnson and LenDale White demonstrated the proper way to run the football. As a speed back, Johnson showed patience and followed the play design - cutting back only when necessary. Great running backs like Chris Johnson are decisive in their running while maintaining a consistent push towards the endzone.



The Browns are not a very good football team. D'Qwell Jackson and Josh Cribbs are exciting players to watch, and provide hope for the 2009 season.

From now on, Ken Dorsey is auditioning for a backup position next year. His decision making was sub par against a really strong defense, so we'll have to see exactly how he comes out next week. Let's hope Dorsey and the Browns can come out and maintain a shred of respectability over the remainder of the season.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com