NFL Insider Notes: Kyle Shanahan, Taylor Gabriel make Browns look dumb
Also, don't sleep on the Saints and why the Colts deserve props for Scott Tolzien
I had an advance scout working on the Atlanta Falcons last week send me a text after watching Taylor Gabriel 's explosive game against the Arizona Cardinals ' top-ranked defense. It was yet another one of many texts I get about the inept decision-making of the Cleveland Browns .
Gabriel scored two dynamic touchdowns on a day when the Cards did well to bottle up the Falcons' two-pronged rushing attack and All Pro receiver Julio Jones .
"This guy wasn't good enough to play in Cleveland?" he wrote. "Really? What's going on there? They cut him and they have Terrelle Pryor on the roster but they need to go out and draft five receivers. What a joke."
It's hard to argue with that as the Browns look dead set on 0-16. Along those same lines, one of the truly ridiculous things in recent NFL history is the Browns allowing Kyle Shanahan, a hot head coaching candidate now and a long-respected coordinator, to leave that organization with two years left on his contract to make a lateral move as a coordinator in Atlanta.
Of course, in Atlanta, is where Shanahan eventually collected Gabriel and former Browns Pro Bowl center Alex Mack . How did that happen? Well, there are 31 NFL teams, and then there are the Browns.
Only in Cleveland, the NFL's Siberia.
More NFL notes entering Week 13:
The Colts take a lot of heat for a lot of reasons but not enough was made of how competent backup quarterback Scott Tolzien played in prime time last week with Andrew Luck out. They had three backups hold the season together a year ago to the point they were still in playoff contention in Week 17 despite losing Luck for virtually the entire season, and Tolzien wasn't the reason they lost the Pittsburgh Steelers .
He fared better than I think most could have expected. It's certainly an upgrade over the days of Curtis Painter and the like backing up Peyton Manning under Hall of Fame GM Bill Polian's reign.
Los Angeles Rams
Could the Rams stick with their entire regime in place if this season continues on its current trajectory? It's hard for me to see that, particularly on the personnel side of things.
New Orleans Saints
If the Saints continue to hang in the playoff race, and I suspect they do, Drew Brees will get ample attention. And rightfully so.
But Mark Ingram has been a beast since emerging from Sean Payton's doghouse from a case of fumble-itis. He's playing at an All-Pro level. In the past four games, he has rushed 47 times for 382 yards with two touchdowns.
I'm not a big math guy, but 8.12 yards per carry is ridiculous for any time period, let alone a quarter of the season. In the last two games in which he's carried the ball at least 12 times, he's cracked 145 yards rushing. He went for 10 yards a carry last week against what had been a very stout Rams defense and he faces a pedestrian Detroit Lions run defense this week. He's fresh from the limited role, with Tim Hightower firmly in the mix as well. The Saints defense is getting more respectable by the week as well. Don't sleep on them.
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