As said in week one of these posts, Shaun Rodgers is a beast. He’s clearly the best player on the Browns defense (may not be saying too much), however, he’s also probably one of the top 10 defensive players in the league, and I can’t think of many DL that I’d rather have over him. Certainly, this wasn’t a flawless win, as the Browns still have some issues to address, but I’ll take it.
Again, I watched the game at BW3, this time banished to a small TV in the corner, so this week’s assessment will be below average.
This wasn’t the 2007 Browns offense, but it was very effective against a good team with one major exception. But first, the good news. . . very few offensive penalties. For a team that shot itself in the foot against the Giants two weeks ago, this is a drastic improvement. In addition, the line played exceptionally well except near the goal line. As mentioned last week, the primary issue seems to be Fraley’s inability to get any push after snapping the ball. He routinely gets pushed back a yard or two, which, I’m guessing is a result of 1 of 2 issues: 1) He’s not quick enough out of his stance (I don’t think this is it, otherwise it would be an issue in other areas of the field 2) He doesn’t have the bulk to hold his ground. If it’s number 2, there really isn’t much the team can do to solve this problem this season. I think the team needs to rely on play action fakes on early downs near the goal line, spread the field and run Lewis underneath, or split both Winslow and Braylon out and have them make plays.
Anderson played about as well as he can. Great pass to Edwards downfield, and the right read to Steptoe when the blitz was coming. The fumble was clearly his fault, Thomas and the rest of the OL gave him about 5 second to throw, and he should have been able to get rid of it. Also, he seems incredibly hesitant to run. I understand we’re not talking about the best running QB in the league, but on a couple of bootlegs, he seemed to have enough room to pick up 5-6 yards, and instead, forced passes.
Almost a perfect game by this group. Jamal ran hard as always, and Wright and Vickers did their jobs in pass protection, running, and receiving. Harrison still looks a little hesitant to lower his head when there isn’t a gaping hole for him to run through.
Stallworth seems to be providing the legitimate 3rd option the Browns were hoping for, and obviously not having Winslow on the field hurts (see ineffectiveness inside the red zone). Edwards looked good on his deep catch, but again, dropped an easy ball. Hieden seems to be an effective starting TE, especially because he’s a better blocker than Winslow, but it’s obvious his hands aren’t as good, nor is he as fast as Winslow. As stated before, Rucker’s development will be the key to what the Browns do with Winslow in the offseason.
A very good game for this group again, except for near the goal line. Hadnot seems to be finding his place as the starter at RG. Because I got to the game late and missed the introductions, I’m not sure if Tucker or Shaffer started. Regardless, the group played well as a unit, and kept rushers out of Anderson’s face
Rodgers is incredible, the law firm of Thomas, Leonard and Rubin seemed to play reasonably well against a team the historically runs the ball well. Keep in mind, the Jags are without both starting guards due to injury, so this doesn’t mean that the law firm has gotten better, but rather, the completion got worse.
Willie McGinnest sucks section
Willie is now the king of getting to the QB two steps late. The Browns for some reason also believe that he’s the ideal defender to run a stunt (start at left DE, rush at right DT) with in obvious passing situations. Further, he had an incredible ole’ move on Gerrard on Gerrard’s first long ruin of the day. If you watch the replay, you can actually see Willie run right past him, making almost no effort to slow Gerrard down, let alone tackle him.
As a result, Alex Hall should be the one playing in these situations. He may not have the size to power rush a guard or tackle, but at least he applies more pressure than McGinnest’s patented pass rush move of: take 2 steps forward, put hands up.
We have a Beau Bell sighting. That was him stripping the ball on the kick return. I’d like to see the Browns play him a lot more in the coming weeks as the team needs to make a decision whether or not they need to draft another ILB to replace Andra Davis. (You can assume the Browns want 3 starters at that position, and they’re hoping Bell will be the 3rd). Davis’ contract is up at the end of the season. One surprising personnel decision has been keeping Davis in on passing situations and dropping him into coverage. I know Leon is terrible in coverage, but I’d like to see what Jackson can do, since he’s quicker than Andra.
Wimbley and Hall didn’t do much. This will obviously be the 1st area the Browns address this offseason. I did see a spin move by Wimbley, which it appears only took him 3 years to perfect.
If you read the previous posts before, you know I’m a huge fan of Pools, and again he played well. However, do not discount Sean Jones ability to step up in the running game. I’m certainly not putting him on the same level as Bob Sanders, but he routinely gets involved in stopping running plays close to the line of scrimmage. I’m surprised the Jags didn’t notice this, and try expose Jones’ tendency by going over his head with a play action pass.
Wright and McDonald did about as good a job as they can do when they’re covering guys that are at least 6 inches taller and 40-60 lbs heavier than them. Matt Jones presents a very tough match-up for any team, but an especially tough one for the Browns as both corners are undersized. I do have to call out Reggie Williams (jags WR) for his ability to celebrate after just every catch. I’m not sure how many catches he has this season, or in his career, but judging by his reaction after making plays, I’m guessing he’s never caught more than 3 in a game for over 15 yards.
On another positive note, Terry Cousins only got burned once, due to the following factors:
1) The browns had him matched up against Dennis Northcutt
2) Dennis Northcutt isn’t good
3) The Jags don’t have a better 3rd WR than Dennis Northcutt
It will be interesting to see as the season progresses how the Browns fare against teams with the following two strengths:
1) Good running game
2) Legit 3rd WR
As requested by a reader, here are my thoughts on the rumored Browns trades from last week:
First, my stance on any offseason moves comes down to a couple of words. In Savage I trust. He’s made some extremely savvy moves over the last couple of years that have put the Browns in a significantly better shape then he got them in, and for the 1st time in a while, the team actually has tradable assets (Droughns doesn’t count). Further, he’s been an absolutely masterful in the draft, in that only two picks really stand out as busts (Travis Wilson and Charlie Frye). Needless to say, one could look further north to Detroit and see what a bad talent evaluator does to a team’s chances.
Thus, I’m 100% behind both of his decisions to not make the trade in the below two rumored scenarios. Because of this, I will leave my commentary to what I think his decisions mean to his perspective on the team.
Scenario 1: Rumored trade of Quinn to Vikings for #1 in 2010, and #1 in 2009.
First, to put this trade into present value, it equates to a #1 and a #2 in 2009. This means that the Browns would essentially be trading Quinn for exactly what they paid for him, except they paid him a bunch of money to sit on the bench. I think this trade means one of four things: 1) Savage isn’t totally sold on Anderson as the starting QB 2) Savage doesn’t think that Dorsey is a real #2 QB, and doesn’t like the prospects of potentially having to bring someone like Culpepper to Cleveland 3) He likes Quinn a lot, and think if he plays this year he’ll be worth more than a #1 and a #2. 4) He thinks Quinn is the answer at QB long term, and believes he’s better off getting a #2 for Anderson this offseason.
Also keep in mind that if Quinn is very good, and the Vikings turn into a contender, he’d be getting a late round pick in both drafts. On the flip side, there is ABSOLUTELY 0 value in getting a top 6 pick in the draft. The guaranteed money is too big, so the picks have no way of helping the team more than paying a proven veteran the same amount (would you rather have Shaun Rodgers or a guy 4 years younger that may or may not pan out, but cost you the same amount of money. ) Thus, if Brady doesn’t pan out, the Browns are stuck with a very high draft pick.
Savage loses nothing by holding on to Quinn until the end of the season, where he can guarantee that he can get the same deal or better, without serious risk of the trade biting him in the ass.
Scenario 2: Rumored trade of Winlsow for a #2 in 2009
This is another interesting situation where I think Savage believes one of the following 3 things:
1) K2 is worth more in the offseason after playing the season healthy. The most valuable picks are the 1st 5 or 6 in the 2nd round (1st round talent at 2nd round price).
2) He’s unsure if Rucker, Heiden, and Dinkins are a legitimate answer to the TE position. Trading Winslow before you know what you have in Rucker is a scary thought
3) Kellen won’t want a new deal at the end of this season (I don’t think this is the reason at all)
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