Posts Tagged ‘anderson’

Browns v. Colts

December 2, 2008

Thoughts on the Anderson injury

                Obviously this is very bad for the Browns for two reasons:

1)      He gives them the best chance to win any of these last couple of games.  The Browns will clearly be in better position next year if they have a pick after the 1st 5 or 6, as opposed to being in those 1st 5 picks.  The guaranteed money is too big and it screws with your cap space.

2)      Anderson’s trade value is basically 0 now.  His cap number is around $5 million, and nobody’s sure if he’ll play football again.  Cutting him does nothing to reduce the cap hit, but trading him would have.  Please keep that in mind browns fans regarding the below.

Any Browns fan who cheered when he got hurt needs to be summarily shot for three reasons:

1)      It’s a disgusting personality trait to actually be happy that someone got hurt

2)      It’s even worse when you’re stupid.  If you consider yourself a Browns fan, the injury is Anderson injury is actually worse for the team

3)      There’s a 90% chance you cheered for Anderson last year when he went to the Pro Bowl.  Further, as articulated many times, a large portion of his struggles this year were out of his control due to injury or better opponents.  Also keep in mind that Manning’s QB rating was 22 in this game.

Dorsey actually made three really good throws despite having no more than 10 warm-up passes and no snaps during practice in 12 weeks.  I’m not saying he’s better than Anderson or Quinn, but I don’t think the drop off will be as enormous as everyone thinks.   He’s smart QB who seems to be able to make good throws (market research of 3 passes).  Think of him as a poor man’s Kosar.

Now  the game analysis

Offense

Clearly the offensive strategy was perfect for this contest.  Keep the ball out of Manning’s hands, by running the ball against a porous defense and pass only when you need to b/c of the two great DE ends on the Colts.  The problem however, is that execution was awful, except for 2 running plays and Anderson’s solid passing effort.

QB

Anderson played ok, not great in this game.  He eerily looked similar to Quinn against the Broncos a couple of weeks ago with a couple of exceptions: 1) He was under a lot more pressure 2) the weather conditions were working against him 3) the running game was bad (more on this below).  He checked down to the open receiver, and except for missing Stallworth deep on 1 play, made good accurate throws that moved the chains when needed (11-20 on 3rd down)

RB

No fault of Lewis, Wright or Harrison in this game.  They all looked like their normal selves.  Wright was quick to the hole when he got his chances, Lewis fought hard for extra yards when he was hit, and Harrison was fast.  Again, the issue here was not getting a better rotation between the backs.  Crennel/Chud seem to believe in the “wearing the defense down” theory (which there is no statistical proof that there are running backs that can do this, and the Browns certainly haven’t shown that they’re the exception to the rule this year)

OL

Probably the worst game played this season.  Outside of a 15 yard run by Lewis on a draw, and an 8 yard run on a counter, the line didn’t open 1 other hole the entire game. As stated above, the strategy was correct, running the ball to keep the ball away from Manning was key, but execution was horrible.  I think the browns could have done a little more play action, and looked for safe passes, but an ineffective running game doesn’t open up holes in the zone for the passing game.

Pass blocking was an issue obviously on two key plays (Anderson’s fumble, Anderson’s injury).  Both can be directly attributed to the two tackles, not surprisingly, as they were facing two of the best pass rushing DE’s in the game.  Thomas again showed that he’s struggling with bull rush moves from quicker defenders (Mario last week).  Shaffer’s never really been successful in pass blocking this year against above average DEs, let alone top flight ones.

I do think I would have schemed slightly differently.  Freeney’s success came from his very wide stance when a TE was on his side supposedly to help Thomas make the block.  However, what this actually did is give him another two steps to get momentum against Thomas.  Shaffer on the other hand, facing a pass rusher with less of a bull rush move (and more bulk to handle it), probably would have benefited more from either the TE or a RB chip.

WR/TE

Braylon again showed his ability to beat man coverage.  While he may have his drop issues this year, he can certainly beat coverage in most instances when he needs to.  On his one 17 yard catch this was apparent as the CB was playing him for a deep post route and Braylon still got open (helped by a great pass by Anderson).  He was blanketed on one occasion near the end zone, when he and Winslow ran a crossing route.  Chud needs to change the routes Edwards’ runs, b/c teams seem to be playing him to catch a slant, especially in short yardage/goal line situations.  A post corner or sluggo route is needed.  Lastly, the drop wasn’t his fault.  He was well covered and did a great job to even get a hand on the ball.

Winslow played well, even throwing a key block on Lewis’ draw.  Hieden again showed that he’s above average, but nowhere near the threat to catch just about everything thrown to him like Winslow, or get open.

Rucker made two appearances in Winslow’s absence resulting in a catch, and incorrectly lining up (forcing a browns Time Out).  I’d like to see him get more PT as the season winds down (which is unlikely, due to Crennel’s job being on the line, and his propensity to not play rookies – where’s Beau Bell?)

I think Chud missed an opportunity to expose the lack of a good MLB on the Colts with either more play action passing or a seam route by Winslow.  The 4-3 MLB in the cover 2 system has an unbelievably hard task of running down the field with the TE on seem routes.  Very few starters can stay with Winslow on this route, let alone 3rd stringers.

Chud also kept asking Steptoe to block way, WAY too much.  At 200 lbs. soaking wet he doesn’t have the build that last year’s #3 (Jurevicous) does to make blocks, nor the desire or ability.  Stallworth on the other hand has showed that he can make these blocks.  Steptoe’s blocking assignment was the cause for Cribb’s “Flash” play not working.  Steptoe has no chance of blocking a 240 lb. LB, nor should he be asked to.

Defense

Probably the best game the defense played all year.  I’m not 100% sure if this was attributable to weather, or a new found desire to play better defense.  What is surprising is that the success wasn’t a result of Rodger’s dominance (except for the missed FG).  Instead, it seemed like Williams and S. Smith were able to hold the line a little bit better.  McGinnest made his one play, then did pretty much nothing as usual.

DL

Probably the best game by this group in stopping the run.  The best thing that could be said is that you didn’t know when one of the law firm members was in the game.   I think the biggest reason for this was a healthy (except for Robaire being on IR) rotation.

LB

Wimbley, again showed his prowess in stopping the run, but his lack of a pass rush (and scheming to give him a chance – he can’t be 1 of 3 rushers) is evident.  D’Qwell again really impressed me, very frequently the only two reasons why he didn’t make tackles is b/c 1) a DL lineman prevented him from getting there by getting pushed in his way 2) a DL made the tackle.  He’s incredibly quick sideline to sideline, and is a sure tackler.

DB

Obviously McDonald’s best game of the year.  But I’d argue he played just as well last year against Houston in his first start.  It’s hard to fault this group when 1) you’re playing against the smartest, best QB in the game 2) you’re severely overmatched at WR.   I’m guessing this was a weather condition helped unit as opposed to dramatic improvement by the group.  Most surprisingly was how infrequently the colts exploited the two greatest mismatches (McGinnest on Clark, Cousins on Gonzalez)

McDonald again showed he’s a very sure tackler.  That aspect can’t be underestimated, and in a cover 2 defense like the Colts play, he’d probably be a huge asset (despite his less than ideal stature)

One last comment.  Put away the Cowher signs and stop bashing Savage.  Fans should support their teams through thick and thin, not bash them when things go bad.  Savage is one of the top GM’s at evaluating talent in the league (subject of latter post) and this really can’t be argued if the other side uses data to support their argument.

 

Drive by Drive analysis below:

 

1st  Defensive Drive

McGinnest gave up contain on the sweep.  Shaun smith makes a great play running down the field.  He and Rodgers don’t get enough credit for their hustle.   Forced fumble gives Browns the ball back.

1st offensive Drive

Fraley/Steinbach opened a big hole in the middle on 1st play, on the 2nd play Hadnot screened DT very well.  This is where we need to win the game

No Mathis on run downs so early draw plays won’t work.  I’ll focus on Thomas against Freeney

Short yardage.  Great push by Hadnot/Fraley – Anderson did a great job pushing the line forward on the QB sneak

Thomas did a great job collapsing Freeney.  Winslow should have gotten to 2nd level and it would have been a larger gain. – He looked inside instead of outside, and his guy made the tackle)

4th straight run with Lewis – he’s tired, less of push (now he’s taken out)

Wright able to take advantage of Shaffer’s block on the outside

Another good hole opened up by GCG. – Lewis Rushes for 2.  Still not fully rested (only 1 play off)

Another run, 1 WR set, Browns hardly ever pass in this formation.  Edwards had man to man

3rd and long – need to see how Thomas does.

                Line holds well.  Anderson needed to let play develop more.  Can’t beat a cover 2 with a swing pass on 3rd and 7.

 

Summary Line is doing a good job in blocking the run.  Colts moved 8 men into the box after the 5th straight run (forced 2 short gains).  If this continues, the running game won’t work all game long.  They need to come out and play action pass on 1st down on next drive.

2nd Defensive Drive

Beau Bell and Cribbs in on tackle on 2nd KO.

Corner blitz timed incredibly well by Adams.  Addai blocked it very well.  Wright beaten on man coverage.

McGinnest on Clark in slot.  Run to inside, Davis makes a great, aggressive play at LOS.  Look for Colts to hit Clark and exploit this matchup.

Sweep left, Williams doesn’t hold line.  D’Qwell flows well and makes the tackle.

L. Williams lined up on Clark – blitzed.  Picked up again.  McDonald beat by Wayne on good pass/catch

Manning audibled two plays in a row

                Catch them lined up weak to left – 6 yards on run

                Drop off over the middle – good tackle by Davis

Slant to Harrison – Wright too far off to stop the route.  Good read by Peyton.

Swing to Addai – Jackson makes a great play on the sideline.

Sweep right – Williams pushed back which slowed D’Qwell to sideline.  Williams could be showing signs of fatigue.

Browns’ line tired.   Need to get subs in to give them a break,  3rd and 11 on 13.

                Great pass/route from Manning to Wayne in endzone. McDonald makes a great play to rip ball out of Wayne’s hands

Summary: No huddle is incredibly bad for Browns b/c of big lineman who need breaks.  It will also wear out the team in the long run more quickly.  Manning has been exceptional in noticing where Browns are vulnerable.  Stopping them to a FG was key.

2nd Offensive Drive

Need to open up the offense on this drive – Play action needed on 1st or 2nd down. 

Quick pass to Vickers in obvious pass set.  Freeney made no progress on Thomas.

Draw play opened big hole.   – Winslow and Handot with big blocks to free Lewis.  Makes one guy miss and runs over another in the defensive backfield.

Another good hole opened on the rights side.  Lewis goes right through it and breaks some tackles.  Outside of the draw play for 15, Lewis has picked up 23 yards on 7 carries.  Draw play came with Mathis in the game (pass situations) great call by Chud for recognizing Colts personnel changes. 

Another quick pass set (3 step drop).  Anderson makes good read to get it to open Winslow. Shaffer got great initial block on Mathis.

Fraley got great push on 3rd and 1.  This is an obvious change for him.

Again, obvious run set on 1st down, again short run to left. Lewis picks up 2.  Excluding the short yardage and the draw, Lewis has run the ball 8 times for 25.    Said differently, the run game isn’t really moving the ball too much.  Anderson has made quick reads to hit open receivers, and led them well.

If Brackett is hurt, that’s a huge injury.  He plays the middle LB in the 4-3.  Look for the Browns to try and take advantage by getting Winslow open in the seam.

I’d like to see the Browns play action from an obvious run formation, and get the ball to K2 that way.

Harrison sweep left – couldn’t see the play b/c they were still replaying the injury.

Throw over the middle to K2 (attacking where MLB was replaced)

Obvious run formation, sweep left for a couple of yards.

5 wide – Anderson again making quick read and hits Hieden for 3.  Similar to Quinn, he’s getting rid of the ball very quickly, and looking underneath.

3rd and 5 out to Winslow.  Great route and pass to get him open.  Anderson had locked on to Winslow which brought the LB over to make the tackle.

Finally, play fake from run formation with slant to Edwards, who makes a good play on the ball.

I’d like to see a fade to Edwards on this play .

In run formation.  Edwards blanketed on slant, and Winslow covered just as well on the out.  Anderson made a good play to throw it away.

2nd and goal from the 9 and we run for 2 yards.  Not sure what this was supposed to accomplish.

Shaffer beat badly by Mathis on outside move.  Anderson stepped up in pocket and didn’t really need to.

Summary Starting to move the ball better through the air.  Anderson seems to lock on to his receivers, but is making the right decision so far.  Winslow’s been able to get open, and Braylon beat his man on the one man coverage that the Browns passed against.  Run game has been virtually halted, so the next drive will show where Chud thinks he has the advantage.  The long drive was crucial to give the D a break and keep Peyton off the field.

3rd Defensive Drive

Shotgun 4 wide – great play by Wayne/Manning. Can’t do much to stop that

Sweep right.  Wimbley makes a good play keeping contain and making the tackle (1 yard gain).  Much harder to sweep against him than Willie.

Lots of time for Manning, good coverage forces him to go underneath. Wimbley makes another good open field tackle.

Blitz and pass completed to Clark (Pool was picked off by Umpire) – pick up of 16.  Manning faced pressure on the blitz.

Huge hole on play where Colts pulled a guy – Rodgers took himself out of the play, Jones took a bad angle and got manhandled.

Sweep off right side – Rodgers left unblocked.  McDonald makes a good tackle on the outside.  Gained 6.

Rodgers drops in pass coverage on Zone Blitz.  Not sure why he’s the guy dropping off.

3rd and 2.  Slant pass to Harrison (covered very well by Wright).  Hard play to stop.

Essentially 4-3 look.  Leonard makes a play coming off a block, which was impressive.

2nd and Goal from the 6.

Manning sees Blitz coming – shift from under center to shotgun and the run a draw – picks up 4.

3rd and Goal from the 1 – huge play.

Single back (audible) to run to right guard.  Stopped just short of goal line.  Lots of guys in on the tackle.  Rodgers made a decent play.  Williams seemed to fill the gap well. 

4th and goal from the 1.  You can guarantee that Crennel would kick the field goal here.  Obviously, Colts are going for it.  The hard thing about the colts is that you have no idea if this is a run or a pass.

QB sneak – no idea if he got in.

Pool seemed to have forced a fumble.  Browns recover

3rd Offensive Drive (starting from half yard line)

Anderson sneaks for 2 (good blocking again by GCG)

FB Dive to Vickers .  Colts take TO.  There’s a really good chance the browns D will be on the field again if we don’t get a 1st down.

Run to Lewis off RT.  No room and the Browns have to punt.

 

4th Defensive Drive

On Punt: Great coverage by Sorenson/Cribbs getting down field.  Hieden also beat his man.

Stopped hail mary pass (intercepted by Jones)  Manning under-threw it due to pressure that eventually got there.

Summary: Three major differences so far:

1)      Manning’s ability to call the play that exposes browns D weakness.  Very few teams have QB that can do this

2)      Hard to stop manning to Harrison slants etc.

3)      Addai averaging a full yard per carry more than Lewis.  Colts can run the ball against the Browns, reverse isn’t true.

1st offensive Drive of 2nd half.

3 WR set – Steptoe assigned to block backside.  Lewis runs for 2.  Running game is not working, at all.

Winslow hurt – appears to be his ankle. 

Run to left. ..  .again not going anywhere.  Browns need to open up the offense.

Watching the tackles –

Shaffer did a great job on Mathis – Thomas got overpowered by Freeney and pushed into Anderson which affected the throw (behind Edwards who made a good play to get a hand on it – not a drop)

Summary Browns need to pass on 1st down.  The run is going nowhere Lewis is 12 for 29 if you remove the draw and the 3rd and short run).  First down passing keeps Mathis off the field.

1st Defensive Drive

Corner pressure comes from Wright , Manning takes 1 on 1 shot to Wayne on McDonald.  McDonald makes a great play on the ball and beats Wayne to make the interception.

2nd Offensive Drive

1st Down pass leaves Stallworth wide open.  Anderson overthrows him by a bunch.  Not sure if wind impacted the throw.  This throw needed to be made to loosen up colts D.  Need to keep taking these strikes

Quick throw to Stallworth, picks up 4. 

3rd and 6.

Good blocking by both tackles.  Edwards again open on the slant (even though it was overplayed by Jennings).  Post corner route needs come soon.

Lewis breaks an 8 yard gain.  Good blocking by Line and Vickers.

Run to right, Colts get good penetration past Hadont (I think) which keeps it to 3rd and 2.

Rucker in game, lined up incorrectly and the Browns need to call a TO.

Cribbs run on Flash formation, goes for no gain b/c Chud asked Steptoe to block LB (not sure why that match-up didn’t work in our benefit).  He was only giving up 45-50 lbs to the guy he was supposed to block, and has showed absolutely no ability to block anyone all season.  Stallworth should have been the guy making that block.

2nd Defensive Drive

Single back trap right – Rodgers tackles him 8 yards down field.  Not sure where hole opened up.

Wimbley and Williams make tackle.

3rd and 1 – run right at Willie who gets pushed back 3 yards.

No huddle (again) Willie lined up inside (2 yard pass).  Wimbley, Rodgers, Williams only three guys coming to rush Manning

Trap left – Pool and Rodgers blow up play in backfield.

3rd and 6

Two backs in shotgun (man on outside, rush 4).  Great pass on a line to Wayne on McDonald and Jones.  Perfect pass.

Willie makes his play for the day, beating his guy (asked to come off next play) – run at Hall who gets pushed back too far.

(too many men on field) – Browns were tired and tried to make subs.

Gonzalez beats adams (not a good match-up for Browns).  This is the Holly injury biting them in the ass.

Rodgers beats two guys, keeps run to just 2 yards.

Manning goes after Wayne 1 on 1 with McDonald, good coverage.  Somehow Adams stayed with Gonzo.  Rodgers blocked by 3 guys.

3rd and 8.

Zone Blitz – McGinnest dropping.  Forces underneath pass which is dropped by Addai.

Rodgers gets through on FG attempt (again).  Missed left

3rd offensive Drive

I’d like to see rucker get into the game to see what we have there.

Run left – no room, picks up 1.

Anderson throws underneath to Lewis – pick up of 7 as he ran over a LB.

3rd and 2 – Steptoe on in route, picks up 3 for 1st down.  (Anderson locked on to him, thus no YAC)

Play action pass on 1st down – covered well downfield – Anderson throws it behind Lewis for an incomplete pass.

Lead draw to left,  Lewis picks up 5.  3rd and 4

Great pass blocking gives Anderson a lot of time.  Thrown incomplete to Hieden (again, locked in to that side of the field.)

Perfect punt by Zastudil.

3rd Defensive Drive

3 guys push Rodgers out of position, pick up of 5 by Rhodes. D looks a little tired.

Manning reads blitz coming (Browns showed it early) and hits Gonzo for 4.  Pool was slow getting to Gonzo in coverage.

3rd and 1.

All 3 DL pushed back, pick up of 4.

Single back run right.  Jackson makes a great play from ILB.  C. Williams kept lineman off of Jackson so Jackson could make the play.

Single back run left.  Strung out poorly by Smith, pick up of 6

3rd and 3

Incomplete pass from Manning to Wayne on crossing pattern.  McDonald takes inside route and Manning couldn’t get it to him.  Rodgers was in his face.

4th offensive drive

Run to right (pulled Steinbach) pick up of 2 – running game really not moving the ball at all.

Lead draw right, picks up 4, as Lewis beats two would be tacklers

3rd and 4 –

Trap right, Steptoe asked to block again.  Browns push Harrison to get extra yards and 1st down.  Great run by Wright.

Play action pass should come here. – they don’t and run it as Lewis picks up 2 over RG.

Run formation, play action pass.  Bootleg by Anderson who was helped by Rucker’s bock.  Hieden drops the ball b/c of a great hit by DB Hayden.

3rd and 8 –

Freeney pushed Thomas into Anderson again, beats him and knocks the ball out of Anderson’s hands.  Returned for TD by Colts.  I think having TE on Thomas’ side may be hurting Thomas more than helping hm (giving him more room to get momentum)

5th Offensive Drive

Good return by Cribbs negated by Hall’s block in back penalty – starting from 21 yard line instead of 31.  Need to open up the offense or it may not be back on the field again (9:45 left in game)

Incomplete pass on 1st down.

Over the middle to hieden on 2nd for 8 yards.

Big 3rd and 2. – empty backfield

                Wrong read by Anderson, but good catch by Rucker (on his back side)

Counter run with Lewis on 1st and 10.  Picks up 3.  No real room.  Again Steptoe asked to  block a bigger guy and can’t.  Colts down to 3rd MLB with another injury.  This needs to be exposed with pass over middle.

Lewis has room on draw play, but reads it wrong (should have been Harrison on that run)

3rd and 4.

Single back – complete pass to Hieden on an out for 6 yards.

Need to play fake on 1st down and look deep as there’s only 6:30 left in the game.  This drive is taking too long.

                They do, Anderson looks long but throws underneath to and Lewis who can’t handle it.

In twins I –formation, browns pick up 2 on Lewis run.  Not sure about this play call

3rd and 7 – tackles are key to conversion.  3 step drop isn’t enough time.

Miscommunication between Anderson and Heiden, leads to incomplete pass.  Thomas was knocked over by a twist by DE and DT.  Steinbach picked up Freeney well.  Thomas seems to be struggling a lot with bull rushes.  Will continue to watch this in coming weeks (this could also be attributed to playing against two top DE (Freeney /Mario Williams)

4th defensive drive

5:30 left – good chance Browns don’t get the ball back.  Need a 3 and out badly.  I’d come with pressure.

Single back – not blitz shown. – Adams blitzes and stops play in backfield.  Willie jumps offsides (on backside) to give Colts another shot

Single back -1st and 5.

                Willie holds the LOS really well on rush to his side.  No gain.

2nd and 4 shotgun.

                Nobody touches Wayne before he gets 5 yards, then catches the pass.  Needed to be pressed better

1st and 10

                Good play by Adams crashing down from slot, stops potential 8 yard gain to just 5 (3:30 left)

                Run for 3

                Right move by Crennel to not use the TO.  There’s no reason to use them at that point.

6th offensive position

2:00 minutes left – starting on 30

Great blocking by Tackles gives Anderson time – pick up of 5

Another throw underneath – dropped by Wright

                3rd and 5

7 yard pass to Wright – Tackles keeping Mathis/Freeney away from Anderson

Shaffer abused by Mathis , bull rushed and knocked over)– sacked for an 8 yard loss.  Hadnot should be looking to help him out, but this was Shaffers’s fault.

Dorsey in the game

                Throws great ball to Edwards who gets hit as he gets his hands on it.

                Throws a good ball on the run to Steptoe – who was out of bounds.

4th and 20

                Intercepted as pass was forced to Braylon.         

 

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Week 8 v. Jags, with comments on rumored trades

October 27, 2008

Game Recap:

Overall summary:

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.

Offense

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.

QB

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.

RB

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.

TE/WR

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.

OL

 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

DL:

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.

LBs:

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.

DBs

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)

 

Please feel free to leave comments, and please forward this e-mail to friends/family that would be interested.

 

Browns v. Giants Week 6

October 14, 2008

Injuries

TE/WR:  Jurevicious, Winslow

OL: Shaffer

LB: Peak

DB: Holly, Jones

DL: R. Smith, S. Smith

I think Beau Bell is back, but didn’t see him on the field at all.

 

Overall recap:

It’s amazing what getting close to the starting offensive line, and your #2 WR does for an offense.  Tucker was incredible in pass protection, and he and Hadnot made running to the right side as effective as running left.  Heiden was very effective in Winslow’s role, especially in blocking on running plays.  Stallworth drew the attention of the defense.  Despite an obscene amount of penalties, the offense looked very good.  In addition, Cribbs was finally healthy, which allowed the offense to be a little more adventurous.

On the defensive side, the DB’s looked great in tackling WRs and made some very good reads.  However, the team has a huge issue in guarding #3 receivers (Cousins can’t stay with anyone) which is why the Holly injury was enormous.  In addition, the Browns better pray that Shaun Smith comes back, because his back-ups Lenard, Thomas, and Rubin (not a bad law firm name), were atrocious.

Also keep in mind that Eli is nowhere near the QB that Peyton is, despite what the announcers says.  He’s an above average QB who has a tendency to throw off target passes, and not look off coverage (see Pools’, and Wright’s INTs.

QB

This was a great game for Anderson, and an ideal opponent.  The Giants like blitzing, and playing man to man behind it.  Anderson has a good arm, and can read whether or not a guy is open in man coverage pretty well.  I’m shocked that the Giants continued to blitz and play man coverage despite little or no success in doing it. 

RB

Lewis gets and deserves a lot of press for his running, but the real key to the passing game on Monday was Wright’s ability to pick up blitzes and Harrison’s hands out of the backfield.

WR/TE

Braylon played like he’s able.  He dominated smaller DBs, and made the catches that he’s supposed to.  Stallworth provided a decent 2nd threat, but more importantly, he’s actually a very good blocker.  As mentioned above, Heiden blocked well, but isn’t the receiving threat that Winlsow is.  Dinkins needs to be cut as soon as Rucker gets back.  Yes he caught at TD, but he also dropped two catchable balls and isn’t a great blocker

OL

This was a coming out party for the OL.  They won this game hands down.  They manhandled the Giants on running plays, and stopped just about every blitz in its tracks.  It will be interesting to see what happens when Shaffer returns from injury (they obviously can’t replace Tucker, but I’m not sure if Shaffer is better than Hadnot).  On Monday, Hadnot looked great.  One other comment, Fraley is exceptional in getting downfield and making blocks.  One knock on the team’s best lineman, Joe Thomas, is that if he hustled more on Harrison’s reverse, it would have been a TD.  That’s nitpicking, but there weren’t a lot of flaws with this group.

DL
This is an enormous problem.  Williams and Rodgers played well, but the aforementioned law firm of Lenard, Thomas and Rubin were horrible.  Routinely they were getting blocked at least 5 yards down field.  Granted were talking about 3 guys that shouldn’t be playing more than a combined 10 snaps a game.  This is the teams 5th, 6th, and 7th DL.  Normally, 3-4 teams only carry 6 guys.  Their background, if you’re not aware is: a guy that was cut from the Rams (Lenard), a 7th round draft pick this year (Rubin), and I don’t know anything about Thomas.  Basically, these guys need to learn how to get on the ground when they’re being blocked this well, because it cuts off LB pursuit.

LBs

Measuring the LBs success when the DL lineman are in your face is tough. . . More of what was said before can be said again.  They appear to be good tacklers, although D’Qwell needs to bulk up a little more to take on guards and people like Brandon Jacobs.  Pass rush from this group was non-existant.  McGinnest made his one good play of the day (kind of, he didn’t wrap up), but as usual, was more of a detriment than a benefit.  Hall looked good in pass rush, but needs to put on weight this offseason to replace Willie full time in pass rush situations

DBs

Can’t say enough about how well these guys tackled.  McDonald was a steal in the 5th round, and somehow plays better against bigger guys than he does against small ones.  Wright looked good in coverage, and made a great move on Eli to take the INT for a TD.  Pool is definitely the safety to keep this offseason (letting Jones go).  As mentioned before, he’s great in coverage, and good enough against the run.   Not having a 3rd CB is an issue.  Teams that can put a good 3rd WR on the field will kill the browns, and there’s really no immediate solution to this.

Coaching:

All in all a good game by the staff.  No major clock management issues by Crennel, but the offensive penalties need to stop.  Chud called a great offensive game, and I’m sure he was the happiest person in the stadium to have Tucker and Stallworth back.  The defense was aggressive, and learned how to time their blitzes better in the 2nd half than in the 1st half (and most of the season)

 

Drive by drive recaps below:

 

First offensive drive

                Braylon looked good – with a great stiff arm.  You can tell not all of his speed is back.  Tucker is blocking much better than Shaffer both on runs and passes.  Anderson can’t read a zone near the goal line, which isn’t new.  Lewis is running hard, again, not surprising.  Got to stop jumping offside

First defensive drive

                Why McGinnest was on a stunt shocks me.  It’s moving a liability on the end to the middle.  Not surprisingly it did nothing.  Next play he waves at a ball in coverage.  Not sure why he’s dropping in coverage, he sucks at doing that.   Pool made a great read on the INT, and an even better play on the ball.

 

2nd offensive Drive

                Great block by Thomas freed Cribbs on the wildcat formation.  Lewis is relatively nimble on his catch in open space.  It looked like Giants knew what was coming on the first unbalanced line, they were ready for the run.  Steinbach did a great job on a trap block, but that’s expected from him. Got to stop jumping offside.  I think the giants saw the WR screen coming, and Heiden was slow coming out on the block (winslow probably would have gotten there).  Again, a healthy Cribbs makes a lot of difference.  I also don’t get why the giants are staying in man coverage, as opposed to playing zone. Tucker is much better than Shaffer in pass blocking

2nd defensive drive

                Very good coverage by Adams on a tough to guy to guard, TE Boss.  Giants just realized that the browns are starting their #5 defensive lineman, and got a pancake.   Great route by S. Smith, beat McDonald, he seems to struggle with quicker guys.  Again, giants going at LDE, who was blocked 8 yards down field.

3rd offensive drive

                Great slant go route by Braylon.  Then the Browns don’t get the bext play off, maybe they were in shock.  Not new, but Anderson doesn’t look, he just assumes people are open (jump pass near end zone).  Lewis touchdown – thank god Tucker is back, Hadnot looks better with him

3rd defensive

                Great play by Wright in coverage breaking up pass to Plax.  Rodgers only guy who gets pressure, and the team needs to time blitzes better – it’s been an issue all year.  The Giants can make line calls when they see this, and Eli’s smart enough to make adjustments.  Again Rodgers is a beast (always been a great pass rusher)

4th offensive

                Vickers is not good at reading holes, but that’s not new.  Joe Thomas is great at run blocking, he doesn’t get enough credit for this.  Great catch by braylon on the slant.  Tucker’s pancake leads to 4 yard gain.  Interesting to see how much value Winslow is losing in this game.  He’s a huge asset in the red zone, but they seem to be replacing his game breaking threat with Stallworth, and Hieden takes the underneath stuff (switch from last year with Joe going underneath and Winslow going deep).  I know the Giants like to blitz on 3rd down, but they should just play zone against Anderson.

4th defensive

                No pressure from the line.  Jackson good taclker, needs to get stronger – as he tends to get dragged.  Why is Willie in coverage? To get holding penalties and still give up a completion.  That’s awesome.  Good blitz call, but I’m not sure why is Davis in on passing situations.  Should be Williams or  Jackson.  3rd receiver (Smith) should be covered by Holly, we don’t have anyone that can stay close.  Wright was beat (on break-up of pass near end zone), but made a great play.  Line gets no push when against no huddle – Rodgers gets tired.   Hall should be in on all pass situations actually got push, and doubled, which left Williams 1 on 1 (when Williams got sack).  Again, great tackling in secondary.  Why is Cousins guarding Plax on his TD catch?  I’d rather have him guard Toomer

2nd Half

1st defensive

                On Manning INT, Manning just said to Plaxico “thought you were doing one of these” (hand motion to post corner, not post) – from Necessary Roughness.  I’d give the ball back to have Pool not injured

1st offensive

                More success to the right than left, which is new.  Again great reverse play to Harrison, it’s nice to have a healthy Cribbs, this would have been a TD if Thomas didn’t let up towards the end, his guy made the tackle.  Lewis is big, angry, man who doesn’t like being tackled, and doesn’t cut that well (he should have followed Vickers). The goal line is where you miss Winslow/Joe – Stallworth isn’t the same type of threat in that situation. 

2nd defensive

                Lenard needs to learn how make a pile instead of getting pushed back 8 yards.  McDonald reads WR eyes incredibly well, he always puts his hands up at the right time.   Sorenson timed blitz well (if he’s in, 90% chance he blitzes).  Adams timed blitz well on run almost got Jacobs from the back.  Willie made his one play for the day – he’s done.  Rodgers out and the Giants run @ Williams, I don’t get this.  Hall needs in on all pass situations, he draws chip blocks from RBs.

2nd offensive

                Keeping up with quota of 1 procedure penalty per series.  Stallworth is a much better blocker than Steptoe.  Lewis is a big, angry man. There’s a reason why Dinkins will get cut when Rucker’s back (He can’t catch or block that well).  Chud is confident they can run, going run left on 3rd and 3.  That takes balls. Anderson better against blitz, still not sure why the Giants are coming at him.  The run blocking a lot better with Tucker.  These penalties are obscene – I can’t even put this into words .  Harrison is great out of the backfield, will be complete 3rd back when he learns how to block (Wright does a great job of this).  Giants bite hard on play fakes, great play by Anderson

3rd defensive

                Great blitz timing by Pool, Browns are doing a much better job than they’ve done all season on this.  Hard to stop Steve Smith, Adams can’t guard him – Daven Holly anyone? Browns secondary makes great tackles (Wright on Jacobs) (giving up 90 pounds.     Why is Travis Daniels guarding Plax on 3rd down?  And who is Travis Daniels.  Per Kornheiser (sp?) comment: the difference between Thomas (DL) and Rodgers is way more than just 60 pounds. That’s like saying the only difference between me and Alex Hall playing in the NFL is that he’s 60 lbs heavier than.   Great play again by Wright breaking on the ball, and a nice move on Manning to take it to the endzone.

4th defensive

                As bill simmons would say. . . we just saw “Eli Manning” face. Look for “completed in front of Sorenson” when he’s not blitzing. Brandon McDonald is the best corner on the team, Rodgers trade was a great move.  Bodden will be missed, but if Holly wasn’t hurt, this is an incredible secondary.  I’m surprised that Giants don’t go hurry up more often, since there’s such a huge gap of talent between Rodgers/Williams and the next DL.  They get tired quick, but probably much slower than most 300 and 360 lb people. 

4th offensive

                Lewis and the line are playing exceptional.  Starters should come out.

See this link as well: http://footballoutsiders.com/extra-points/one-man-audible-monday-night-football

 

Browns v. Pittsburgh – Week 2

September 25, 2008

Injury update (unless noted, scheduled starters are starting):

WR: Stallworth, Jurevicious

OL: Tucker

LB: Peak

DB: Holly, Jones

QB

Anderson passed the ball very well, but two things are very apparent: 1) His a lot more problem with teams sitting in a zone and rushing 4 players then he does when they blitz.  I believe this is a result of him having a hard time making the correct reads.  When a team blitzes him, he knows he’s got 1 on 1 coverage and Winslow and Edwards (at least last year) can beat the man covering them.  In a zone coverage, Anderson is forced to predict defensive player movements, and he has trouble with this (interception at end of the half).  2) He’s not football smart.  Before Crennel gets blamed for the time management, Anderson needs to be questioned first.  Here are the situations that bothered me the most:

1)      Last week, end of 3rd quarter, about 30 seconds left on the game clock, Browns can’t get a play off

2)      This week, before the 2-minute warning, Anderson got the play off 1 second before the 2-minute warning (also the reason why Polamalou was able to time the snap).  Prior to the play call you could see Anderson looking to the sidelines waiting for the call.  This is unacceptable.  Anderson should be able to run to the line, call a play without needing to depend on the staff to send it in

3)      The 3rd and 1 sneak.  Despite what Madden said (he and Michael’s are clueless half of the time), this was the perfect play call.  However, again you could see Anderson waiting for at least 5-7 seconds waiting for the call.  That situation dictates either a QB sneak or a quick run.  Anderson should be able to call that play without needing sideline help.  Problem is he just doesn’t.  This is a huge problem with judging a QB based on his arm strength and stats.   Football smarter QBs know what needs to be done there.  (on a side note, I have complete faith that neither of these would have been an issue with Quinn).

RB

Again, I’ll take fault in believing Lewis wasn’t going to be good this year.  He runs hard, breaks tackles, and the change of pace with him and Harrison is exactly what we need on an ongoing basis.  I realize that we average 2 yards a carry, but Lewis reads his blocks well, and does a good job in pass protection.  Vickers needs to get mentioned as well.  He’s a great lead blocker.  My only fault with him is that despite his 250 lb size, he always seems to get tackled by 1 DB going low on him when he catches passes

OL

Keep in mind,  Pittsburgh has a very good front 7.  Hadnot is a dramatic improvement over McKinney, and did a good, not great job handling Casey Hampton with Fraley.  Steinbach does a good job pulling and keeping blockers away from Anderson, but struggled a little again with blocking at the point of attack.  As always, the pass protection was almost perfect.   They only gave up 2 sacks, and one of them Anderson held the ball too long.  I love the overload package, and will elaborate more on that in later on.  

TE

Again, K2 looks as scary as ever.  He seems to get open easily and doesn’t drop much.  Obviously, he’s a liability in blocking.  The only thing I’d like to see more of is him split out opposite of trips on the other side.  I don’t think there’s a corner in the league that can get inside position on him, and he ran away from Palamalou and 2 separate occasions.  As mentioned above, the team doesn’t really need a blocking TE, because they use Vickers and overload a tackle in those situations.  Dinkins will be off the team as soon as Rucker returns from injury.

WR

Dropped by Edwards showed up again, but also displayed that he’s still very good at getting separation.  However, he did alligator arm the post route and took a good hit.  The larger problem was Syndric Steptoe’s inability to block.  There were at least three occasions where he was actually a detriment to the play (one of which he went flying in the air and hit Lewis).  There are two problems with this: 1) Jamal won’t break any long runs if Steptoe can’t block.  2) I have no idea what Chud asked him to crack back on a DE on a sweep play I think in the 4th quarter.  Clearly, someone on the team may be better than him at this (a flexed out Winslow?).  I get not sacrificing Cribbs on this play and asking him to do this.  Chud should learn from President’s Bush’s mistakes,  if you don’t have the armor, don’t go to war.  There’s nobody on the Browns active roster at WR that can make this block, but Steptoe’s the worst.

Overall Offense

Despite the incredibly slow start, this was a pretty good game all clock management issues aside. The weather was obviously a factor and slowed both teams at the beginning, but Chud was incredible in his play calling.  The steelers had no answer for the overload formation (Madden did an excellent job calling this out.  The Browns did this a lot last year and not a single announcer focused on it like Madden did), and the team converted on some pretty crucial 3rd downs.

There’s absolutely no excuse for the field goal attempt.  Michaels and Madden are completely wrong about kicking the field goal there.  The worst case scenario is a slightly upset offense frustrated with their performance and a defense heading out on to the field with the statement “the game’s in our hands” in their head.  This is even a larger problem based on last week’s field goal attempt.  Crennel could have used this opportunity (the team had just converted on 4 previous 3rd downs) to say to the offense, you can win us the game.  Instead he fed his unhealthy field goal obsession (or helped his fantasy team with Dawson on it) and kicked the field goal.

 

Defense

DL

As I said last week, “Rodgers is almost impossible to stop when he’s fresh”.   He’s an absolute monster, and is probably the top interior lineman in the league.  He almost impossible to block with 1 guy, and when he does get double teamed, he doesn’t get pushed back 4-5 yards (Ted Washington and Jason Fisk’s favorite moves).  So when Michaels and Madden were beating him up for getting pushed to the ground at the line of scrimmage, those were actually incredible plays by Rodgers designed in the defensive system.  This is exactly what you want your 3-4 NT to do.  He’s quite simply, amazing.   If you take out Parker’s 19 yard run and the other 12 yarder (courtesy of Willie McGinnest – more on this in a second), the Browns held him to 26 carries for 74 yards.  If Robaire Smith’s injury is serious, this could be very big problem as Crennel will rely on Rodgers too much.  Also, watch Rodgers on any play on the outside, he’s trying to chase much faster RBs down.  His effort is also exceptional.

Not to take any credit away from Williams, Shaun and Robaire Smith, they also played great games.  The pass rush was there because these guys occupied blockers so FS, and LBs could blit (except for when the Steelers were pinned down – more on that in a second)

 Willie “statue” McGinnest sucks section:

Typical game for Willie.  Three good plays, and the reason for every long run by the opponent.  This week’s mistakes were less about his speed (or lack thereof) and more about the fact that he didn’t close down the hole.  On Parker’s two long runs, the TE double teamed the defensive end, leaving McGinnest unblocked temporarily before the pulling lineman or TE came.  The first time, Willie charged the QB, leaving a gaping hole for the RB.  The second time, he did a little bit better, and only left 5 feet for Parker to run through.  It’s a very simple concept, when the TE doubles the guy inside you, close the hole down and force him outside.

Again the real issue here is lack of a better option with Peek hurt.  Alex Hall played some, but he’s not big enough to play on run downs.  He was on the field when the Browns had the Steelers pinned down, but didn’t get far with his pass rush.  He’ll be better next year when he’s 10-15 lbs heavier.

Switching to a 4-3 may be an option since “statue” doesn’t do much in pass coverage, but the Browns don’t have a 2nd DE (outside of Williams) that can play that role either. 

LBs

Again, with the DL doing their job, the LBs were able to play well.  Jackson missed a tackle, but overall, this was a good performance.  Madden needs to get off Wimbley’s back.  He still gets double teamed or chipped on every play.  Since you read last week’s column, you know that the issue isn’t Wimbley, it’s that Wimbley doesn’t have someone on the other side.   For example, Shaun Phillips (OLB – San Diego).  He had 4 sacks in his 1st year (pre-Merriman), since he’s had 7, 11.5, and 8.5.  I’d be shocked if he gets more than 6 this year (through 2 games – 0).   Wimbley’s good against the run, which is why teams run right at “Statue”

DBs

Another tough matchup for the Browns, but Pool looked better in coverage.  With Holly, this would have been a very good group, without him, it’s below average.  If you could choose 2 position injuries that would hurt the browns the most this year its CB, and OLB. 

An injury to Thomas would hurt, but Steinbach or Shafer would shift over, and Hadnot would play G, with Tucker moving to G or tackle respectively. 

Lewis getting hurt would be very bad, But Wright is serviceable (at best), and the Browns could pick up Benson, who wouldn’t be Lewis, but would be a lot better than he was in CHI.

Even losing Rodgers (I’m starting a fan club), would hurt, but the addition of Williams still makes the team better than last year.

Special Teams

 Zastudil is a good punter.  Dawson’s making his kicks.  Cribbs needs another game to get his feet underneath him (the weather didn’t help)

 Overall

I give this performance a B.  The defense played very well.  Crennel either needs to empower Anderson to make the decisions (if that’s the issue), or train him to make the right ones when the clock is running.  The schedule doesn’t get easier.  At 0-2, here’s my prediction for the season

@ Balt – W

@ Cin – W

Bye

NYG  – L (closer then you think.  We negate their best attribute, pass rush)

Wash  – L

Jax –  W (they’ve lost 3 starters on the OL)

Balt – L

Denver – L (WR will kill us)

BUF – L

Hou – W

Colts – L

TEN – W

 

PHI – L

Bengals – W

Steelers – L

6 wins total