Posts Tagged ‘Braylon’

Browns v. Titans

December 8, 2008

Overall thoughts:

While the Titans are clearly a much better team than the Browns, I think, the score doesn’t accurately represent how close of a game this should have been.  The primary reason for this discrepancy was Crennel’s lack of aggressiveness in trying to win the game. 

In a theory more fully articulated by Greg Easterbrook, (ESPN writer), he speaks of the lack of aggressiveness NFL coaches have in going for it on 4th and less than 5 in between your 40 and the opponents 35.  His assertion, and backed with statistics rests on the fact that: 1) Teams convert about 40% of the time in these situations 2) Coaches of teams that do go for it on these situations have better records 3) going for it in these situations sends a message to the offense that you believe they can convert 4) going for it in these situations sends a message to your defense that you believe they can stop the opponent 5) Teams with bad defenses should go for it more often than teams with good defenses  – field position means less if you have a harder time stopping the other team (e.g. if you’re playing the Patriots last year and you have a bad defense, chances are they’re going to score anyway, therefore, you should maximize your opportunities with the ball) 6. Your playing calling on downs 1-3 would change (3rd and 7 is no longer a “passing down”, and thus a draw or 3 step drop which makes it 4th and less than 5 still gives you a good chance at converting  the 1st down. 7) Bad offenses benefit more than good ones do as an average of 2.6 yards per play is required for a first down, as opposed to 3.4.

As mentioned in previous posts, Crennel, unlike his mentor Belicheck, is extremely conservative, and hardly every goes for it in these situations.  I vowed never to judge decisions based on actual results (which is unknown at the time), and instead judging them an expected results, but will provide the results of this consequences of the lack of aggressiveness below. 

To explain this theory in a brief way, here’s an example: I have a bag with 100 balls in them.  70 of them are worth $100, the other 30, result in you losing $5.  Would you play this game?  Most people would answer “yes”.  If then, you pulled out a ball, and got one that said you lose $5, did you make the wrong decision to play the game?  By judging the decision with an expected value of $68.5 (7*100)-(.3*-5), you made the correct choice by playing the game, regardless of getting a bad result.  Said differently, if you had another opportunity to play the game, it’s likely that you’d play again.

Below recaps the wrong decisions made by the Browns staff, and the results.  Further, a 4-8 team with a coach trying to win to save his job (more on this later) should be more aggressive than an 11-1 team looking to make it into the playoffs healthy.  Regardless, the decision is wrong regardless of result.  I also want to point out, Zastudil, a top 5 punter in the league, had a horrible game.  Yet, the lack of aggressiveness can’t be blamed on him

1)      In the 2nd offensive drive, the Browns had the ball on the Titans 37 yard line, and punted on 4th and 4.

a.       Result – touchback à next play interception by D’Qwell (actually a positive result, but I don’t think you can credit the Browns for knowing that D’Qwell would get a pick)

2)       4th and 3 (right after Ten TD) on Ten 44 yard line

a.       23 yard punt, Tennessee starts with the ball on their own 21 yard line

3)       4th and 7 on the Titans 48 (this is outside the 4th and 5 creed, but the Browns were down 15 at this point in the game, and still 4-8 with a coach that is probably going to get fired if he doesn’t win out

a.       Punt results in touchback –

b.      Eric Wright recovers fumble forced by Corey Williams.  (again, I don’t think the Browns saw this as a predictable result

4)      4th and 10 on the 26 (again outside of 4th and 5 mantra), but you have to imagine that if the Browns had viewed this as 4 down territory, the 3rd and 10 call may have been different)

a.       Missed FG (Dawson is having an incredible season regardless of this miss)

5)      4th and 1 from the 37 – Up the middle to Vickers resulting in 1st down

6)      (same drive, beginning of 4th quarter) 4th and 9 from the 22 – down 21-6 at this point, still 4-8.  Again, a 4 down territory view of this possession may have made for a different play call on 3rd and 9.  This FG still left the Browns down two TDs

a.       FG good

7)      4th and 1 from own 24 (less than 9 minutes to play).  This is the ultimate in “I give up” by the Browns.  Not surprisingly, so did the special teams on the punt return and the defense on the next play

a.       Punt – returned 44 yards

b.      Next play TD

Conversely, Fisher went for it (with a play action pass) on 4th and 1, down 6 on the Browns 28.  Result, 28 yard TD.  I’m guessing the browns kick the field goal there.  To be fair, Fisher didn’t go for it on 4th and 1 from their own 41, but they were up 15 points at the time, and the Browns offense showed very little ability moving the ball.  Thus, punting is the correct decision.  Fisher also went for it on 4th and 2 from the Browns 6.  I’d argue there’s not just correlation between their record and his aggressiveness in 4th down play calling.

Now on to recaps:

QB

Hard to judge Dorsey in this game.  Pass blocking was atrocious, and not having Winslow certainly hurts.  I was impressed by his accuracy on short passes, but he missed some opportunities to hit Edwards deep.  Also, I loved the fact that he was able to call plays from the LOS, something Anderson is incapable of doing, and normally costs the Browns 10 seconds per play.  All in all, he’s probably a really good 3rd QB.  Able to start a game or two if need be because he’s smart enough to pick up the offense in a week.

RB

Impossible to judge this group.  They were unable to get any momentum going forward in this game as the Browns OL was destroyed (more on this below.  When your RBs carry the ball 13 times for 11 yards and one of them is a 5 yard gain, it’s not their fault.  The “Flash” formation worked well however as Cribbs went 6 carries for 24 yards.  Although calling the same play 3 times in a row hardly works

WR

Braylon again showed why he’s a great receiver in this game.  He’s very good at getting open on slants, and deep routes.  He dominated Nick Harper in this game, and he also blocks really well. He got his hand on one pass that he didn’t bring down, but he was the lone threat in the game on the Browns O.  One issue, I feel like he runs only 4 routes: 3 yard slant, 7 yard slant, 15 yard in, and a go route.  Some variability is needed to get open.  Likewise, Stallworth’s only catches seem to be on drag routes, and occasionally a deep ball will be thrown to him.  I feel like Chud uses a variety of formations to mask similar routes for his players.  Steptoe asked to block repeatedly again.  I have no idea what game film Chud’s watching when he decides it’s a good idea to do this again.

OL

Absolutely dominated by Ten.  Running game went nowhere, Dorsey spent every other pass play on his back or hurried.  I’m not sure what the issue was versus last year as this is the 8th game the group has played together (5th in a row).  Shaffer is clearly worse than tucker at RT.

Chud

Above I mentioned the frequency of similar pass routes, but there’s another issue.  When Harrison is in the game, and the WR to the strong side starts coming in motion towards the OL, it’s a sweep to Harrison, or a pass play where the motion WR runs a drag.

In 3rd and 2-4 yards, Braylon will line up by himself on one side and run a slant when the opponent tends to play man coverage.  Against teams that play zone, Winslow will be on his side and the two will run a slant/out combo route (Edwards with the slant).

In short yardage situations, and Vicker’s healthy, he gets the ball on a dive (I don’t remember a play action from this recently)

Defense

Actually played pretty well, and forced a bunch of turnovers.  The running defense can’t really be blamed since 1) this is the 2nd best running team in the league 2) We’re starting Shaun Smith, 3) The law firm plays a lot 3) McGinnest is horrible and holding contain 4) Alex Hall gets destroyed in running plays

DL

Rodgers is having a difficult time as teams realize he’s the real threat on the DL.  Williams played well, and just recently it’s surfaced that he’s been fighting a shoulder injury that could require surgery since week 3. 

LB

D’Qwell needs to be in the pro-bowl.  This was his coming out game, lost by the fact that the Browns offense didn’t win the game.  2 picks and almost a 3rd.  He had 12 solo tackles despite getting very little help from the DL in keeping blockers off of him.  To put this in perspective, the difference between the number of tackles he and Andra Davis have (62) versus NE (28 tackle difference between their ILBs) Pit (approx. 35 tackles as they rotate their ILBs more), Sand Diego (at best 15), SF (35) is dramatic. 

DBs

Not much to evaluate here, as it was so easy to run on the Browns that passing wasn’t a priority for the Titans.  Pool fell too hard for the play fake on 4th and 1, and Jones repeatedly did this.  Some bad angles on trying to catch Chris Johnson, but he’s probably the fastest RB in the league, so that’s expected.  Most of the time Johnson got to the outside, it was the OLB’s fault, not the DBs.

 

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Game 8 v. Denver

November 7, 2008

Browns v. Denver

 

Recap:

The offense played well, further analysis of Quinn’s work will be described in greater detail.  I’ll also refer you to Football Outsiders article: http://footballoutsiders.com/extra-points/instant-analysis-brady-quinn which also broke down his performance play by play.  In essence, we came to the same conclusion: Quinn makes, quick, not always correct reads, and adds mobility that Anderson doesn’t have.  He certainly forced less balls then Anderson, and made two or three that Anderson wouldn’t have made.

The defense was a joke.  Even with Smith, Rodgers and Williams, the run defense was terrible, and it seemed like the Browns had never seen a play action pass before (even though they saw at least 12 in the game today).  The corners were outmatched, as most teams would be by this receiver combination, but that isn’t an excuse for Jones missing coverage on the TD pass.  Obviously, the pass rush needs to improve, and that comes from getting a 3rd DL (outside of Rodgers and Williams) that can provide a pass rush (S. smith can’t do this, Robaire is better), and an OLB better than McGinnest at rushing the passer.  However, this was by far, Willie’s best game of the season, and he played above average.  I’m actually impressed.

QB

Analysis after 3 drives: He isn’t making all the right reads, and seems to be eager to get the ball out of his hands (not necessarily a bad thing à see Charlie Frye who loved getting sacked then trying to throw the ball).  He’s been throwing very accurately (which was a knock on him from college).  It will be interesting to see how he develops in the game.  He seems to not trust his pass protection.  This is probably a result of not having a “feel” for when the protection breaks down.  Also, having all three top passing threats helps (Anderson only had this once during the season, against the Redskins) Collinsworth has been giving a pretty accurate analysis, but I sense he wants Quinn to succeed.  In a related story, Collinsworth is the one of the best announcers in the league. They should find a way to have him call every game.  The only person I like more is Kosar.

1st half analysis: Quinn is playing well, probably made 1 play that Anderson wouldn’t have (3rd and 2 conversion).  Winslow’s bailed him out on two bad passes, and helped him with one TD score.  He makes very quick reads, which is a great sign, but may actually do better by holding on to the ball a little longer. Anderson tended to force balls and waited longer to throw.  Keep in mind Denver’s defense is horrible, and doesn’t have its best two players, Champ and Williams.  Champ’s the 1st or 2nd best corner in the league (Asomugha – Raiders).  I think Anderson probably would have put up similar numbers

2nd half analysis: More of the same mentioned above, with two more notes: 1) His ability to move slightly in the pocket and avoid pressure is incredibly impressive based on two factors a) first real game in a long time b) Tucker can’t block Dumervil.  2) I absolutely loved him taking full fault for the loss.  This is what leaders do.  He covered for bad play calling, and dropped passes.  The team will get behind him because he’s willing to take the blame for other people.

Overall Analysis: Pretty much what I had anticipated.  He makes quick, above average reads and has incredible pocket presence.  I think his performance was helped by a bad opponent, and a full arsenal of playmakers (Anderson never had both of these in combination this year), but he certainly did things Anderson couldn’t. I still feel that it may have been the wrong time to bench Anderson.  I’d have rather seen Anderson put up these numbers, and also lose to Denver to give the browns more trade leverage.  Now we have to hope that the Browns can package Anderson for a #2 based on his performance last year, and someone paying close attention to the lack of support he had this year.

RB

Another pretty good game for Lewis, but most of the credit goes to the OL who opened monster holes all game.  I’m shocked that Harrison didn’t play more in the 2nd half, especially as the change of pace seemed to be working in the 1st half.  Cribbs is a great open field runner, no surprise here, but I was still impressed with his ability to run by, around and through would be tacklers

WR/TE

Braylon made 1 catch, and almost made another one that would have been incredible.  No fault of his on this game, however, with Champ out, I’m surprised the Browns didn’t attack Dre Bly more.  Please keep in mind (and this is mentioned in my comments below, that this was only the 2nd time this year that Winslow, Stallworth and Edwards all played. Winslow had a monster game, and anyone who beats him up for the drop needs to shut up because he made three incredibly catches earlier in the game (two throws at his feet, and the third on a tipped ball that ended up behind him).  Heiden blocks well, and did a good job getting open (and helping others get open)

OL

A very good game in run blocking, dragged down by McKinney’s mediocre performance replacing Steinbach.  Pass blocking was great for 4 of the players, but Shaffer was absolutely terrible against Dumervil .  He was beaten routinely on inside moves, and luckily Quinn made plays.

DL

 A below average performance against the run, and a horrible performance in rushing the passer.  Rodgers wasn’t a dominant we’re now used to, and it could be the affect of the rib injury that listed him as questionable (he may have problems breathing).  The law firm was terrible in subbing in, save for Leonard showing some promise in rushing the passer.

LB

It was shocking how often they were faked out by play action fakes by a team that’s below average at best against the run.  It got to the point where they should have assumed play-fake, before run.  Jackson was ok in coverage, I don’t remember seeing Wimbley make any good plays (he was unblocked on his sack).  McGinnest played well, even when dropped into coverage, but completely whiffed on a sack.  Hall played sparingly, I’m not sure why.

DB

Pool played exceptionally well again, even when manned up on a 3rd receiver.  Either Wright blanketed whoever he was covering, or McDonald couldn’t guard anyone.  Either way, McDonald was exposed as an average coverage guy.  Regardless, he made some really good tackles, except for one miss when he had contain on a sweep.  Sean Jones is too keen on stopping the run (could be b/c he doesn’t trust the front 7), but it was his, not McDonald’s fault on the 92 yard TD.)

 

Drive by Drive recaps below:

Defense Drive 1:

Play 1 Browns were totally surprised by play fake.  Pool jumped the run.  McGinnest did a good job of reading the play (or could have just been slow reaction to run fake).

2nd play straight play fake. .  . could the Broncos see some overreaction tendencies or think we’re scared of the running game.  McDonald almost made a great play, but he was beat and the ball should have been caught.  Not too surprising, Willie was a step late on the pressure (even though he was unblocked)

McGinnest makes a decent play, holding contain on the one run.  Very little pass rush, only rushed 3. . . Jones didn’t blitz when he saw max protect from the TE.  Very surprised they didn’t attack the Browns on the ground more.  Rodgers looks a little off, listed as questionable for the game (ribs)

 

Offense Drive 1

You could have placed a $1 million bet that we’d run on 1st down.

Good to see the starting Winslow, Stallworth and Edwards all starting for only the 2nd time all season.  It figures that it happened with 2 lineman hurt.  Quinn made wrong read on 1st pass, he had the out wide open. Good throw to Steptoe.  Sucks that he can’t break a tackle (probably b/c he’s 185 lbs and shouldn’t be in the league)

Defense Drive 2

Cribbs is incredible on special teams, great tackle.

Good to have Shaun Smith back at full strength.  He made a great play not only occupying two guys, but also making the play. 3 play fakes in 6 plays.  . . They’re anticipating an incredibly aggressive defense against the run. Good play by Wright coming off block on WR screen.  McDonald got turned around in coverage.  He made up for crappy coverage by making a good tackle. Lots of play fakes. . . Willie did a good job reading that one.

Wimbley did a good job coming off blocks, Rubin and Thomas were both in, thus the 4 yard gain on 2nd and 3.  There’s a huge step down when any members of the law firm (Rubin, Thomas, and Leonard) are in

Wright made a bad play on covering Royal. 

Good stop on 1st down near the goal line.  This is where the 3 330+ guys come in handy

Denver did a good job doubling Rodgers on the TD score

 

Quick Summary: Browns have to trust that front 7 will stop run.  These are two really good WR, it will be interesting if we stay man to man.  I don’t think we have the CBs to do this (I don’t think many teams do). 

For anyone not watching the game, Shaun Rodgers can dunk a basketball forwards and back.  He’s listed at 6’4 350.  If he weighs 350 lbs, I weight 165.

Offense Drive 2

Cribbs was really close at breaking the return.  He’s very good at reading his blocks.  Very good job in re-signing him this offseason.  It’s hard to replace a good return man who’s also a gunner (that’s two roster slots)

I love how Donte’ doesn’t back away from hits.  Good route, good catch.

Lewis is a good runner, but sometime he runs a little too low. I’m nitpicking b/c I was so wrong in thinking he was done after last year.  Great block by Dinkins

Lewis is scary when he gets to 2nd level.  He’s a beast.  .  Browns can run pretty well against the Broncos (most teams can)

It’s good to see Fraley get some push on goal line (he can’t beat bigger guys, but is stronger than guys his size)

I don’t get a pitch play to Lewis, struggles inside the 5 continue. . . I don’t know why they don’t split Braylon and Winslow and throw a fade, especially without Champ on the field.

Great job sticking in the pocket by Quinn, and a beautiful pass.  Dumervil embarrassed Shaffer, who somehow is getting worse as the season progresses.  He belongs at guard.  The browns need to draft a RT who can pass protect.

Defense Drive 3

Someone explain to me how Cribbs is in on every special teams tackle.

Again a play fake.  . . Davis was fooled and kept coming.  Still playing man to man on defense.

The stretch play worked b/c Davis overran the whole, and Leonard got beat (down)

Better coverage by the browns in a zone.

Good play by McGinnest, not sure why it was 5 yards down field. 

McGinnest got decent pressure (probably his best game this year) although he gave Cutler the corner.

Terry cousin dropped a pick because he shouldn’t be in the league

Offense Drive 3

Great blocking by the line.  I’m getting a Hadnot jersey.  Not sure why Steptoe was in the backfield expected to block (he dove in front of his guy well)

I like the screen.  Not sure why Collinsworth is living in Quinn’s jock strap.  He’s made 1 good read and 1 bad one, and threw two short passes to open receivers.  This is praise worthy?

Great moves making two guys fall down by Harrison on the run .  Heiden and Shaffer made great blocks.  Maybe it’s a Hieden jersey (depends on how many years he has left on his contract.)

Thomas can lock down a defensive lineman.    He’s great.

Cribbs had a great block, this is what Steptoe couldn’t do the beginning of the season.

Good pass by Quinn, but that would have been an incredible catch by Braylon.

Great block by Edwards on the crack back.  It’s good to see him throwing his body around.  People who horse collar tackle should be shot.

Again, decent run by the browns, look for a reverse soon

Quinn made a good pass in overthrowing Edwards.  Made a bad read (#2), but knew to throw it more or less uncatchable

Again another bad read (#3) on forced pass to Heiden.  He had Wright on the flank.

Defense Drive 4

Cribbs made another tackle on special teams.  I wonder how many guys are assigned to block him and how he always beats them.

Hall bit hard on the play flake (I’ve lost count, I think number 8, good play by wright in coverage

Hold on the Broncos (TE couldn’t block Shaun Smith 2 on 1 with tackle).  Which was an impressive play by Smith.  He’s not a top DL, but he’s a legitimate starter.  With him in the league 5 years, Williams, 5 years, and Rodgers 8, the DL should be good for the next two.

Bad throw by Cutler, not sure who he was looking for (on Pool interception).  Great job hiding the coverage.  It looked like man to start but switched to a two 2 deep prior to the snap.  Could be why Cutler misread the coverage.

Offense Drive 4

Ali isn’t as good a blocker as Vickers, and wasn’t able to open the hole on 1st down.

Again, Quinn seems to be very quick to get rid of the ball.  I’d like to see him hold on to the ball longer to see what opens up.  It was a good throw to Heiden

Good pass by Quinn, great play by Winslow beating the coverage to score

 

Defense Drive 5

I think the Broncos are getting away with holds

Big hole opened up.  .. Davis over ran in

DL is giving up yards now. . . not sure how they’re moving them so much.

Slip screen to TE (with McGinnest guarding him).  Willie wasn’t within 10 yards of making the play

2 of 3 lawyers in. . . running game not getting stopped. This isn’t a coincidence.

D’Qwell didn’t know who Torrain was a day before the game.  I’m certain that there were millions of fantasy owners who did, and this isn’t their full time job… that’s an issue.  Get in the film room Jackson. 

Not much pressure, again on a play fake.  Wimbley didn’t get good hands on the TE (who made the catch) off the line

McDonald wiffed on a tackle.  One of the few misses on the year for him

Another play fake (with the Broncos 5th RB in) that the Browns bit on.  Luckilly, Daniel Graham can’t catch

Willie completely missed on an easy sack.  He sucks.  

For some reason, Crennel accepted the offensive pass interference penalty (3rd and 8 on the 15),  This is just stupid.  Crennel is an idiot for accepting that penalty.

 

Offense Drive 5

Winslow makes a great catch on an under throw by Quinn.  Shaffer beat again by Dumervil.

Decent blocking on the right side.  Shaffer is a good run blocker.

Quinn makes really good quick reads.  Exceptional 3rd and 2 conversion, looking off Winslow and throwing to Heiden.  Anderson doesn’t make that play.  (the 1st one of the day that showed why he’s better than Anderson).  Nothing was impressive before then.

Again, another way too quick throw by Quinn, he had plenty of time and forced it – although with the way Tucker is (not) blocking Dumervil, I understand this hesitation.  Winslow bails him out on the catch (absolutely incredible catch)

I have no idea what Crennel was doing letting the clock run down.  He’s an idiot.  Just because Dawson made the kick, doesn’t make it the right call.  At 4th and 2 from the opponents 35 you go for it.

Defense Drive 6

 Great job kicking it through the end zone on the KO.

Loved that hall was in (not McGinnest) on Denver’s two minute drive – Hall subsequently pulled.

Prevent defense is ok.  . .but they need to get more pressure on Cutler with the 4 rushers.  McGinnest can’t do.

I love Shaun Rodgers getting back and making tacklers after pass rushing.

Great tipped pass by Williams.

Rodgers cheated on a pass rush, and got caught on the Cutler run.

Great pass rush by McGinnest and Leonard, Pool made another great play in coverage.  Marshall alligator armed that pass.

1st half summary – not QB

Lewis and Harrison combination looks pretty good, and the OL is opening up holes.  Shaffer is having huge issues stopping Dumervil’s inside move, but the rest of the line looks good.  Again, the team got stopped a couple of times inside the 5, but Fraley’s getting a better push than in other games (probably due to the size of the defense)

On the defense, the team is routinely getting faked out badly by play action passes.  The run defense is ok, but the law firm is playing a lot.  Leonard actually looked good in pass rush, and he should be the 3rd lineman out there (not Shaun smith) in obvious pass situations.  CBs are doing poor in man coverage, but these are two very good WRs.

 

2nd half

1st offensive drive

Good start to 2nd half, Brady put the ball on money to Edwards, who made a great move on the slant (and catch). Lewis had a decent run, not much push by McKinney.  They running with more success to the right, b/c McKinney doesn’t move people, just earns a draw at best.  Quinn’s pass to Ali was behind him, which forced the carry for no gain. 2nd time Quinn faced 3rd and long, he did an incredible job of avoiding an unblocked defender and finding the open receiver (Stallworth).  This is a play Anderson doesn’t make.   Quinn did a good job stepping up in the pocket and forced a ball to Braylon (good play by Dre Bly).  Great direct snap play to Cribbs who made the LB look like McGinnest (whiff on an open field tackle). Another good job by Quinn moving in the pocket. Ali made a terrible block that allowed Lewis to get tackled for a loss. Again, Quinn threw the pass too early and missed Winslow – again probably due to not having a good feel for timing, results in field goal

1st defensive drive

Another play action pass, another totally surprised browns defense and bad man to man coverage on the corners.  Stopped the run to the 6th string (7th round pick) RB. Another play action pass, with a perfect throw and catch. Good coverage by D’Qwell. Good run defense, Rodgers took on two guys, and kept the play on the – side of the LOS. Good pass from Cutler on slant, good coverage by Pool, with an even better tackle. Broncos shouldn’t be able to run over the Browns like that. (3 on 2 blocking), gave them the 1st down and 4 yards on 3rd and 1.  Same play, same result.  . Rodgers is tired. (and now hurt)  This is the worst possible injury for the Browns.  This means the law firm plays way too much.  Hopefully he comes back.

Bad snap. . Heads up play by Cutler to down it. McDonald made a great play in 1 on 1 coverage on Marshall. 

Not sure why he’s guarding Marshall 1 on 1, but that’s a different story.

2nd offensive Drive

Cribbs is a very good return guy. He’s fearless, and reads his blocks well.

Decent run by Lewis to the right, for 1 yard gain.  Hole opened by Heiden and Shaffer.

Bad pass by Quinn to Edwards on the out.  Big 3rd down coming up.  3rd time he’s faced this (1 success, 1 failure so far) Winslow makes an unbelievable catch on a tipped ball (Anderson’s pass doesn’t get tipped)

Play action pass, left Lewis open.  Quinn looked deep briefly then threw underneath to open receiver.  On next play Lewis, for a change, doesn’t knock over the DB in the hole .  Leaves 3rd and 4 which the Browns run a sweep to Harrison (weird call)

I like the aggressiveness on going for it on 4th and 1.  Great effort by Lewis.  I love the fact that it was a quick snap.  Collinsworth gave Ali credit for a good block but he missed it.  On the next play he missed again. (Vickers is much better)

I don’t get how WR (Edwards) jump offside.  Just look at the ball, then run.

Another quick read by Quinn, throwing to the open Heiden.  It’s again a quick, underneath pass.  It’s tough to compare Quinn to Anderson b/c they seem to be calling different types of plays.  Regardless, Chud seems to have a good feel for what works and what doesn’t with Quinn

Great pass on the run by Quinn to Edwards.  Great catch by Edwards. (called back on Winslow penalty). Slip screen from Quinn to Stallworth on 3rd and 16.  I don’t get this play.  I’d like to see them try and get Braylon isolated downfield.

 

2nd Defensive Drive

They show the Drive prior to the play, then the Broncos throw a 92 yard touchdown, McDonald beat by Royal.  The NFL network needs to get kicked in the balls.  If they show the fumble then we fumble, I’m sending a letter to the NFL.  Collinsworth did a great job of pointing out that Jones was also at fault for not dropping in coverage.  Not sure why he was sitting on the run (fear of the 6th string running back breaking one?)

3rd Offensive Drive

Cribbs is an incredible return guy.   Have I mentioned it before?

Good play fake (they had set this up earlier) but everyone was covered.

Thomas could have done better in blocking downfield on a sweep to Harrison

Good pass to Winslow, on his back shoulder.  Even better job of the broncos forcing the fumble. I’m writing a letter to the league.  This is entirely my fault.

3rd Defensive Drive

Cutler great pass to Scheffler (he throws really well on the run).  Just missed the catch.  By the way, it was a play fake.

Good pressure by Smith, Would have been a great defensive play by McDonald if he made the pick (WR smacked him on the head)

No pressure on the next play.  4 guys rushing that didn’t move the line at all.  McGinnest is terrible in coverage. 15 yard completion results

Kamerion was unblocked to get the sack.  Hard to believe only number 2 on the season.

Good job of Cutler avoiding the rush.  Pool made a great play on the ball.  Broncos made a better play and made the catch

Willie makes a great play on the line, beating a crack back block.  Clearly his best game of the year

Good pass rush again by both Rodgers and Willie.  Cutler is taking advantage of the smaller coverage guys on the Browns.

Daniel Graham beat two tackles (D’Qwell/Adams) to score a TD.  Very good stiff arm by Graham.

4th offensive drive

 Bad read on 1st play by Quinn.  He had three open guys and needed to give them another half second to clear the coverage.  Threw it to the most covered guy.

Great reverse to Cribbs.  He’s a real weapon that Chud is using very well.  He runs really hard and isn’t afraid to knock someone over.  This is the reverse that I saw coming earlier

Good block by both Thomas and surprisingly Steptoe, to get 3 yards on a sweep.

Shaffer beat again by Dumervil, browns need to give him some help.  Winslow looked fast on the route.

Woodyard (LB for Broncos) has been impressive.  Stayed at home and makes the play on another Cribbs reverse.

Another great job of Quinn getting away from the pass rush (Shaffer again getting beat). 

Good slant by Stallworth, comes up a yard short.  Big short yardage play coming up.  Browns have been bad all season in this situation. 

Same play, almost same result, but Lewis fought through Thomas to get in.

4th defensive Drive

Good to see Rodgers back in the game. 6th RB just ran over Wimbley (who, in fairness, was coming off a block).  Wimbley needs to bulk up.  Another great play by McGinnest who fought off a block and came inside.  Defensive holding called (didn’t see it on reply)

Corey Williams with another deflection (which was actually unfortunate b/c Jackson had position and may have picked it off if it got through.  Not complaining about the deflection

Broncos play fake, Browns don’t bite and make a great play (McGinnest!!!!) in coverage.

Gave Cutler too much time, gets to 4th and 1.  Huge stop needed à Great penetration, but Hillis (rb) made a good play, and Marshall got enough of Jones to let him through for the 1st down.

1st down, 3 man pass rush – zone covered everyone

2nd down, 4 man pass rush – zone left hole for TE – 8 yards

Quick snap hurts browns as cutler runs for 1st

Again only 3 guys rushing (I don’t think the browns think they can play man on the edges) and b/c of that, very few blitzes, leads to a 12 yard completion.

QB draw just went for 20 yards, Rodgers not on the field.  They’d been in zone before, were in man for this play, leading to the long run.

McDonald makes great play 1 on1 with Marshall to deflect pass in the end zone.

Came back to the same play, and McDonald couldn’t stop him again in the end zone.  McDonald normally does better against bigger WR than Wright does, but Marshall is a very good WR.  Might have been a hold on Wimbley’s inside move, but wasn’t called.

5th offensive Drive

65 yards to go  – Quinn’s first big drive

Good read to winslow underneath.  . . Horse collar should have been called but wasn’t.  Quinn moves really well in the pocket.

Quinn moved to early away from the pocket on 2nd down. 

On 3rd down, makes a bad throw to wright, at his feet.

Winslow had the ball go right threw his hands.  Played a very good game, bad time to drop the pass.

 

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)

 

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