Posts Tagged ‘Quinn’

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.

 

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