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It's a Smorgasbord!

"Big Baby" has some meaty company in Cleveland with the recent signing of Seattle Seahawks free agent offensive lineman Floyd "Pork Chop" Womack and now the contract with Chicago Bears free agent offensive tackle John St. Clair.

Finally a recognition in Cleveland that games are still won and lost as they were decades ago - in the trenches. Anyone who disputes that, quite frankly, has to look harder for the forrest through the trees. A running back is only as good as his blockers up front; Emmitt Smith's reliance on his offensive line in Dallas was illustrative of that. A quarterback is only as good as his pass protection; Derek Anderson is a classic example of that. Anderson has a rocket arm, however, his lack of being able to properly read defenses is exacerbated by the fact that he has no time to throw the ball. You combine those two things and you get disaster. Our quarterbacks were punished last year to a degree that we have rarely seen. We simply could not stop blitzes up the middle and against the right side of our offensive line - undoubtedly the weaker side. Perhaps the New York Giants are the the clearest example currently of the difference that a solid offensive line can make for a football team. Let us be blunt; Eli Manning is not his brother in terms of raw talent in the pocket. The dynamic trio of running backs (before Ward flew the coop this free agency period) were good collectively but none of them is a talent anywhere near the level of a Barry Sanders. Yet the Giants overperformed on the ground and in the air in 2007 and even last season because of awesome pass protection for Manning and holes big enough for William "the Refrigerator" Perry to trot through.

We get so caught up in terms like "West Coast Offense". The type or style of offense means nothing if the offensive line is weak. NO offense can move the ball down the field without good soldiers in the trench. How is that the Arizona Cardinals made the Super Bowl last year notwithstanding a bad skid near the end of the regular season? Sure, "glue-hands" Fitzgerald does not hurt the cause, but he played well all season long. Kurt Warner has a steady arm, but he did throughout the season. The answer is that the Cards stopped the skid by developing a running game to balance the passing attack and to wear down the opposition with longer drives and greater ball control as opposed to scoring in 30 seconds or less. That running game did not develop because the guys in the back-field suddenly became superstars. It developed because the same guys that were running all along started to run behind an offensive line that learned how to run block instead of just pass protect. The offensive line was the major factor behind the Cardinals turning things around.

We congratulate the current regime for the Womack and St. Clair signings. We look forward to better days ahead in the trenches.

Go Browns!

-Clayton

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1 comment:

  1. I think the line definately needed an overhaul. I also like going with veterans on the o-line instead of overpaid, unproven rookies. That doesn't mean they should't look at some depth there, but getting proven starters is good way to start.

    By the way, "Big Baby," awesome.

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