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Browns-Broncos Recap: Uh-oh

September 21, 2009

Here's an extremely worn out cliche to describe the Cleveland Browns after Week 2: "Houston, we have a problem." Why do I say "screw it" to any sort of originality in writing and decide to use the classically overused Apollo 13 quote? Because crappy Cleveland Browns seasons are just like the cliche. In that way, it's sort of a metaphor for the 2009 season and this franchise. There's no other way to say it, yesterday's game was ugly.

I said in my team preview that John St. Clair was not a good player. He pretty much proved me right against Denver. Elvis Dumervil had 4 sacks against Cleveland. By himself. St. Clair was supposed to block Dumervil for most of the game, allegedly. The right side of the offensive line, which was mostly St. Clair and Hank Fraley yesterday, proved itself to be too slow to do the job against the pass rush and not strong enough to open things up on the ground. They pretty much didn't get it done.

The right side of the line was not alone in coming up short. In fact, everyone on offense besides Braylon Edwards and Joe Thomas had a subpar game. Okay, Steinbach was probably okay too. I don't remember noticing Steinbach getting beat much yesterday, but I also don't remember him opening a lot of holes. Alex Mack made that terrible excuse for a shotgun snap deep in Cleveland's own territory yesterday. That play alone was enough to make it a bad game. Josh Cribbs had 5 catches, but he didn't gain a lot in those catches. The Browns simply didn't do enough.

Hopefully, Brady Quinn will get better with more experience. His accuracy, particularly on mid-range throws, is particularly concerning. His decision making suggests either 1) his receivers are not getting open downfield, 2) Quinn needs to make his reads more decisively and quickly, or perhaps a combination of the two. It doesn't help when the running game is more of an abstract concept than a part of the offense, like yesterday. The Browns need to finish drives and generally be more productive. It's very disconcerting to see Brian Robiskie inactive while the passing game struggles and Correll Buckhalter and Knowshon Moreno run all over Cleveland. Meanwhile, Rey Maualuga was enjoying sitting in a winning locker room in Green Bay after registering 4 tackles and a sack. That sack was one more than the entire Cleveland defense mustered on Kyle Orton. This team definitely needs more talent on both sides of the ball, but it shouldn't be this bad.

How do the Browns improve? How about start converting some of those third-and-manageables on offense. How about limiting the big plays on defense. How about Quinn hitting his receivers in stride so they can some yard after the catch. How about some consistency in the running game. How about a new right tackle.

I'm sure I will feel better about things later this week. Maybe the Browns will pick it up this week and learn from their mistakes. I still believe in Brady Quinn because I believe in his ability to maximize his own strengths, minimize his own weaknesses, and make the right adjustments. The Browns do have an elite left tackle on offense and an elite nose tackle on defense. Braylon Edwards did have a good game. Today though, I am not a happy Browns fan. I don't have the strength to write anymore at the moment. Ugh.

Jack Bacevice

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