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Reacting to Browns Over Pats

November 8, 2010
Jack Bacevice

That was a spectacular win.

There is credit abound for this one. Brian Daboll, who I can't remember if I have criticized him in this blog or only in my personal conversations and in my head, was great this week. His game plan was wonderful, and his play calling was outstanding. The outstanding execution by the players only speaks to how well Daboll had them prepared for this week.

Rob Ryan used a brilliant defensive game plan to confuse, stymie, and befuddle one of the best quarterbacks in NFL history in the middle of an MVP-candidate-quality season.

Eric Mangini, who I have been a fan of since his time in New England, brought it all together and got a big time win over his former mentor and the best team in the NFL record-wise heading into Week 9.

Peyton Hillis and Colt McCoy's contributions were obvious.

So what does this win mean? Here are a few thoughts I have going forward:

1) The Browns are definitely playing playoff caliber football right now, but the playoffs are still highly unlikely. The AFC is very strong this year, and it may end up like 2007 when a 10 win team (the Browns, if you forgot) missed the playoffs. I believe 10 wins won't even guarantee the playoffs this year. The Browns would have to finish 7-1 to get to 10 wins. That's a tall order for the best of teams. No team in the league opened the season 7-1 this year. It isn't that the Browns aren't playing well enough right now, it's that they dug themselves too deep a hole starting 1-5.

2) Colt McCoy has earned the right to start the rest of the season. It also seems very likely he will prove to the franchise the he is the guy for the future and there is no need to grab a quarterback early in next season's draft. McCoy is the young kid. He gives the team athleticism and playmaking. He also provides the Browns with the best chance to win right now. McCoy may start here for the next ten years. He has looked that good.

3) Eric Mangini is showing why he should keep his job. The program he has is working. The Browns are beating teams with superior talent. To a man, they play hard and disciplined football. Mangini and his staff deserve a ton of credit for that.

4) Peyton Hillis is having a Pro Bowl level season. He is only 24 and may continue to improve. Montario Hardesty, assuming he can be healthy, would add another big time playmaker to the offense. It's not out of the realm of possibility that Hillis and Hardesty could form the best backfield in the NFL next season.

5) The offensive line is very good, particularly with Floyd Womack at right tackle. The left side has been a strength since Phil Savage paired Joe Thomas with Eric Steinbach in 2007. Alex Mack has quickly turned himself into an elite NFL center in 24 career games. The Browns ran all over the Pats yesterday, and McCoy had plenty of time in the pocket. He was sacked 0 times, threw under pressure twice, and threw the ball away just once. That's a credit to the big guys up front.

6) The defense may lack a superstar, but it makes up for that deficiency with disciplined play, excellent schemes, and about 20 guys who can be trusted to play on any down.

7) If the Browns pick around 15th in 2011 and can hit a home run, or at least a solid double, with a few guys in the first few rounds, this team could very well be poised to really compete for the division title next season. Perhaps even more than that.

8) The foundation is there for a very good football team, from the backing of the front office to the coaching to the players on the roster. Maybe the playoffs won't happen this year, but the foundation is there to be a good team for many years to come. There are a lot of reasons to be happy about being a Browns fan today.

1 comment:

  1. Very cool win and one this team can use to build on. Like you said it is going to be almost impossible to get to the playoffs but they need to develop a winning attitude and this goes a long ways. I think Colt has shown enough but we are still going to need to take a QB in say the third or fourth round next year. You need to have one young QB on the bench just in case.
    You can win a lot of football games with a great offensive line and satisfactory to good backs it is nice to see we are finally taking advantage of the solid line and then some.