Monday, October 09, 2006

Squandered Opportunity

Games like yesterday's show you how far the Cleveland Browns still have to go. Carolina wasn't all that (although I can't say the same for Julius Peppers), and the Browns had a great opportunity to move into the bye week on a roll. They didn't do that, and the biggest reason that they didn't is that the team's offensive line may well be the worst in the NFL.

The Browns obviously have some talent at receiver and running back, and if Charlie Frye has an infuriating tendency to make bad 4th quarter decisions, remember that he's usually making those decisions with 5 guys in his face. Say what you will about Frye, he's still the first physically and mentally tough QB we've seen in this town for at least 15 years. But until somebody throws a friggin' block, that talent and toughness doesn't mean a damn thing. You can't play 6 on 11, and most weeks, that's what the Browns do.

The blame for this can be laid at the feet of Phil Savage. Yes, he got a bad break when Bentley went down, but he's also the guy who continues the Browns' proud tradition of spending high draft picks on faceless wide receivers like Travis Wilson. Do you realize that in two years, the only linemen that Phil Savage has drafted have been 4th rounder Isaac Sowells (a project) and 7th rounder Jonathan Dunn (a stiff)? Hey Phil, wanna win? THEN DRAFT SOME LINEMEN ON THE FIRST DAY OF THE DRAFT!! In fact, draft two or three of them.

The Browns finally look like they've got a core group of guys who can play and who give a damn. The team squandered an opportunity to get a win on Sunday, but if the Browns don't want to squander the long-term opportunity that this core group represents, they better damn well find some linemen who can play the game.


Erik said...

I think Tim Couch was pretty tough, mentally and physically, for the beating he took and how he was jerked around so regularly. He still managed to last five years and take the Browns to a playoff berth.
Couch gets unfairly branded as a weenie because he broke down in front of the cameras after suffering a concussion and having his exit cheered.

On the subject of the O-line, their incompetence is a direct result of the organization's incompetence with regard to offense. Not a single person in that entire organization has a clue about offense.

You have a defense-minded GM and a defense-minded coach who hired Maurice Carthon so he wouldn't have to worry about offensive playcalling. Unfortunately, even at his relatively advanced age, Crennel apparently still needs a few lessons in what makes a good offensive coordinator.

If you want someone to call plays for your offense, maybe it would make sense to hire someone who has experience doing just that.

The Browns look like they're going somewhere besides sour on defense. On offense, I don't know if anyone in that organization could spell "offense" if you spotted them o,f,f,e,n and s.

Vinny said...

They will be in a position in April's draft to pick just about any linemen they want.

If they do that and hire an offensive coordinator, they might have a chance next year.

Anonymous said...

I agree that some of the blame lies at Phil Savage's feet. I am sure he thought Bentley and Shaffer would be great answers. But why does Crennel get a pass? The offense plays the way he looks on the sidelines. Disengaged, unemotional, clueless. On the other hand, look how the defense plays--emotional, energetic, working hard. Like their defensive coordinator. How should we view Crennel right now and why is he getting a consistent pass from the media and fans?

Ben said...

I really enjoyed that 3rd and inches fullback pass. Well done.

The best part is, that terrible pass didn't even matter, as the Browns got a holding penalty.

How many other linemen have the Browns drafted the first day since they've returned? I don't know about Dwight Clark, but Butch Davis drafted center Melvin Fowler in the 3rd round and then proceeded to draft Jeff Faine in the 1st round the following season. So two first day picks, two centers. Well done Butch.