Phil Savage and Romeo Crennel had their work cut out for them when they came here. We knew this wasn’t a playoff team before the season started. Yet the losses are more infuriating than ever, because the Browns have been exposed as a team that isn’t even close to being a playoff contender. They have been exposed as a team that still needs multiple years of successful drafts and free agent acquisition periods just to become competitive. And after three years without them, and the eight years of rudderless suck that have followed, we still shouldn’t be in this spot. In that same time frame, we’ve seen other franchises broken down and rebuilt back into contention. Yet the Browns perennially show no sign of life or hope, and continue to be a league laughing stock year in and year out. How much more can one fan base be asked to endure?
Is it the lack of talent? Is it the coaching? It’s both in my view. Clearly, the Browns are not a very talented football team. They are very weak in the trenches and lack playmakers on the edges of the field.
The offensive line is filled with average to below average players that all received Super Bowl rings elsewhere, and got big paydays from the Browns afterwards. No wonder this is such an unmotivated group that shows little to no sign of improvement year in and year out. The team has blatantly ignored the offensive line on day one of the draft for the last eight years, and they are paying the price now. Drafting offensive linemen high is like taking vitamins. It’s a pain in the ass with no immediate rewards, but vital for your long term health. The defensive line is old, slow, and lacking depth. Alvin McKinley has never been very good. Orpheus Roye has seen his better days. And Ted Washington has played absolutely horrible in the team’s first two games. And try and name one backup on the defensive line that you want back next season. The entire offensive and defensive lines need to be totally revamped.
The Browns top two playmakers are Kellen Winslow Jr. and Braylon Edwards, both of whom are coming off major knee surgeries. Would any of you out there wager a paycheck on the fact that these guys make it through the season unscathed? Defensively, the team has three players to build around in Andra Davis, Kamerion Wimbley, and Leigh Bodden. Which is at least more than they’ve had in the past. Gary Baxter and Daylon McCutcheon both cannot stay healthy, and it’s time to cut bait on both of these guys at seasons end despite the horrific lack of depth at corner that was badly exposed this week. We have no one better than Ralph Brown to run out there?
It’s not just the players though; the coaching has been terrible as well. For the second straight game, the team came out uninspired, unprepared, and thoroughly embarrassed in the first half. And Crennel looked like he saw God after the Bengals sped out to a big early lead. I’m souring quickly on Crennel, despite the fact he’s been here for just 18 games. He looks confused and lethargic on the sidelines. He lacks fire. His teams come out looking confused and poorly prepared. After staying on the Butch Davis Bandwagon for far too long, I’m just a couple of more uninspired performances away from using this website to start calling for Romeo’s head on a platter.
The play calling was a little better, but still a joke. Apparently attempting to make up for last week, Carthon predictably ran the ball on like 9 of the first 10 plays, with little to no success. We were then given another heavy dose of an ineffective dink and dunk attack that failed to utilize the teams’ best offensive players. Kellen Winslow, after a great first game, was not even looked at for the majority of the first half, and failed to even see the field on the majority of the teams third down plays. Unsurprisingly, the team was a woeful 2-10 on third down, long an albatross of this franchise. Maurice Carthon is simply not qualified to be calling plays in this league. He has no imagination. He’s very poor at knowing how to expose weaknesses in opposing defenses. And worst of all, he’s predictable, which is the one thing you cannot be as a play caller in this league.
On the other hand, the Bengals offense had their way with the Browns defense all day racking up almost 500 total yards, and were 8-15 on the aforementioned and crucial third down conversions. I’m not giving up on defensive coordinator Todd Grantham; I just think he has an awful secondary right now. Essentially two rookie safeties (Pool and Jones) and another (Russell) that is a journeyman type. Leigh Bodden is an emerging star, but teams simply don’t throw at him anymore. Why would you … with Ralph Brown and an injured Gary Baxter lining up across the field from him? The Bengals had their way running all over the Browns graybeard defensive front with Rudi Johnson, and Carson Palmer picked apart the Browns secondary with ease. There was no resistance whatsoever. The Bengals did whatever they wanted, whenever they wanted offensively ... and it was hard to watch.
The Browns once again were outplayed, out coached, and outclassed. They were thoroughly dominated from start to finish, and the game was nowhere near as close as the 34-17 final indicated. In just two weeks, the Saints and the Bengals have exposed this team and this franchise as one that is still light years away from being competitive.
And that’s just hard to come to terms with.