He Makes Me Happy!

By Michael Reghi

Browns WR Josh Cribbs

Eric Mangini’s Monday gathering with the media this morning, following preseason game number 3 in Detroit. The caption above was spoken by the Browns head coach as I questioned him about the development, and rapidly, to the wide receiver position by Browns stalwart Joshua Cribbs. Mangini cracked up the room with a wide smile…and the proclamation that Cribbs ‘Makes Him Happy!’ Honest response from Mangini, who agreed with me that Cribbs now has a more instinctive, fluid feel for the position, as evidenced by not just the expanded role in the pass game, and the catches themselves, but his route running and understanding of the structure of the offense as well. I can see Cribbs continuing to thrive in this capacity, as he certainly augments a ‘suspect’; Browns wide receiver corps.

*****I’m reflecting on some Browns bullet points that ‘make me happy’…and those that ‘make me frown’ two weeks from the season opener in Tampa.

I smile over the continued solid performance from veteran qb Jake Delhomme. I stressed his need to provide a strong continuity for his offense from week to week this preseason, with accents on it’s tempo, rhythm, pace, ability to get all personnel involved, and allowing offensive coordinator Brian Daboll to add elements to the package. Isn’t it a definitive check for yes, Delhomme has provided that and more in each of his three-preseason games. He’s shown the ability to get the Browns into plays pre-snap, that have shown to be beneficial, he’s been decisive with his throws, and gives me encouragement for how he’ll carry this over into the regular season. He doesn’t need to be of All Pro caliber, he simply needs to play at this very positive level for the Browns offense to take a quantum leap ion production from where its been the past two seasons.

I smile over the consistency of the offensive line, looking solid in both pass protecting and getting a surge in the run game, most notably with Peyton Hillis carrying the football, who makes me smile as well for his hard running, aggressive approach to his position. Tight ends Benjamin Watson and Evan Moore have me grinning broadly with their steady, clutch performances, and young wide receiver Brian Robiskie bounced back from being shut out against St. Loiuis with a solid performance, not only catching the football, but route running and blocking for the run game as well. He needed that!

***On the frown side***

Turnovers have sabotaged the past two games…8 of them total, with Jerome Harrison having some ball security issues that have been glaring. The three TO’s Saturday cost the Browns 21 points, and had Mangini seething. This offense won’t be able to overcome that!

Defensively, a unit that lacks overall speed and athleticism has to play assignment, technique football, and many Browns defenders are not! Being out of position within this ‘d’, is cause for disaster, as Abe Elam, the free safety was, on too many plays in Detroit. Mangini won’t put up with that for too long either. The front seven in the 3-4 have just not generated much of a pass rush, even though coordinator Rob Ryan has allowed for many blitz packages in all three games. Are they being vanilla in their approach, or is it going to be a concern? Remember, this defense became statistically improved, and was a part of winning 4 in a row after Shaun Rogers was lost for the season. Needs very close attention!

****Browns legend Jim Brown. Is it just me, or has he treated Cleveland, and you, the fans as more of a convience, when he needed, as opposed to his consistency with his loyalty to you and the organization. Here’s why…I sight these three examples. Brown, upon being offended by Franco Harris in the 80’s, wore a La Raiders uniform on the cover of Sports Illustrated, in his marketing of the race with Harris? He, of course, followed Art Modell to Baltimore, as the Ravens came into being, and supported LeBron James before and after his departure to Miami, saying we, as Clevelanders don’t have the right to expect loyalty from James. Now, he desires that loyalty from the Browns organization with his situation. Sorry Jim, football legendary playing status is one thing, and that you have always received in kind from Cleveland…can you honestly say you have afforded the same treatment to this city and its fans as the years have past?

***Manny Ramirez, and his childish behavior that follows him around like a cloud above his head did it again! Joe Torre calls on him to pinch hit for the LA Dodgers, he takes a called strike, and explodes on the umpire, gets ejected, and once again, proves to be the malcontent that he showed himself to be in Boston. He completely gave up on his Red Sox teammates, showed them up with his antics, and now has done the same to his La Dodgers mates! Used to love watching this young fella swing the bat when he came to the big show with the Tribe. Thought he could be the greatest right handed hitter the game has seen…for sure, he has been that…a great hitter…. as a teammate, anything but! Just ask the Boston Red Sox, whom he walked out on, and left high and dry in a pennant race a couple years back. Typical, the hell with Manny being Manny…its Manny is all about Manny..period! One of now, the most selfish, boorish athletes we have on the professional scene. As a teammate? A complete joke!

Afternoon R & R rolls at you at 3pm! Talk to you then!

Best, Cleveland!



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