Defies Description

By Michael Reghi

Let me get this correct…an NFL team holds leads throughout the second half, 14-10, 17-10, 20-17…this same team forces 6, count ’em, 6, opposition turnovers, and is playing against the 21st ranked defense in the NFL, a defense that has produced just 14 sacks in 9 football games, and has trouble stopping the run, and said team, your Cleveland Browns, can’t close the deal? Doesn’t win? Incredible! Yet, points to the problem areas mentioned in this blog space last week…it’s one thing to game plan, and look for matchup advantages, and fit your personnel packages to create a winning environment and it’s completely a different dynamic when it comes to coaching/playing decisions and execution ‘DURING THE GAME’.

And this is where Eric Mangini, and his coaches, and many of the players he’s selected are falling short. Ten games into this NFL season, you have a 3-7 football team that is nothing short of mystifying and maddening! Defies description? Damn right it does!!

When you go through a four game stretch playing Pittsburgh, New Orleans, New England, and the New York Jets, with a rookie qb getting his NFL baptism, you go 2-2, and have a wonderful opportunity to win a third, (needed to go for ‘2’ late fourth to beat the Jets, Eric!) the expectation level rises, and it should! Let’s stop with the ‘we’re playing with toughness, and character’ from Eric Mangini!! Even a football novice would recognize that. You MUST win football games when you put yourself in position to do just that. PERIOD!!! And the Browns can’t consistently do that. With 6 of the 7 losses on the back end of having second half, and fourth quarter leads, what more evidence do you need?

So, I leave it to your interpretation, Browns faithful? Are you chalking this season up to one of ‘making progress’, ‘playing competitively’? When wins come, fine. And in the losses, look for any glimmer of positive that you can hang your hat on? Fine. That’s your call. Yet, many of you are the same people that used the four game winning streak, the last three over bad football teams to end last season as your jumping off point for Mangini and his coaching staff. Wins mattered to you then…and they don’t now? C’mon people!

Here’s the rub. From a woeful offensive line performance against Jacksonville that did not generate the running game needed to win, nor adequately protect the quarterback, to very questionable decisions from the head coach, and his offensive coordinator with how to attack a staggered opponent that is turning the football over continually, the Browns REGRESSED yesterday. The scrutiny has stepped up on everyone…and it should. You can’t continue to talk ‘progress with the process’, Eric Mangini, when your team doesn’t win football games, and maybe more importantly, continues to lose leads in fourth quarters.

Did you see the look on Mangini’s face as he met Jack Del Rio yesterday? And his demeanor postgame? He knows. As Del Rio stated, the Browns ‘could have buried Jacksonville’. Mangini knows it, his coaches know it, and the players know it. How do you choose to come to terms with the reason they didn’t?

With plenty of conversation centered on Terrell Pryor’s three years of football as Ohio State’s quarterback this week, he shook off a very mediocre performance with winning on the line in Iowa City, and brought back to grab a 20-17 win, and keep the Big Ten title and BCS bowl hopes alive. I’ve come to understand Pryor just doesn’t do things conventionally when it comes to using his most notable skill, his athleticism, while trying to blend that with being a complete quarterback. And this is why you get the uneven, sometimes maddening performances from him.

The dashing, darting, escaping 14 yard run on 4th and 10, while looking down the barrel of a very unfulfilling 2 loss season was Pryor at his athletic best. Do you think for a moment he wanted to throw the football? I don’t! Straight run in the athlete’s mind. I get that. His pass game was mediocre at best to that point. And I’m probably being kind. Two picks on very poorly thrown balls. His accuracy seemingly regressing as this season wears on. Awkward looking throws with terrible mechanics on many others. He went to his ‘comfort level’. Straight run. To put his offense in position to win, and that he, and they did. Obviously, Pryor has not measured up to the individual expectation level placed upon him by analysts, coaches, the opposition, and fans, in his three years in Columbus. He hasn’t helped himself with boorish, arrogant behavior at times, either. Yet, his record as a starting quarterback is very substantial. The Pryor legacy? Through three seasons it’s simple. A winning quarterback. Is he the best at his position around the college game. Nope. And for many of you, it’s time to decide what your preference is. The winning? Or the individual ‘quarterbacking brilliance’ attached to it. Pryor’s got one down cold. The other? Probably not in the cards on a consistent basis.

Let’s discuss, Cleveland!


1 Comment

  1. I love this team.. Long time seson ticker holder who sees us coming along. This week when we play Carolina it will be the first team all year with a losing record we line up against(Cincy was 2-1 whne we played). Wins are for next year not this. As long as they are in every game and can win 6 this year I am fine. If Holmgren blows this up he is an IDIOT and sets us back 3 years. He needs to get us good skill players and make this team better. Last year Mangini got Evan Moore, Roth and Bernard in the scrap pile. Heckart can’t find one difference maker?

    By the way TJ Ward is starting to look like crap tackling out there, Lauvo was HORRIBLE, and Colt was Holmgren’s pick not Heckarts. Haden looked GREAT!

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