Browns Create More Questions Than Answers

By Will Burge

The Browns 27-17 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals leaves us with more questions than answers. Let’s examine the 3 big questions remaining from week one and also look at the three big positives.

Question 1: Can this young team stop shooting themselves in the foot?

Penalties, penalties, and more penalties really kept the Browns from achieving what they could have on Sunday afternoon. 10 penalties in the first half is a ridiculous number for any football team. With all the young starters, many expected that there would be some bumps in the road and growing pains but this was inexcusable.

There was the abysmal first drive that had a bizarre penalty on the Browns’ sideline. Then Jabaal Sheard and Sheldon Brown helped Cincinnati move into field goal range with their penalties.  The next offensive series for the Browns, they started with a nice pass to Mohammad Massaquoi for a first down, and then everything came unraveled. Three penalties on this possession pinned the Browns deep in their own territory and gave the Bengals great field position after a punt.

That short field led to the Bengals first touchdown.

The Browns faltered on offense again but were able to stick Cincinnati back inside their own 30 yard line with a decent punt. On the first play of that defensive series, however, instead of Jabaal Sheard’s great tackle for loss, TJ Ward got a late hit penalty that moved the Bengals out to the 42 yard line. The Bengals only needed to move another 25 yards or so for Nugent’s second field goal of the day.

Bengals WR A.J. Green

This was the story the whole first half. 10 penalties for 67 yards is tough for any team to overcome, it doesn’t matter how good your offense is.

Compound the penalties with not being ready when the offense is set, resulting in an AJ Green touchdown pass, and the Browns looked dazed and confused for a good portion of the game.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot the punter, Richmond McGee. Unemployed. Next question.

Question 2: Who will start at Right Tackle next week?

In my last blog I examined how many losses would result from certain injuries. One man I did not include in that blog was Tony Pashos. The foot injury that kept him inactive for Sunday’s game had a bigger impact on the team than anyone could have expected.

Oniel Cousins got the start in place of Pashos but split time with Artis Hicks. They played quarters, which means that Cousins played the first and third quarter while Hicks played the second and fourth. To make a long story short, Cousins was terrible.

It was no surprise that as soon as Hicks entered the game the Browns’ offense came to life, scoring touchdowns on two of their final three “real” possessions (their fourth possession was the kneel before halftime). The protection was better, McCoy had more time, and Hillis and Hardesty started to break off good yardage runs to the right side.

Besides the first possession of the third quarter which resulted in a field goal, the protection was terrible and the Browns offense never really had a chance to get going. They drove inside the Bengals 40 yard line once, only to have Colt McCoy get sacked and pushed back out of field goal range.

Once the rain started coming down hard, McCoy lost his accuracy, then his composure, and the rest of the offense followed. More on this in the next question.

Question 3: Can Pat Shurmur figure out how to use the run effectively?

In a day full of penalties, mental blunders, and questionable play calling the coaches always get some blame. I still don’t know if coach Shurmur knows how to use Peyton Hillis to his advantage. Most of the running calls seemed to be a “throw in”. It’s is almost as if he would say, “Oh yeah, we haven’t run the ball in a while. Have Hillis go right this time.”

40 passing attempts for Colt McCoy is too much no matter how you slice it. Especially when the Browns still held a four point lead half way into the fourth quarter and the rain was beating down on the field. The scenario and conditions screamed for a heavy, physical run game. Instead, the Browns ran roll out passes and draw plays.

If Shurmur can integrate what Hillis does well into the offense, the Browns can be very dangerous. If he cannot, it will look similar to what it did for most of the day yesterday, which was a bunch of stuff being thrown at the wall to see what sticks.

Three BIG Positives:

Joe Haden: He looked like an All-Pro cornerback. He locked down AJ Green, who is one of the most talented young receivers in the game. As the season goes on, and people see what green can do, this performance will look that much more impressive.

D’Qwell Jackson & the defensive front: Jackson was a man possessed and continued his stellar play he started back in training camp. He was everywhere they needed him to be and exactly what the middle linebacker should be in the 4-3 defense. I was also impressed with Taylor and Sheard individually as well as the rotation of guys used on the D-Line to keep them fresh.

Mohammad Massaquoi: He stepped up and showed why he is the number one receiver on this team. With other guys to draw attention away from his side (Little, Moore, Watson etc.), Massaquoi can get open and has great hands to reel in the ball. He will be a huge asset in the west coast offense as it evolves and the Browns sharpen their tools.

Follow Will on Twitter @WillBurge

Advertisements

4 Comments

  1. does it matter if they can stop shooting themselves in the foot? no because they will still give excuses and say wait till next year, Im done with Free Beer Tomorow. I want production now this year!

  2. You know, I love my Browns and I always will, but unless I see a “miracle” this year (12-4 as that would mean we beat either Pittsburgh or Baltimore once) I no longer believe I will see a championship in my lifetime. I am 58 years old (old enough to remember the ’64 championship) but have become fatigued with the “we’re getting better”, “we’re going in the right direction” talk. I believe it but this is the first organization in decades for which I had faith and if yesterday’s performance is indicative of our capabilities, then I fear I will die without getting to see my beloved team in a Super Bowl. I hope I’m wrong!

  3. WHATS UP WILLIE THIS JUST LIKE THE EAGLES PRESEASON WE KEPT DROPPING THE WEIGHTS ON OUR FOOT WITH ALL THESE PENALTIES AND GOT TO GIVE COLT SOME TIME TO THROW THE BALL OR HE WILL BE ROLLING OUT THE POCKET ALL YEAR LIKE HES JEFF GARCIA

  4. WHATS UP WILLIE THIS IS JUST LIKE THE EAGLES PRESEASON GAME WE KEPT DROPPING THE WEIGHTS ON OUR FOOT WITH ALL THESE PENALTIES AND WE HAVE TO GIVE COLT SOME MORE TIME TO THROW THE BALL OR HE WILL BE ROLLING OUT THE POCKET ALL YEAR LONG LIKE HES THE SECOND COMING OF JEFF GARCIA


Comments RSS TrackBack Identifier URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

  • Browse

  • Archives