By Will Burge
Some people give you overall grades. Some give you positional grades. No one, and I mean no one, gives you player by player grades at the bye week. It isn’t because I’m better than anyone else but simply because I had a TON of spare time on my hands with the Browns off for four days.
So here we go. I have included some grades from my twitter followers as well at a few positions.
Coly McCoy – Grade: C- (100-172, 58%, 984 yards, 6TDs, 3INTs, 5.7 yards per attempt)
McCoy has had one good drive through four games. The fact that the one good drive gave the Browns a come from behind victory over the Dolphins boosted his score from a D+ to a C-. He has missed quite a few open throws and needs to learn to trust what is around him, especially the line. They get some flack but have performed pretty well overall. Colt still needs to learn how to step up in the pocket and throw with confidence instead of running at the first sign of trouble.
Fan Grade: @ClevelandBebbs said “Colt McCoy B-, has played well; must get better”
Peyton Hillis – Grade: C+ (54 rushes, 197 yards, 2TDs, 3.6 yards per carry [played 3 of 4 games])
Hillis had only 17 carries against the Bengals and 10 against the Titans. Against the Colts, however, he had 27 carries for 97 yards and 2 TDS. In the Titans game Hillis was more of a non-factor because the game got away from the Browns early but he did not run well against Cincy. That poor game, plus the lost fumble in Indy, gives him a C+ overall.
Fan Grade: @XCWarrior1 said “Management gets an F for not finishing Hillis contract during this week AND not going out + signing/trading for a viable WR.”
Montario Hardesty – Grade: B- (29 rushes, 108 yards, 0TDs, 1 fumble, 3.7 yards per carry)
Hills’ and Hardesty’s stats look very similar but the reason Hardesty gets a B- is that he was put into a difficult spot having to start before he was physically ready against Miami. In that game he rushed 19 times for 67 yards and also added 19 yards receiving. He has shown above average blocking, good vision, and most importantly has stayed healthy.
Mohammad Massaquoi – Grade: B+ (14 receptions, 194 yards, 1TD, 13.9 yards per reception)
Despite missing the entire pre-season, Massaquoi has looked the most confortable in the newly installed west coast offense. His above average route running has allowed him to become the most consistent passing threat. The game winning TD catch against Miami gave his grade a little boost.
Josh Cribbs – Grade: A (12 receptions, 153 yards, 1TD, 12.8 yards per reception)
Cribbs has taken his biggest jump as a wide receiver in his career but the high grade comes from his kick returns. Despite the kick return rule changes, Cribbs has not been slowed. He has sparked the offense in multiple weeks and made an impact when he is able to get his hands on some passes.
Greg Little – Grade: C+ (14 receptions, 131 yards, 0TDs, 9.4 yards per reception)
I would like to see Little assert himself more early in games. He seems to become more effective as the game wears on. He knows how to use his big body to shield defenders from the ball and blocks well. He needs to find the end zone and become the most dangerous receiver on the Browns in the final 12 games.
Brian Robiskie – Grade: D- (3 receptions, 25 yards, 0TDs, 8.3 yards per reception)
Where has Brian Robiskie been? I know the answer. He’s been working his way out of the offensive game plan. All three of his catches came in the blowout loss to the Titans where he was essentially a non-factor again. His blocking is the only thing that kept him from an F.
Jordan Norwood – Grade: Incomplete
Carlton Mitchell – Grade: Incomplete
Ben Watson – Grade: B+ (16 reception, 173 yards, 2TDs, 10.8 yards per reception)
Watson has been far and away the best receiving threat on the team. He is the only receiver that McCoy shows confidence in on the field. I have a hunch you will see more plays that have Watson as a deep threat in the final 12 games.
Evan Moore – Grade: D+ (7 receptions, 85 yards, 2 TDs, 12.1 yards per reception)
Moore has not been the playmaker the Browns would have liked so far this season. I know what you’re thinking, “but he hasn’t been on the field!” Think about this for a moment: Why would the Browns not give many snaps to a guy they gave a contract extension and has the most “big play” potential on the team? Maybe it has something to do with the two different one-handed attempts on very catchable balls or the fact he is a below average blocker. Effort goes a long way.
Alex Smith – Grade: C (5 receptions, 41 yards, 0TDs, 8.2 yards per reception)
He is backup tight end who blocks well. Any catches they get from Smith are a bonus.
Jordan Cameron – Grade: Incomplete
Joe Thomas – Grade: B-
Thomas would have a higher grade but he has had some off-sides penalties that you wouldn’t expect from a veteran. I have only seen him get beat twice and once was by Dwight Freeney on a speed rush.
Jason Pinkston – Grade: C
I think before the season most people would have taken a C from the rookie left guard. He has been very solid. He has gotten beat here and there but never consistently. He has adapted well to the speed of the game and is initiating contact more and more.
Alex Mack – Grade: B+
Mack is about as good as it gets at center. Not only has he been very steady in pass protection but we have seen a little bit of the “mean streak” he lacked in the first few years of his career.
Shawn Lauvao – Grade: C-
Lauvao has been solid as well. He needs to eliminate the penalties and from time to time he doesn’t get the push you would like from your right guard.
Tony Pashos/Artis Hicks/Oniel Cousins – Grade: D
When there has been pressure on McCoy it has almost always came from this position. Pashos is finally healthy and needs to find that rhythm with Lauvao next to him.
Jayme Mitchell – Grade: C- (14tackles, 12 solo, 1.5 sacks, 1 fumble)
Opposing teams have keyed on running right at Mitchell week in and week out. Mitchell has certainly improved from game 1 but still needs to become stouter on run defense. His pass rush is slightly above average at this point.
Ahtyba Rubin – Grade: B (18tackles, 12 solo, 2.5 sacks)
The pressure Rubin has created form the defensive tackle position in a 4-3 scheme is amazing. He has become the rock on the defensive line. The only thing keeping him from an A grade was that he was not able to get into the backfield against the Titans.
Phil Taylor – Grade: B (20 tackles, 11 solo, 1 sack)
Taylor has adjusted to the NFL game quicker than anyone could have ever imagined. He has become a huge key in pass rush as well as clogging up the run in between the tackles. Once again, the only thing that kept him from an A was lack of pressure against the Titans.
Jabaal Sheard – Grade: C+ (14 tackles, 10 solo, 1 sack, 1 fumble)
Sheard is a future pass rush superstar. Since the move to the opposite side of the line, he has been disruptive in in the passing game and much better against the run. I would not be surprised if he ended up with an A at the end of the season.
Fan Grade: @SamEC37 said “Sheard should get a B+ despite not having the #’s he had been in the backfield disrupting the QB every week but last week.”
Chris Gocong – Grade: C- (10 tackles, 5 solo, .5 sacks)
Gocong is another reason the rush defense has been suspect. Teams have attacked his side of the field time and time again. His defense improved in games 3 and 4 but he was so bad in games 1 and 2 that it cannot be ignored. The stinger that kept him out of the whole pre-season may have something to do with his slow start.
D’Qwell Jackson – Grade: A+ (40 tackles, 27 solo, 2.5 sacks, 1 fumble)
You can’t start a season much better than D’Qwell did and that’s why he was the AFC defensive player of the month. He has made tackles on both sidelines with ease and knows exactly when to abandon his zone and pressure the backfield. He has been by far the best player on the Browns through four games.
Fan Grade: @DPOUTZ said “@dq52 A+ he has been the stand out on defense he is a rock solid tackler and has improved his pass rush”
Scott Fujita – Grade: C (23 tackles, 15 solo)
Fujita has been solid. He has not been spectacular. Both he and Gocong have been a big reason the defense has allowed as much rushing yards as they have. He was also targeted by the Titans in pass coverage and he proved he cannot handle a tight end one-on-one.
Sheldon Brown – Grade: D (13 tackles, 10 solo, 1 fumble)
Brown has been solid on 80% of the snaps. Unfortunately for him, the 20% where he has not been solid he has been abysmal. He has been beat on comeback routes, he has been beat deep, he has been caught holding and got pass interference calls. His leadership and experience are valuable but he has been a weak link in a very good pass defense.
Joe Haden – Grade: A- (13 tackles, 11 solo, 1 sack)
Haden is budding into a superstar. He is now being assigned the opposing teams’ best receivers and shutting them down. If he keeps progressing at this rate he could become one of the best defensive backs in football.
T.J. Ward – Grade: C- (18 tackles, 14 solo)
I still think TJ Ward is one of the best young strong safeties in the game but he has had a rough start to this year. He has missed some key tackles, been burned in coverage, and made bad decisions in zone coverage that ended in touchdowns. No one needed a bye week more than TJ.
Usama Young – Grade: C+ (14 tackles, 10 solo, 1 interception)
Young is not known for his tackling and it showed. He has to improve in that category. He has been above average in pass coverage. More consistent reps should help him find his game in the final 12 games.
Mike Adams – Grade: C (10 tackles, 7 solo, 2 interceptions)
Adams really lacks the ability to cover across the middle. He isn’t terrible but he is exactly what he has been his entire career, a solid to above average back-up.
Phil Dawson – Grade: B+ (6-6 FGs)
Phil “freaking “Dawson is the very definition of reliable.
Brad Maynard – Grade: B (14 punts, 5 inside the 20, 40.5 yards per punt)
He has been more than solid since replacing the disaster that was Richmond “Punts” McGee.
Follow Will on Twitter @WillBurge