First, I just want to thank everybody for their feedback regarding my last post - I'm not sure if the "Chimes" will run something on the editorial page or not, but I sure hope so as it seems that many students on this campus are fed up with how things have turned out here at Capital.
Now, onto the good stuff...
I wanted to put up a post yesterday afternoon right after the Browns game. I really did. But their effort, or lack thereof, Sunday afternoon completely sucked the energy out of me.
In my pregame post, I mentioned several aspects of a football game that a team must be successful in, or at least hold their own, if they want any chance to win. You can't have penalties negating big plays. You need an offensive line that dominates the line of scrimmage and allows you to run your offense. You need to be able to convert your third downs and keep the opposing team from doing so.
Now, the Browns did well in the penalty department, only two for 27 yards. Granted, they didn't have any big plays to get called back anyway, but you can't complain about the team only committing six penalties in two games.
The offensive line, on the other hand...yeesh. Across the country, fantasy football owners are kicking themselves for drafting Reuben Droughns, who has rushed for 59 yards in two games and required an MRI on his shoulder following Sunday's debacle. I mean, Charlie Frye is getting hit in the backfield on handoffs. As my roommate Dan suggested, the Browns need to hold open tryouts for Clevelanders who weigh 300-plus pounds to fill in on the O-Line.
(At the very least, Hollywood will remake it into a movie in 20 years or so - Ineffectual, or perhaps Insignificant.)
Above all, and what frustrates me the most as a fan, is Cleveland's inability to stop the opposition on third down conversions, and failure to convert on its own opportunities. These are plays where you can take the momentum, stall/continue a drive, wear out the opposing defense and give your D an extended break.
Sunday, the Bungles converted 8-of-15 third downs. The Brownies, 2-of-10. As Lee Corso would say, "Whoa!"
Though it's been just two games, Cleveland has done nothing to prove to me that they will put forth a competitive effort this season. I was legitimately excited about this team - a good mix of young talent with proven veterans. Though I didn't really expect a playoff-caliber team, I thought the Browns could hang with the big boys and knock off the weak sisters. That doesn't appear to be the case right now.
(Heck, I'm wondering if we'd make the playoffs in the CFL or NFL Europe. I have my doubts.)
I am, by no means, an NFL coach. However, as a keen observer, here's what I'd do to stop this version of the Titanic from hitting the iceberg:
1. More creative playcalling - How many more times are we going to run up the middle on first-and-10? Why is our backup fullback running sweeps on third-and-one? Why isn't Kellen Winslow touching the ball at least once every possession? Maurice Carthon better get his act together. And soon.
(Nice to see I'm not alone here - check out K2's comments here.)
2. Light a fire under Ted Washington's @$$ - He played decently against the Saints but was a nonfactor in the Bungles debacle. In order for the 3-4 defense to succeed, the nose tackle must occupy blockers and create some push up the middle. That frees up the linebackers to make the tackles. So far, Ted has been as invisible as a 380 pound man in an orange helmet can get.
3. Start the auditions for the 300-pound linemen - Hey, it worked for the Eagles in the '70's with Vince Papale. Why not us?