Cleveland Browns fans have been living a 10-year nightmare. I am one of them and it’s about to be an 11-year disaster.
Head coach Eric Mangini sent a message to fans that they need to believe in the building process here.
I am still discouraged that the Browns have started 0-4. It looks as though the team will have to draft another quarterback next year and find an explosive running back. Neither Derek Anderson or Brady Quinn is a long-term solution and Jerome Harrison is a nice change-of-pace back, who showed he can play when given the opportunity.
The Browns could have two nice trading chips in Braylon Edwards and Quinn. I am currently undecided about whether it would be wise to trade Edwards right now. If his recent accusations are confirmed, how many teams are going to want him? However, if he continues dropping passes and getting called for penalties, who will give the Browns a first and third-round draft pick for him if he is franchised?
The Browns are caught between a rock and a hard place with him.
Benching Quinn led to two different moves. One, it put Anderson back in the starting spot where he is able to stretch the defense. Second, it moved Mohamed Massaquoi into the starting lineup and Josh Cribbs back to special teams. Massaquoi proved to be a second viable weapon for Anderson.
After watching Quinn in the first three games, I think it would be best to part ways with him before the trading deadline. The Oakland Raiders or Washington Redskins may be foolish enough to cough up a second round pick for him. JaMarcus Russell and Jason Campbell aren’t playing well and they need a second option.
I do not think Mangini will go back to Quinn this season. If Anderson falters, Bret Ratliff will be the guy. Mangini did not sign or draft Anderson or Quinn and probably doesn’t see a future with either guy. He will most likely draft Colt McCoy or Sam Bradford next season and play them early. At this point, McCoy would probably be the better alternative due to Bradford’s shoulder injury and the fact that McCoy has started since his freshman year.
When I look at the rest of this team on offense, I see three solid linemen with two others who are serviceable. Center Alex Mack played a great game the other day. No high snaps, no penalties. He may be starting to get it. Hank Fraley at right guard appears to be an upgrade over Floyd Womack. John St. Clair played a solid game as well.
Steve Heiden and Robert Royal blocked extremely well and opened holes for Jerome Harrison. Heiden is back and continues to prove why he is one of the most underrated players on the Browns.
However, they may need to look into drafting a right tackle in the future and a tight end to groom behind Heiden and Royal. Think Dustin Keller, whom Mangini brought in to New York.
The receivers, with the exception of Edwards, played well Sunday. Massaquoi caught everything thrown his way and looks to be a future star. He could very well take Edwards’ spot next season. Mike Furrey is a good third option for the time being. You have to love a guy that is willing to play safety at the end of the game and break up a pass. I haven’t seen enough of Brian Robiskie but think he will be a solid No. 2 receiver next season. He’s an exceptional route runner with soft hands. That often equates to success in the NFL. His father will also make sure he has his head on straight.
When I look at the Browns’ defense, I see a unit that has been improving every week.
With the offense hopefully coming together and giving the defense a breather in the second half, it will go a long way. Even the Ravens and Steelers defense will get tired if they’re on the field for 40 minutes a game.
Kenyon Coleman and Robaire Smith are doing their jobs at the end spots and Corey Williams FINALLY showed fans what the previous regime thought they were trading for last season. Kamerion Wimbley could be the most improved player from last season. He already has three sacks and has been seen making tackles all over the field. D’Qwell Jackson also had a solid game against the Bengals, recording 13 tackles and forcing a fumble. Eric Barton and David Bowens have been nice surprises so far, but are just temporary solutions. I think David Veikune and Kaluka Maiava could become starters either next season or the year after. Maiava has played well on special teams and Veikune will be worked in slowly. Defensive coordinator Rob Ryan knows what he is doing and is putting his defense in position to make plays.
The secondary played well on Sunday. Eric Wright held Chad Ochocinco to three catches, but two of them were touchdowns. However, the last one could be pinned on both Wright and the safeties. Either Abram Elam or Brodney Pool forgot to account for him in the back of the endzone. Speaking of Pool, the fifth-year pro played the game of his career. He picked off a Carson Palmer pass and helped break up four passes all over the field. The Bengals had 11 total yards leading up to the final Bengals’ drive in regulation. They hadn’t gotten a first down since the first quarter either. Brandon McDonald responded well to his benching, who was replaced by Mike Adams who made seven tackles and broke up a pass.
The special teams need no explanation. Pay Josh Cribbs at the end of the season.
Fans, I ask you to be patient and keep faith in his team. If the Browns play like they did on Sunday for the rest of the season, they will win their share of games and build a strong foundation for the future.