The Cleveland Browns limped into their bye week with the firing of their General Manager, a 1-7 record, and a very frustrated owner. Changes are definitely coming. Who and when are the only questions. How the Browns finish the last eight games will decide the fate of many. With that said here’s my grades on the first eight games.
Wide receiver - Mohamed Massaquoi has shown flashes of big play ability along with several dropped passes. He is still learning to read coverages and looks bad at times. Mike Furrey has excellent hands but has lost playing time to Chance Stuckey who seems to have poor hands. Brian Robiskie has struggled to get open. Josh Cribbs has a lot to learn but has big play ability. Way too many drops as a group. grade D.
Tight End - As a group they leave a lot to be desired. Steve Heiden has nine catches while Robert Royal has eight and probably that many drops. Since Anderson took over at QB, the tight ends have not been used much in the passing game. Probably just as well, they are more suited to blocking. grade - D
Offensive line - Joe Thomas has been solid at left tackle. Eric Steinbach, who has managed to hang onto his left guard spot despite Mangini’s efforts to replace him in training camp, has been solid. Rookie center Alex Mack has shown improvement but still struggles at times. Last years center, Hank Fraley, has spent some time at right guard and been decent. Right tackle John St.Clair has had more bad games than good. Floyd Womack and Rex Hadnot have both fought injuries which has set the group back. grade - C
Running Back - Jamal Lewis has lost a couple of steps and has been indecisive at times. He should have retired last year. Jerome Harrison has good quickness and vision but can’t get the hang of pass blocking. Josh Cribbs could really help this area but he’s not been used. Fullback Lawrence Vickers has yet to carry the ball. grade - D
Quarterbacks - Brady Quinn started the first three games and looked bad. In hindsight he should have been given more of a chance because Derek Anderson has been horrible. In both player’s defense, they have gotten very little help from the WRs and coaches. It will be interesting to see if Mangini goes back to Quinn after the bye week. grade - F
Defensive line - Robaire Smith has played well. Shuan Rogers has dominated games at times. Ahtyba Rubin has done a nice job when Rogers needs a break. Both Coleman and Williams have had only a few moments. grade - C-
Linebackers - D’Qwell Jackson was having a nice year before getting injured. He’s done for the season. Kameron Wimbley has been solid so far at OLB. Eric Barton could also be lost for the season due to injury. His experience will be missed. David Bowens is a veteran OLB who has been average at best. Alex Hall and rookies Maiava and Veikune have not done much. Trusnik has played more than he should. grade - D
Secondary - Eric Wright and Mike Adams are playing the best in this group. Safety Brodney Pool has three of the teams four interceptions but he disapears at times on defense. Abram Elam has not impressed. He seems slow. Brandon McDonald is at best a nickle corner. He’s been real inconsistent. Hank Poteat has not shown much. Rookie Coye Francies can’t seem to get much PT. grade - C
Special Teams - Josh Cribbs is having a good year as is Blake Costanza, Adams and punter Dave Zastudil. So far the special teams have been the bright spot of the season and were the main reason for the win at Buffalo. grade - B+
Coaching - Cleveland is regressing on offense with no identity. They are on the verge of setting team records for futility, scoring just 9.8 points per game. Defensively, they have played hard most of the time but poor tackling and a lack of play makers are two major concerns. While many will say the team lacks talent, one person and one person alone is responsible for the talent currently on the Browns, Eric Mangini. Without the play of the special teams, this grade would be much lower. Is that possible? grade - D-
Ownership - Randy Lerner has spent a lot of money and made a lot of promises but the bottom line is still what it is. grade - INCOMPLETE