Jerry Glanville was famous for once saying to a referee, “This is the NFL, which stands for Not For Long.”
This popular quote that has fit the league’s cut-throat business will be ringing loud and clear for the remaining eight games in Cleveland, Ohio.
Several coaches and players on the Cleveland Browns will be under heavy scrutiny for the remainder of the season. The first half of Eric Mangini’s inaugural year as head coach could not have gone any worse as the team has scored five offensive touchdowns and 78 total points.
Not that Browns fans, coaches, or players had to be reminded of those two mind-numbing statistics.
As the team turns to the next page of the season, these coaches and players need to show owner Randy Lerner and the fans that they’re in this for the long haul:
Coaches: Eric Mangini and Brian Daboll
Mangini is quite possibly the most unpopular sports figure in the city of Cleveland and in the state of Ohio. He brought over four defensive starters from the New York Jets and the run defense is second to last in the NFL, surrendering 170.5 yards per game.
Eric Barton is out for the season with a neck injury and Abram Elam has been non-existent through eight games. Mangini needs to start winning some games or he could be on his way out at season’s end.
With the exception of the Cincinnati game, offensive coordinator Brian Daboll’s playcalling has been suspect at best. It will be interesting to see if the playcalling will continue to be conservative with Quinn back under center.
Not all the blame can be put on Daboll, with the team starting two rookie wide receivers and a 30-year old running back. The offensive line’s right side has been less than average as well.
With nothing to lose at 1-7, Daboll needs to show some creativity and more aggressiveness with his playcalling.
Players: Brady Quinn, Brian Robiskie, and David Veikune
Brady Quinn will have one more chance to prove to this coaching staff that he is a starting quarterback in this league. Mangini has been encouraged by Quinn’s work ethic and positive attitude since his benching, so maybe there is light at the end of the tunnel.
Quinn needs to play the final eight games, no exceptions. Derek Anderson is nothing more than a backup quarterback, but Quinn remains an unknown. He has started five games in two and a half seasons. He’s completed 59 percent of his passes for 409 yards, a touchdown, and three interceptions this season.
During his three-year career, he has played in eight games (half a season) and thrown for 972 yards, three touchdowns and five interceptions.
Tight end Steve Heiden’s health could be a key factor in how successful or unsuccessful Quinn is.
The rookie wide receiver from Ohio State has been possibly the most disappointing player so far this season. A sure-handed kid, whose father is a wide receivers coach with the Atlanta Falcons, has one catch for 23 yards. He needs show something positive offensively, or the “bust” label could begin to be associated with this once-promising prospect.
Clay Matthews Jr. has four sacks and a forced fumble and Rey Maualuga has 36 tackles and a sack with the first-place Cincinnati Bengals. David Veikune needs to start making plays and having a positive impact on the run defense.
Mangini didn’t think highly enough of either Matthews or Maualuga so he spent a second round pick on a defensive end from Hawaii. The USC linebacker that Mangini did select, Kaluka Maiava, has 20 tackles and a pass defended, but has lost his starting job to David Bowens.
At 1-7 and possibly a worst showing than the 1999 expansion team, this team has nowhere to go but up. The coaches and players will be playing for their jobs and the fans have lost patience.
Not a good combination. A far cry from the two AFC powerhouses that registered the game of the season last night in Indianapolis.
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