In 2009, the Cleveland Browns were ranked dead last in total offense in the NFL. Through the first nine games, they were on pace to shatter the record for fewest points scored in a season.
Luckily, the team figured out how to score some points down the stretch and avoided a place in infamy.
One of the biggest goats of the offense was first-year coordinator Brian Daboll.
Daboll struggled all season long to get the offense to produce, causing many fans to call for his dismissal.
It should be pointed out in his defense that his two quarterbacks were Brady Quinn and Derek Anderson, his two running backs were Jamal Lewis and Jerome Harrison, and his two receivers were Mohamed Massaquoi and Brian Robiskie (post-Braylon Edwards trade). This was not exactly a recipe for success.
But Daboll's play-calling was dull, un-imaginative, and above all else unsuccessful. Many pundits believed that the team's late-season success was more out of dumb luck (Harrison coming out of nowhere to rush for 561 yards in three games) than actual solid game planning.
However, with the turning over of a new season came the turning over of the offense.
The Browns' offense in 2010 has considerably improved. The team ranks 25th in yards per game and points per game. Most importantly, it has resulted in a deceptively decent 3-5 record.
What is even more striking is that this has come while playing the second-hardest schedule and with three different quarterbacks.
The offense is without a doubt still a work in progress and has many areas that need improvement.
The quarterback position is still uncertain (though it certainly looks like Colt McCoy's team) and the wide receiving corps is generally considered to be the worst in the entire league.
But this article is seeking to focus on the man in charge: Brian Daboll.
Is he still insanely inept and in over his head?
Or is he finally starting to figure it all out and showing just how crafty he can be when he gets the right pieces in place?
I don't know if it is wholly one or the other.
But this past week's beat-down of a very good New England Patriots' defense 34-14 showed me a lot about Daboll is capable of.
Sure he used a gadget play to score one of the touchdowns and also needed some special teams luck to set up another. But the offense showed a very impressive ability to move the ball nonetheless.
I am willing to give Daboll the rest of season to continue and show us what he is made of. I am expecting more of the same that we saw against the Patriots.
I also think that the continuity that we finally have will pay huge dividends going forward.
We know who our quarterback is (right?) and who our stud running back is (the Incredible Hulk Peyton Hillis). Never underestimate how important it is to have the same players playing every day together in practice.
Is Brian Daboll actually a genius?