The Browns Table: Feeling Blue at 0-2

Jeff SmirnoffSenior Writer ISeptember 18, 2008

Welcome to The Browns Table, a season-long look at the 2008 season for the Cleveland Browns from the point of view of the Browns fans here on Bleacher Report.

This discussion is not just meant for the contributing Browns fans. Please feel free to comment on any of the questions or any of our answers below.

We welcome any comments and an open discussion about the Browns below.  If you would like a seat at the table leave me a note on my profile and we will try and get you in the rotation.

Thanks once again to Browns fans Dustin Haley, Scott Miles and David Nethers for chiming in, especially after a particularly brutal weekend for Ohio sports.

The Browns lost, for the 10th consecutive time, to the Pittsburgh Steelers, 10-6, on Sunday Night. The game featured a number of...

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The Browns fought hard and kept it close, but in the end, they couldn't seal the deal and lost to the Steelers. They now sit at 0-2. Do how the first two weeks of the season played out change your expectations for 2008?


Dustin Haley: We are only two games into the season. We have played badly, we have made bad decisions, and we just played two of the top four teams we are playing this season. My expectations have not yet changed.

I doubt Pittsburgh will go undefeated in the division; ask me this question should we have another poor showing against Baltimore.


Scott Miles: Well, let's see here. The Browns played poorly against two pretty good teams and lost them both. That's understandable, it really is. Unfortunately, we have still have good teams like Washington, Jacksonville, NY Giants, Denver, Buffalo, Indy, Tennessee, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh again.

With that schedule, it means we're going to have to go to 4-0 against Cincinnati and Baltimore to have a glimmer of postseason hope. I'm not saying it can't be done, but I think OSU has about as good of a chance to reach the national title game this year as the Browns do of reaching the playoffs.

David Nethers:  I am disappointed to be sure, but two games does not a season make. Nevertheless there are some legitimate concerns. The Browns could have done a much better job against the Steelers last week, and while the coach isn't on the field making plays, I have to say Romeo's clock management seems to have been the biggest obstacle the Browns faced. That having been said, if Braylon Edwards stopsdropping balls and Romeo does a better job from the sidelines I still think this team is loaded with talent and can beat almost everyone....except for Dallas.


Jeff Smirnoff: No, because I hedged my bet on this first Steeler game. I said if they won they'd win the AFC North, if they lost they'd miss the playoffs. If they win the next two games, they are 2-2, 2-1 in the division, so there is hope.

But considering they always look unprepared and overmatched in big games and every game from now on IS a big game, since they need to go 10-4 to go 10-6, I am very skeptical, at best.

Speaking of losing to the Steelers, that is now a disgusting 10 in a row. What do you think the reason that the Browns cannot beat the Inbred? What do they need to do so?


Dustin Haley: Why can’t we beat them? We can. Why have we not beaten them? Offensive execution, it’s as simple as that.


Scott Miles: I said last week Romeo was going to have to take a couple of chances in that game for us to win. Yeah, that clearly happened. We need to stop making dumb decisions on the field and on the sidelines, too. Oh, and if Big Ben wants to break a limb anytime soon, that would be huge, too.

David Nethers:  Get Jobu some rum, the good stuff from Puerto Rico.


Jeff Smirnoff: Inferior talent and a huge mental block. The Steelers have drafted and used free agency better than us and have a better coaching staff than us, and it shows.

Whenever they need to make a big play or a stop, they do. The Steelers don't have to worry about things like clock management or their nickelback, and they can survive injuries here and there. The Browns do.

Those things give the Steelers a confidence that anytime they step on the field with the Browns, they will win. There is no doubt in there mind they will. The Browns have closed the talent gap significantly but still do not have the impact players, especially on defense, to have that peace of mind. They know they have to play close to perfect to even have a chance to win.

Another day, another field goal. What are your thoughts on Romeo Crennell as a coach? How much do you hold him accountable for the 0-2 start?


Dustin Haley: About as much as I hold Braylon Edwards and DA accountable. I’m a RAC supporter, and I’m not quiet about it. I feel he has done wonders for this team. We can talk about field goals, formations, and clock management all day; it’s the intangibles that make great coaching.

Things like cohesiveness, player progression, respect, and ability to attract talent, just to name a few. You can’t build a football team overnight; we've seen the team come together in year two, and he had a great season in year three.

He can have a slow start, even a rough season, but calling for his job now will set us back four years


Scott Miles: Oh boy, where to begin. I'm not usually one to pile on a coach because a lot of what goes on out on the field is out of his hands i.e. dropped passes (Braylon, cough, cough). BUT when you run the world's worst two-minute drill, continue to commit dumb penalties, and NEVER take a chance in a game...I mean, my God, why are you getting a paycheck?  I got a text from my old boss after the FG. "Mr. By the Book does it again" it read. I wonder if Romeo realizes the book he should be reading is "Coaching for Dummies", not "Coaching BY Dummies".

David Nethers:  Starting to loose patience. Its easy to coach from an easy chair, but I hold him largely responsible for the loss to the Steelers. Field goals like those remind me of the Tim Couch days when they would have him throw a 3 yard pass on 3rd and 8. Whats the point. Getting your team close enough that a late touchdown would win it for you seems OK, IF YOU ARE GOING TO GIVE YOUR TEAM THE TIME TO DO IT. When you call all of your timeouts before the 2 minute time out that doesn'tgive them an opportunity. You might as well have gone for the touchdown. It just seems ludicrous the way the Steelers game was coached... But here I am writing for the Bleacher report and not somewhere calling Xs and Os so what do I know.

Jeff Smirnoff: He lost me last week.

I like the guy, he is a good man, but he is NOT an NFL head coach. I don't care what the final record is at the end of the year, Randy Lerner needs to get out his checkbook, go down to NC and ask Bill Cowher how much fat cash it will take to come to Lake Erie.

Derek Anderson had another subpar game. The offense has scored 16 points in two games. What do you attribute it to? How concerned are you about his play and the effect of the offense?


Dustin Haley: I’ve also been a vocal D.A. supporter, but I realize that Brady is the future. Honestly, I have not liked anything about DA this season. I blame him for the poor clock management as much as I do Romeo.

If anyone looked confused during the two-minute offense, it was he. You can blame coaching, but IMO, in the NFL, you should already know what to do, and Quinn would have.

Bruce Drennan predicted that if Derek had a bad game against Pittsburgh, he would start against Baltimore, obviously that’s not going to happen. I began the season backing DA. If he has a bad game in Baltimore, I’ll be chanting “Brady! Brady!”


Scott Miles: I can't completely fault DA, because when you're star wideoutis clearly not at 100 percent and can't catch a cold, any quarterback is going to suffer. Then you factor in Stallworthand Jurevicius being out, not to mention when your second-best target in Kellen Winslow is ON THE BENCH for a lot of that final drive (Romeo...).

And let's be honest, Brady Quinn's not going to perform any better against that defense and in those conditions, so just quell that talk right now. My biggest qualm with DA is that INT right before halftime, which everyone I was watching the game with predicted would happen.

In that situation, you have to be 900 percent sure the receiver is open, because the defense is all packed into the end zone—you CANNOT turn it over. And he did. So yes, there are concerns and the offense will likely struggle again this week against a still-tough Baltimore D.

But if guys start getting healthy, and if DA can cut back the mistakes, the offense will be all right.

David Nethers:  Derek Anderson seems out of sync withthe offense, or maybe its the offense out of sync with him. I thought of using the wind at first as my best excuse for his sub-par play, but the wind was the same for both teams on Saturday. We'll see over the coming weeks whether or not Derek is the real deal or if he was a one hit wonder. can anyone say Kelly Holcomb.

Jeff Smirnoff: I attribute the 16 points in two games to Braylon Edwards' stupidity, Donte' Stallworth's fragility, and Derek Anderson's regression. Edwards' shoeless stunt has cost the Browns offense, and himself, any and all cohesiveness. Throw in Stallworth's always-iffy health, and that has thrust Syndric Steptoe and Steve Sanders into duty.

Add that to the fact that DA continues to come up small in games versus good opponents and it's a lethal combination. The Ravens are a good-but-aging defense and the Bungals' D is atrocious. If we don't see two weeks of "Good DA," check that, "Great DA," I am officially declaring myself a part of "The Golden Boy" Bandwagon.

The Browns were 3-5 on the road last year and head to Baltimore to try and right the ship versus the Ravens. What are the keys to the game to prevent a dreaded 0-3 start?


Dustin Haley: Stop the run. They had 229 rushing yards against Cincy. Get after Flacco. Why in the world Baltimore will not giveTroy Smith a chance is beyond me, but I regress. Flacco is a young QB, obviously, who had a decent game against Cincinnati, but I think initially he won’t be able to handle in his face pressure.

We definitely do not want to keep him from scramble on us while we’re stuck in deep coverage. Spy him on passing downs. If we attack this offense, and actually manage to score points, say 17, we will win the game.


Scott Miles: 1. Pressure Joe Flacco. The defense was much improved last week, but will have to play better this week.

2. Put together more than two good scoring drives. We've seen some glimpses of what the offense can do. Against Baltimore, you probably can't—or need—to score 27 points, but you need to pick up some first downs, win the field-position battle, and put some pressure on their defense.

3. Get Jerome Harrison more touches. I'm a little too young to have clear memories of Eric Metcalf, but isn't Harrison pretty much a Metcalf clone? Or at least another Jamel White, who had some pretty good years for us surrounded by an inferior cast? I'd love to see more of what Harrison can do.

4. Romeo needs to take a few chances in this game. Hey, didn't I write that last week???

David Nethers:  Show up. The Browns should control this game defensively but the Ravens defense is good against the run. That doesn't mean the Browns shouldn't keep trying to pound the ball. That Ravens defense is going to be rested up after the unexpected bye week. But keeping the ball on the ground forces the Ravens to respect the run, and that opens up the pass.

My Keys are:

1.  Good Blocking, offensive line needs to do their job protecting the qb and opening holes for Jamal

2.  Don't drop passes. Come on Braylon, even for a Michigan guy we know you're not that bad

3.  Pressure Joe Flacco better than they did Tony Romo. He's 1-0 but against the Bungles.

For what its worth, I interviewed Democratic Senator Joe Biden at the Pro Football Hall of Fame Thursday and asked him Browns or Ravens.  He says "Browns"

Jeff Smirnoff: Stop the run on defense. Generate SOMETHING on offense. I don't see the Ravens trying to "Flaccous to death," despite our thin secondary.

They ran the ball and out-muscled the Bungals in their Week One victory. Robaire Smith is out, our LBs stink, and they don't have depth at receiver. I expect a lot of Willis McGahee, Ray Rice, and Le'Ron McClain all game long.

That being said, I expect an aerial assault from the Browns' offense, followed by a heavy does of Jamal Lewis if they get a lead. Chris McAlister, Samari Rolle, and Ed Reed are all hurt, and if the Browns don't attempt to exploit that they are stupid.

They need a big day from the O-line and some of the young WRs to step up.