The Offensive Bottom Line

You want the truth? Can you handle it? OBR's Lane Adkins presents the truth on why the Browns are struggling on offense.

With no agenda to play out. There are no axes to grind. Just simple beliefs of the game of football, based on history, experience and common football sense.

The truth and nothing but the truth.

—Only a handful of teams can be successful while being penalized as much as the Cleveland Browns. The Cleveland Browns are not one of them.

—Turnovers historically are a barometer as to the success of a team over a specific duration of time. In this case, two games in and the Browns negative turnover ratio has hampered any positives coming from their infant-type offensive scheme and execution.

—This Browns team lacks sufficient talent, especially at the skill positions which enable big-time opportunities on any given Sunday in the NFL. While the lunch-pail type player is endeared by the fans, that special talent, that playmaker is a game changer this Browns team sorely lacks.

—It's true, one plus one does equal two. But, on the football field the customary beliefs that everything should happen for a reason does not always come to fruition. Having a feel for the game, going against the norm or the textbook can be the fine-line difference between success and failure. The lack of emotion on game day is troubling.

—Many believe the game is won in the trenches. For a team such as the Browns, any success the team tasted a season ago was enabled by the linemen. Two weeks into a new season, this strength of the unit has become a mediocre group, playing nearly to the level of the miscue ridden skill players at running back and quarterback. And we are not even mentioning the lack of imagination, vision and feel for the game coming from the offensive coordinator.

—Offensively, this Browns offense is geared to be a physical-type unit, depending on the run and supplementing this aspect with the pass. Being geared to such, why not commit to running the football? Pounding running back Peyton Hillis between the tackles has proven to be successful in the limited opportunities provided. A perfectly executed offensive play will be successful more often than a defense can stop the play without positive yardage. Due to his fumbling issues and inability to gain any yardage after contact, Jerome Harrison has to prove he can be an every-down running back.

—Without sufficient speed and quickness on the playing field, second year RB James Davis deserves a look. What is the worst that could happen, a fumble? Been there, done that,

—Thus far in the 2010 season, the Browns have been successful getting the ball into the hands of the tight ends. Knowing this aspect of the offensive scheme has been successful, why not exploit this positive until the opposing defense focuses on stopping the progress, rather than the Browns themselves working away from their successes.

Making the defense commit a safety or cornerback, an additional opportunity presents itself, while potentially prohibiting the defense from simply loading the box, pressuring the quarterback, stopping the run, while pressing the youthful WR's the Browns offer. With the amount of two tight end sets the Browns run, this could be a viable option to relieve the pressure coming from the opposition, as well as the pressure to make a play when the offense is struggling.

—Interestingly, as the Browns have attempted to evolve from the early 1970s era passing offense from a season ago, they are missing a key component to the running game success from a season ago. Attempting to open-up the offense, tight ends Ben Watson and Evan Moore have garnered the vast majority of playing time, leaving veteran Robert Royal often on the sideline. What is the significance? Royal is a very good blocker, was instrumental in the running game surge late in the 2009 season, an aspect of the 2010 Browns that has been lost.

—Nearly every team in the league has a distinctive offensive philosophy, the Browns have yet to find their identity. Obviously, this offense unit and scheme  is again in its infancy stage, do one aspect of the game well and build upon this success. At the present time, the successful execution rate has been below average.

—The Wildcat, the Cyclone, the Mistake. Why offensive coordinator Brian Daboll basically ignored this facet of the offensive scheme is unheard of. Additionally, when the Browns did line-up in such packages, the play-call was very predictable and both, the Buccaneers and Chiefs defended the speciality look with ease.

—While the majority of focus along the offensive line has been pointed toward Floyd Womack and John St. Clair on the right-side of the line. There is an interesting and potentially troublesome pattern emerging, as Joe Thomas and Eric Steinbach have had difficulties to start the season in run and pass blocking assignments. Neither is gaining the push often realized in the past, and quite often both can be viewed fending off a lineman that has gained leverage.

—The NFL is a quarterback driven league. Mediocrity at the position rarely results in a favorable finish to the season, into the playoffs and ultimately a Super Bowl championship. The Browns history with quarterback's since their return in 1999 has been as poor as any in the game and the immediate future remains questionable at best.

—At the professional level, an accurate quarterback is essential for legitimate and long-term success in the passing game. This in itself is another reason why this Browns team has struggled early in the season, as the quarterback's have missed on potentially game-changing opportunities, due to inaccuracy.

—How often does a team place such an importance in a 35-year old player? In the case of the Browns, Jake Delhomme may be old for a QB in this age, but he is obviously the key component on the offensive side of the ball. Prior to a key interception and subsequent ankle injury, Delhomme played well and got the team involved. Following the mishap and injury, Delhomme looked every bit as the player that lost his job in Carolina. As Jake goes, the Browns offense follows, quite a scary proposition knowing his recent history.

—Team president Mike Holmgren, a known offensive and quarterback guru turned the reigns of the team over to Delhomme, while trading for Seneca Wallace, a favorite of Holmgren while in Seattle. It's early in the season and the team is struggling and the quarterback's have made significant mistakes which have led to two losses. Decisions Holmgren made in his first offseason as the head of the organization could ultimately be detrimental to the develop of a contending roster for another year.

—As the offense struggles and the losses mount, not only should head coach Eric Mangini and offensive coordinator be looked at as culprits, Holmgren and general manager Tom Heckert need to be held accountable as well. Let's not be quick to forget Holmgren retained Mangini and enabled the head coach to keep his offensive coordinator with his base offense scheme. Holmgren does not deserve a free pass, nor does Tom Heckert, the general manager that his responsible for the 53-player roster.

—Puzzling could be a description uttered when the Browns failed to add an established type wide receiver to the mix during the offseason. This specific position, viewed as a weakness remains a mystery two-weeks into the season. Production has been limited, and as viewed in training camp practice sessions and in preseason games, the wide receivers on this roster have a difficult time beating press coverage and have been unable to gain separation on a consistent basis. Interestingly, two players that did display the promise of speed, quickness and separation ability, Carlton Mitchell, a raw rookie has been inactive and Johnathan Haggerty, another rookie is on injured reserve. How do experienced football minds such as Holmgren, Heckert and Mangini hold tight without addressing the position, pinning hopes on two second year receivers of limited experience and productivity.

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