Adkins: The Tough Questions

OBR's Lane Adkins responds to fans' concerns following last Sunday's loss.

Below are a compiled list of questions from OBR insiders and answers from Lane Adkins in OBR's exclusive Ask the Insiders forum.

Please note all copy [sic]'d.


Holmgren's take?

brownsrthebest04: man...... what a couple of weeks can do to the fan base...from beating the saints and patriots in dominating fashion and losing to the jets and jags in browns fashion...breakdown at the end of the game...while not all being pinned on Mangini and Co but really there is a bunch of responsibility from the coaches especially on offense, where is the adjustments???? Anyway has Holmgren come close to telling Mangini to lose Daboll or lose his job? if he hasnt is it coming?

Adkins' Answer: Hasn't happened.

The problem for this offensive staff is being able to execute at the highest level to achieve. The lack of that difference making talent doesn't provide much room for error.

At the start of the games, the offense does appear to have a plan, but this tends to diminish as the defense gains a feel for what is the Browns are doing.

The major obstacle for this team comes in the way of overall talent at the skill positions. The lack of viable options at WR creates such an obstacle to overcome.

On Sunday, due to the type of defense Jacksonville runs, much like the Falcons, the offensive line struggled. It only hurt the opportunities when the TE had to help in the blocking scheme, especially as the center to right-side was terrible on the interior.



DawgBacker26: Why does this team refuse to go for the juggular? All the turnovers & great field position & this team reverts back to their first 5 games fashion & play not to lose rather than playing to win.

What will be their excuse? I mean hell, you got a guy behind center that throws it well & makes plays, why did Mo Carthon, I mean Daboll, continue going with the run/run/pass offense with great field position?

This is what has been the difference between a 3-7 & 7-3 record & it is pretty disheartening!

Adkins' Answer: Today I can say, the Browns struggled with the aggressiveness of the Jaguars pressure in the second half and again, the Browns WR's gained minimal separation.

Throughout all my years, I have never witnessed a more mediocre group of WR's at one time.

The play-calling wasn't the issue if you want to see the team aggressive. Daboll put the ball in McCoy's hands for the most part, the execution overall struggled.


Follow up about Colt

tochigi: Lane, you stated...."The play-calling wasn't the issue if you want to see the team aggressive. Daboll put the ball in McCoy's hands for the most part, the execution overall struggled."

Are you saying this was on McCoy and he had his proverbial..."ya gotta expect a bad game and that he will struggle"?  Or are you being polite and not calling out the WR's whom we all agree were pretty bad.

So specifically, how do you grade McCoy on this game?

Adkins' Answer: I don't see it as McCoy playing poorly. I honestly feel that the young man has done well, especially when looking at the overall talent at his disposal.

Teams scheme to stop the run and force the Browns QB to beat them. For the most part, McCoy has played surprisingly well, especially when you evaluate and see the trend.

The WR's within this roster provide little and the overall success does suffer due to this lack of quality. There is little choice but for this organization to seek an upgrade at the position during the off-season.

When TE's are the best option in the passing game and multiple WR's contribute on a consistent basis, there is going to be trouble scheming an effective plan to win on Sunday.

This team needs viable options on the offensive side of the ball. Hillis cannot carry this team, McCoy doesn't have the pro-game experience and viable options to be that 'guy' yet either.


Colt throwing off back foot?

cpross: when Colt dials up a +30 yard deep route - is he throwing off of his back foot too often?  I know his arm strength has been questioned - b ut is this motion to my novice eye seems incorrect?  Thoughts?

Secondly - can you grade Colt out overall today?

Lastly - is it an ankle issue or hamstring?

Adkins' Answer: Yes, he has often thrown off his back foot which limits drive through the ball.

It's an ankle, he is in a boot presently.

McCoy held onto the ball today and the pressure did collapse around him. The WR's did absolutely nothing to help him or this offense today. When Watson departed, the passing game was in dire straits to a point.

What I am hearing as a positive is that Evan Moore is going to play more of a role in the weeks to come.


Where was Womack and did it hurt the running game?

tochigi: Without the options that Cribbs brings, we were even more dependent on Hillis. Obviously Jags did a good job keying on him. Where was Womack?  Seems his absence has huge effect on the line play.

So the questions are:

1. Womack. Why didn't he play and do you think his absence hurt the over all line play?

2. How do you grade the play of Lavuao ? Did he play most of the snaps?

3. Do you agree the OL line play was not up to the standard of what it did vs Saints, Pats, and Jets.

4. I would say we lost the game because our OL could not handle their patched up D Line. Agree?

Adkins' Answer: 1. Womack has been battling injury and missed the reps this week. Yes, he is often overlooked, but has done a solid job for this team.

2. Lauvao performance was average at best. The Jaguars dialed up the pressure and aggressiveness in the second half of the game and the offensive line overall struggled. The right-side of the line was pushed around and the left-side was inconsistent as well.

3.  Absolutely

4. Played a major role in the efficiency of the offense, but I can revert back to the game..............Browns up by 3 and give up a 75 yard hash screen to a RB, this should never occur and multiple missed assignments and tackles were terrible.


Do you have an explanation for Browns getting punked.....

Walldog: ....on both lines of scrimmage yesterday?? This was the most disturbing aspect of the game for me.It appeared both

OL and defensive front 7 got thoroughly manhandled. Thanks in advance for your thoughts.

Adkins' Answer: I've reviewed the game numerous time and come to one conclusion.

The Browns offensive line was out-worked, out-muscled and out-numbered.

The right-side was poor. John St. Clair and rookie Shawn Lauvao are a downgrade in reality to Floyd Womack and Billy Yates, by a comfortable margin.

What surprised me most was what transpired on the left-side and center.

Joe Thomas has some trouble with the speed rush, he and Eric Steinbach were beaten often by stunts and Alex Mack was on the ground more in this game that I have viewed with him for quite some time.

The Jaguars were relentless. They were aggressive and sent players in numbers at the offensive line -- one to stop Hillis and prevent McCoy from getting comfortable in the pocket.

The Browns best weapoin outside of Hillis, the TE position often had to block.

This was simply a poor performance by what is the strength of this team -- until the right-side makeover and left-side mediocre performance.


Is the good news that losses like this will rid us of Mandabol?

NJBrownsfan: biggrinThe totally predictable and high school play calling in the second half of games is driving all of us crazy!  The silver lining I see is that it gives the offensive minded Holmgren the reason to bring in Gruden or someone similar to rid us of Crennel/Carthon II.  Mangini just stands there emotionless with that blank look on his face.  His job is slipping away and he does nothing.  What are the odds he's done at years end?

Adkins Answer: If this team executes, Daboll and Mangini would be getting plenty of praise this evening.

If you can't stop the aggressiveness of the defense, an offense such as the Browns struggle.

This itself was a primary reason why the Browns did close to nothing with the turnovers and field position.

Don't lay the loss on the OC, those guys on the playing field didn't get it done.


Talk about a choke job by the coaches

rutger: Ok, I slept on it, but that was still a total choke job by our coaching staff on offense and lead by Daboll.  If a couple of good games out of two seasons meant anything, Anderson would still be completing 49% of his passes and throwing int's here instead of in Arizona.

The very last thing I expected by a Mangini coached team was a let down by the players, let along him and his offensive staff?  But that's sure what it looked like happened out there as well as on the OL.

What happened?  Was it just poorly schemed blocking by Daboll and his staff or was it the players themselves (Steinbach was getting eaten alive out there), or more likely a combo of both the players and Daboll?

How do you plan, coach and scheme an entire game to play for the FG on offense?  Two turnovers inside their 30 and instead of even attempting to take it to the end zone on 1st down, you run it on 1st and 2nd?  A very short 2nd and 1 and you run it then too instead of  taking it long?  What is Evan Moore supposed to be a surprise weapon we only bring out for one series in the 1st and then again in the 4th quarters?    There was nothing aggressive about any of those calls was there?

If that's not sticking your tail between your butt cheeks and playing for a tie an entire game what is?

Those two pass attempts from inside our 5 last week had to have come from up-stairs, because this staff doesn't have the balls to call them in the 1st quarter, let alone the 5th.

Adkins' Answer: WOW!

Let's reply to this in reverse order.

The play calls on the pass attempts came from the sideline. Daboll made the calls -- believe it or not.

This team was eaten alive at the point of attack. The offensive line did not play well, the Jacksonville defense did what the Atlanta Falcons did -- load the box, attack the gaps with overload and make Hillis the priority. The rush beat the Cleveland lineman all day, pressuring the rookie QB, there was little room for him to gain a comfort zone.

When teams can control the point of attack and can manage the WR's one on one, it leaves little room for overall consistent success.

The TE's have been the weapon of choice outside of Hillis this season. In this game, the Jaguars played some smart zone to sit on the TE's.

It's too easy to place the blame on Daboll.

The offensive line played poorly. The WR's scare nobody. The defense took the greatest weapon away.

It's obvious the Browns have little faith in what the actual WR's can provide, but that is what they take to the battle and live with this season. There is little doubt they will attempt to land a legitimate WR this off-season, the perceived development of the youth at the position has fizzled.


Question on previous posts re: O.C. and playcalling

chee68: Hey Lane et al (insiders)....

appreciate all your in depth analysis.   I realize i do not know the X's and O's as well as some, but i can't get over the simple fact that our play calling after at least 3-4 of those turnovers was ULTRA-CONSERVATIVE.    And to boot..........3 of those times we were in Jax territory already.

I don't agree that the O.C. doesn't deserve blame.   we weren't ultra-conservative over the past few games, so WHAT GIVES (yesterday).............   can't blame Phil for 50+ yard FGs  (although he should have made 1 of 2)

You get the ball on turnovers like Cleveland did yesterday.............AND YOU PUT A TEAM AWAY.   you don't run the ball up the middle everytime with wasn't working ALL day.

Is anyone in the media asking Mangini et al about this????  ( i haven't seen any of the media transcripts yet)

Adkins' Answer: I'll put it this way...............

The difference in run to pass was in double-digits, favoring the pass.

The immediate realization is, since the ball was not being worked down-field, the OC didn't try.

This is simply not the case.

I had an opportunity to gain a perspective of this game other than what a TV feed provides.

The WR's were the first look on 16 snaps. How many passes did the WR's haul in on Sunday?

Why didn't the ball get into the hands of the WR's? It's two-fold, they created little separation or the pass rush simply engulfed the rookie QB.

What has been the favorite target of the QB's overall and especially McCoy, the TE's were taken away from the scheme and/or had to help in max-protect and timing was off as they struggled to get off the point and find the soft spots in coverage.

Where I believe the coaching staff erred was in the aspect of showing something vertical for the defense to at least think about and the non-utilization of Evan Moore and Carlton Mitchell.

The run game did not fare well in the second half especially, but as been the norm, they refused to give up on the run. The Jaguars ability to beat the gaps stone-walled any reasonable expectation of success for this team to run the football.

I am of the belief the Browns should have spread the field earlier and forced the Jaguars to at least get out of the box and come off the man press that simply kept Massaquoi, Robiskie and Stuckey from getting into routes in a timely manner.

If the belief is the offensive line was man-handled, the WR's were bodied all afternoon. This inability to step-up and be as physical off the point as this group was.............was simply sickening.

This game was lost in the trenches offensively, and defensively the lack of playing fundamental football at a critical time was disheartening.

So, Daboll could have done some things differently, but I do not see his play-calling as the reason this team was defeated on Sunday.

This game had the same look as the loss to the Atlanta Falcons earlier in the season in nearly every facet of the game.

This offensive line isn't built to handle the 4-3 gap play that again was their undoing Sunday.

As for in-game adjustments on the offensive side of the ball, I do agree this team must improve in this area, but and this is a huge issue -- the difference-making talent base makes this a very difficult proposition for this team. There is little room for error and this coaching staff does not have the trust in some players/positions to take chances or create opportunities that a confident staff may make.


OK, Lane

GregTNG: My friend, you have no bigger fan than me... But I'm callin' you out.. tongue

You said-

"The difference in run to pass was in double-digits, favoring the pass."


"So, Daboll could have done some things differently, but I do not see his play-calling as the reason this team was defeated on Sunday."

I'm of the belief that those numbers are skewed by the first half... On the drives following the turnovers in particular, and the second half overall, I suspect (but didn't count) that the number of runs vs passes were flipped...

Now, it was hard watching Colt hold onto the ball too long, likely because of the poor WR play as you've noted. But it was also very frustrating watching Hillis up the middle on first down, then on second down, then calling the obvious 3rd and long pass play with Jax pinning their ears back... That is what had me screaming obscenities at the tv..  If Colt was too injured to effectively run the passing game, then it's on Mangini/Daboll to get him out of there and get Wallace in.. But to keep pounding our square peg into that round hole was maddening.

There was virtually no effort to move the pocket... beyond the first quarter, I don't recall a swing pass to Hillis..  I think we called one screen that was blown up but never went back to it... IMO, that's on Daboll and while the players have to execute, it's also up to the OC to make the necessary adjustments to put them into a position to succeed...

You know I love ya, Lane (in that manly sorta way) but I think you're off on this one... IMO, the failure of the offense was primarily on Daboll with an assist to St. Clair, McCoy and the poor WR play...

Adkins' Answer: I see it in reverse order.

Offensive line-play was inadequate overall, WR proficiency is non-existent, rookie QB held onto the ball too long, and then the OC not making some gutsy calls and adjustments for the sake of changing up anything/something.

The OC doesn't get a free pass here, but there were plenty of variables playing into the equation. I can say with certainty, this OC is scared ******** when it comes to the right-side of this line and WR talent.

His conservative nature, or the impression of this being his make-up is skewed due to those type issues that have continued to plague this offense. Once the pressure was dialed-up, rather than enabling McCoy to potentially take that next step in this progression, the staff went safe due to fear of giving up a big, game-changing type play.

I wouldn't call it not playing to win necessarily, but more in line of not trusting those they field to make up the player roster.

The most maddening though was, the consistent belief the run game would suddenly come to life. This offense has grown too accustomed to getting from point A to point B due to the rushing attack.

This is a staff philosophical issue, not solely an OC issue.

An issue with this staff is confidence, trust in the players, the scheme. When what they lay their hat on fails, any resemblant of a professional offense is out the window.

This itself is due to the before-mentioned as well as overall talent.

Make no mistake, Daboll, etc played a role in this debacle, but the inability again to execute the simplest of plays was the recipe for disaster.

I am as miffed and questioning of the offensive scheme as anyone, but I have a little appreciation of what Daboll is attempting to accomplish after gaining some additional perspective that cannot be gained by a television feed.

Still, the name of the game is all about winning and this organization has yet again failed.

There are no moral victories in the NFL, as the last month has shown how well this team can play when executing and how quickly they can give it away when they don't or fail to utilize opportunities.

It's really a fine line as to how all is perceived.


Power running game only hurting us?

lsluggers: I love the power running game we have with Hillis, but is the fact that we have no other back to put in for a change of pace killing us since the defense does not have to worry or even prepare for a change of pace?

It looks like even when we do bring a new back into camp, he fits the same mold of a power back.

Adkins' Answer: This specific aspect doesn't help this situation and the HC did speak about having two capable RB's to show a different look to the defense.


Different look

redright: Please flesh out.  I don't understand how Mangini wants  a different style RB when he has added two that closely resemble Hillis.  What is  Mangini looking for and how deeply into his search?

Adkins' Answer: He talked going back to camp about having two different types in the backfield, thus is why Harrison was a great disappointment.

Bell was acquired to provide some insurance and somewhat same type of back as Hillis, due to injury concerns and Bell's experience.


Are the WR really that bad?

tochigi: They are after all NFL caliber WR's.  Are there different ways we could have utilized them to be more effective?

Adkins' Answer: This group (Massaquoi, Robiskie and Stuckey) were bodied off the spot throughout this game. If watching the contest you gained a sense the offensive line was man-handled, the WR's went down without a fight.

The lack of talent, trust and experience simply deflated this WR corps on Sunday.

The Jags were physical with the receivers, knocking off routes, disrupting the timing terribly. The Browns WR's did not handle this well, and it was something the Jacksonville defense hadn't shown on tape.

The Browns, a team that has surprised the opposition in different ways in the 2010 season had the same element used on them.

If anything this off-season, this front office must obtain true difference makers at the WR position, as well on the right-side of the offensive line.


2010 and beyond

bds2222: I keep hearing/reading that Mangini's job is in danger.  I personally feel like the team has been competitive enough to keep Mangini safe for another year.  Even if we only win one or two more games.  I don't know what people expected from this team this year.  Think back to last year when a first down was cause for celebration.  There's only so much that can be done over the course of a year.  I feel like we've made excellent strides.  I feel like we MIGHT have a solid foundation to build on for the future.

What is the feeling within the organization?  Is Mangini really in trouble?  Are the coaches and front office encouraged by the improvement this team has made?

It seems to me like there's been a lot of over-reaction to the past two losses.  I understand to some extent given the manner in which those games were lost, but still.......a little perspective never hurt anyone.

Adkins' Answer: At the present, the turf is neutral, as it should be.

Despite the improvement, this team has been in position to win games in the fourth quarter and failed.

While the lack of overall talent hampers this team, the fact remains the team has been good enough to lead in the fourth quarter.

Coaching plays a major role here and no free passes should be given.

The ultimate question will be, was the staff one that letdown the team on game-day leading to the disappointing losses, or did this staff get everything they could have from the player roster.

Right now, I am of the impression this is the evaluation taking place, with the hierarchy being of the first impression that the staff has done a reasonable job.

We'll see, there is plenty of football to be played.

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