Adkins: The Tough Questions

OBR's Lane Adkins offers responses to fans' concerns following last Sunday's one-point win over hapless Carolina.

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.



Permes: Time again we call out Daboll for his play calling which some counter by saying he lacks the talent to execute what he'd like to do and/or he uses schemes and plays that try to hide our weaknesses, eg WR, OL.

Then some jump on Mangini for not replacing Daboll or having more direct control of the offensive.

But, what about the coaches under Daboll, specifically McDonald for the WRs and Warhop (I had to look him up) for the OL?  It seems to me that the play of the WRs and the OL has to be hung primarily on McDonald and Warhop even after you take in account talent issue.

My questions are:

Who selected these guys?  Mangini or Daboll?

Would it make ANY sense to replace one or both of them and keep Daboll?

Do Daboll and Mangini feel these guys are doing their job (again given the talent issue)?  If not, why haven't they been replaced?

Even if our OL talent is weak, shouldn't some/most of the blame be put on Warhop for the inability of the OL to hold up against a 4-3?

Adkins' Answer: 1. Mangini

2. Possibly, as Daboll isn't the only issue as to why the offense struggles.

3. Have heard nothing specifically regarding issues with the coaching staff internally.

4. Yes, and the players are accountable as well. Those on the line noted they didn't play well and missed assignments.


After Further Review

brownsouth: The largest percentage of reponses on this page point to one thing...poor coaching. It jumps out at you like a pop up add! Poor tackling, lack of defensive backfield communication, lack of cohesiveness in the offensive line, key personnel not used on key plays(ie: Vickers). The defense appears to have gone through a three week meltdown while the offense remains rigid and stagnant, unable to adjust.  How many of you(Insiders) really think this coaching staff has any kind of future here?

Adkins' Answer: There is plenty of football to be played this season.................but right now, I am not feeling it.


Holmgren Thinking?

ORANGEnBROWN: As it stands today what is your opinion on what Holmgren is feeling for the future of the Browns beyond this season? Do you feel he philosophically agrees and can live with how Mangini chooses to run the offense? Is he leaning towards keeping Mangini or a different direction? I realize that you dont know for sure but what is the feeling inside the building?

Adkins' Answer: There really isn't much to be noted at this time. The organization is truly evaluating the roster, coaches and front office and they are looking at the entire body of work and not specifics of yet.

I don't see how an offensive type mind such as Mike Holmgren can be comfortable watching this offense week-in and week-out, but on the other-hand, Holmgren would be one to note that the overall talent has to improve.


10 TDs, 29 INTs... and a Free Pass From Mangini?

brownwarrior: That's right: In his last 19 games dating to the playoff game in 2008, Jake Delhomme has thrown 10 TDs and 29 INTs. That's Ryan Leaf bad.

Yet it seems like he's getting some special diplomatic status from our staff and brass, like he's earned a spot at the top of our (or any) depth chart. Mangini hinted four weeks ago that the job was still Jake's if and when he was healthy. Now he talks about how Jake sees things Colt can't.

Uh... like the other team's jersey, followed by a compulsion to throw to it? In addition to the two picks, he also tried to throw another falling down pass directly to the other team, but the DL dropped it. He's bad. Old fashioned bad.

What's the what with Delhomme in Cleveland? It's not like he has years of distinguished service for the Browns. He was a peculiar signing that looks more peculiar every day, but it's almost like Mangini looks at Delhomme and sees Manning. It's weird, like a Twilight Zone ep.

Adkins' Answer: It's only about leadership and getting the team in position to grow and win. The veteran was brought here to provide that and that is the opportunity he has been given.

Delhomme's play in the second half Sunday in Cleveland was borderline comical -- he played poorly, coming off a first half that he played fairly well.

He continues to throw the ball into coverage and makes poor decisions. I can't see Mangini sticking with him if we see the same issues on Sunday against the Dolphins.

One game can be attributed to rustiness, two cannot and should not be.

In one light, it is good that the Browns brought in an FA player and are providing the opportunity expressed upon the signing, it's good for future signings, seeing the organization is being as straight-up with the talent as they can be.

But, there comes a time when such play is a detriment, and Sunday we'll know if Delhomme lines to start another day or he's relegated to back-up duty.

And, that could be an interesting development as the organization is seriously looking at McCoy's health in the final weeks of the season.


Question About the Pick Six

daddywags: As I saw the play, MoMass ran into the CB and came off him, which left him open momentarily.  However, he just stood there and waited for the ball to get to him when it was thrown rather than breaking back toward the ball keeping the CB behind him.  The CB (predictably) moved up to the ball and got in front of Massaquoi for the interception.

Am I way off or was part of that (at least) on Massaquoi sitting and waiting for the ball?

Adkins' Answer: Receivers are coached to come back to the ball, basically powering off their back foot on the cut.

Massaquoi did not, but the play should have been an easy read for the veteran Delhomme.

The pass should have never been thrown.

This is part of the fundamental issue with the WR's on this roster.


Follow Up on Pick Six and WRs

idrthrbncleve: You said "Receivers are coached to come back to the ball."

I noticed on both int's that the receiver did not.  Had they done so, either there would have been a catch or possibly an interference call.  Are our receivers coached that way?  Adequately?  This has happened on multiple occasions.  Are they really that bad?  I remember when we used to blame Robo's dad for our lack of WR production, what about this coach?  Who is it?  Is it really enough to say we have no "quality" WRs when JD seems to be able to get them in the game more than anyone and they seem, all of a sudden to get open?

Adkins' Answer: Yes, they are coached that way, from the beginning levels throughout college and into the pro game. We viewed this specifically in camp, which is why I question the overall skill-set and/or focus coming from some within this group.

I don't believe the group of WR's are as bad as they have looked. The lack of productivity comes from the changes at QB, which has left this offense and WR's specifically a true feel between the two positions. Though, this group needs plenty of work, as the inconsistency and ability to play hand-games off the line are terrible.

George McDonald is the WR coach. Never was a WR coach at the professional level, never has developed true NFL caliber WR talent.

Delhomme's experience is key here. He looks to the WR's and attempts to get them into position to make a play -- whether the decision was good or not, he is making the tosses.

I wouldn't say the WR's were gaining great separation, but they did take advantage of the softer Carolina soft zone and Delhomme knew what the Panthers defense did and does.


Is There ANY Chance Mangini Will Start Wallace?

jeffopolka: Before the game, I was hoping Wallace would get the start over Delhomme.  That wasn't going to happen, and I was upset at the play from the veteran.  I felt and feel that Wallace gives us the "better chance to win", which is apparently Mangini's QB mantra.  He has better scrambling ability and is less likely to turn the ball over.  But is Mangini stuck on Delhomme, or is there hope he may go with Wallace?

Adkins' Answer: The manner which Delhomme didn't protect the ball has to be questioned. But, Delhomme does provide a different look for this offense- as the WR's being incorporated.

Unless Delhomme bombs which is definitely possible. Or injured, which wouldn't be a surprise, I don't see a move being made.

When healthy, I am of the impression McCoy would get the first look.


In Defense of Mangini

brownsouth: As far as bringing in "funky" personality types just for the sake of a potential talent upgrade. The track record of these moves doesn't look very pretty. Teams are tanking and a few coaching jobs are on the line because of it(read: Bungles, Vikings, Cowboys, Titans, to name a few). You don't see Belichick or Sean Payton, or even the Packers putting up with the prima donnas and it hasn't held them back. I for one like the idea of not having a bench full of ego trips to deal with.  History shows you can win without all the distractions. Agree/disagree?????

Adkins' Answer: There are these types of personalities within every team roster, just not to the extent of a Randy Moss, Terrell Owens etc.

Most of the these types never reach the hype or notoriety within the media that those named have and likewise, teams for the most part can deal with the minor nuisances.

Belichick had Moss for a few years, and he has always been an issue, but not large enough of a distraction until this off-season/early season, which became too much for Belichick, but he found the opportunity to recoup more for the player than he dealt out to get him and the move was made.


Coaching Staff Halftime Adjustments

stankdawg: Do we have to watch these idiots coach.  Do they teach tackling, and as for delpuke he has the best quotes, "I did what I needed to do to win"..Are u kidding me!  he again almost gave a game away like the TB game.

Serious Lane, is Holmgren watching and seeing Mangini doesn't know how to win? He's no Belichick!

Carolina game was a joke!  Only difference with this game compared to Jax. missed fg!

Adkins' Answer: I can't tell you what the impression within is, as it's too early following the game.

Now, I do know with certainty, Mangini is none too happy with the fundmentals of the defense, the lack or cover responsibility again this past week and especially in the last Carolina drive.

Offensively, he is not happy with the lack of consistency along the offensive line and decision making coming from the QB.


Mack Opting for the Wrong Block

OPENUP: Slowed the game down to frame by frame and watched Mack.  He, for example, chose on the failed 4th and 1 to block no one.  Drove himself out of the play.  Womack and St Clair both got turned around into the play and the RB ran into the hole that the Panther D was filling from their left side.  On other occasions when Steinbach was needing help Mack chose a neutral stance and blocked air.  Was this just this game or is he part of the right side and left side problem by being indecisive or simply not recognizing who to block?

Adkins' Answer: This plays into my notes in a thread Sunday evening. The offensive line is not playing as one, far too many breakdowns in execution which ultimately begins with communication issues.

The past three weeks the number of breakdowns have increased, coincidently the play of the team has also been in question.


More O-Line

OPENUP: what is the cure for the O line being out of sync?  When the group as a whole react like their all on different pages what is that?

When the center takes himself out of the blocking scheme where does that come from?

Finally, based on your observations.  Is the 3rd round early enough to take a solid RT who can start?

Adkins' Answer: Communication is key and there has to be something behind the issue of missed assignments and slow recognition at times. While the right-side issues are legitimate, this itself does not excuse issues on the left-side, which has been increasing.

Some of the communication issues may be coming due to some confusion within the opposition, as well as having a rookie QB under center than may be a little slower or seeing things a little differently. As the season progresses, we are seeing the Browns have an issue at LG, as well as RG and RT.

If you find a starting quality RT in the third round, you better grab him.


Is There a Bounty for Turnovers for the DBs?

Buck67wild: Are the DB's getting a cash payment for turnovers? If not, how else can you explain the poor tackling, and constantly going for the strip in the open field? The MJ-D screen pass last week and the Goodson play this week were almost identical, and both a disgusting disregard of fundamental football.

Adkins' Answer: The fundamentals have been very poor of late, as you note.

I'm somewhat surprised this team has been as poor as they have been, not only in tackling, but the inability to close.


Special Teams Coverage Getting Weaker?

tochigi: I know that because of injuries we have lost some key special teamers. Result is the coverage is breaking down. Used to be that with any kickoff or punt, I never was anxious. I knew there would be, and there was such great coverage that runbacks against us were almost non existent

Of late that has changed. Can it be fixed as the newer guys learn the roles better, or without Costanzo are we doomed to mediocre coverage the rest of the year?

Adkins' Answer: I think one of the keys here is that Cribbs is no longer serving as the gunner on special teams. He and Adams were terrors last year, blowing up returns before they could even get started. With Adams recent injury, he was removed as well.


Jake, Colt and the WRs

tochigi: I always appreciate your quick and insightful answers. My next Q is about JD and why he could find and connect with the WR's.

I mean we have to give him credit for some skilful decision making. (Lets not talk about the other cardiac arrest inducing things that he also did in that last game).

I think Colt is the much better option (please can we have him back?)  as QB. But he didn't hit the WR's much.  Why is that?

1. Play calling by Daboll?

2. Colt is too short to see well enough?

3. Jake has a better arm? (no that can't be)

4. Jake has the experience to read the defense better while Colt's inexperience did not allow him to see what was there?

5. Panther's pass coverage is so loose the WR'S could get open (whereas Jag's DBs played all pro caliber last week??)

Adkins' Answer: Delhomme's experience plays greatly into this equation. He is not afraid to go to the WR's, whether coverage is tight or not. Though some of the decisions were not the best, he did connect at various times.

McCoy doesn't see the field as quickly, or clearly as the veteran Delhomme yet, and he doesn't take the chances a Delhomme will and has.

Many throws to the WR's were while the receiver had some cushion, many were in tighter coverage. It also helped that the Panthers CB's did not press the WR's and played soft zone often.

The play-calling wasn't an issue. As noted last week, the initial read called for the WR on 16 attempts, McCoy's read took him away from this specific. Again, the rookie sees the field a little differently and will gain additional confidence with experience.

McCoy needs passing lanes to be effective, or he has to be moving more in the pocket to generate his looks. A weel ago, the Jacksonville defense did an exception job in shooting gaps and taking away this aspect.


What Will It Take for Mangini to Start Seneca?

fletch416: it is pretty clear that Jake's skill set has completely diminished.  He can still throw a swing pass and anything over

the middle, but every single out route is a potential pick 6.  Secondly, he is standing fumble in the pocket.  I love the

guy, but c'mon man!

What will it take for Mangini to start Seneca?

When it is CLEAR to us, there has to be something else going on.

Adkins' Answer: I don't see Mangini puling Delhomme just yet. Outside of one-half in Tampa, Delhomme hasn't been healthy, until his start against the Panthers.

He hasn't practiced much with the first team and certainly hasn't played, the rust is there.

Now, is he performs in the same manner against the Dolphins, then the HC has to make a move.


Why the Sudden Trouble with the Rushing Offense and Rushing D?

tochigi: Can you give insight into two troubling areas that developed rather suddenly?

1. What happened to the rushing D? I thought the first drive of Panthers we were missing tackles etc. The drive for the panthers was ridiculously easy. Maybe its not such a sudden problem...we really had trouble with Maurice-Jones the week before. What has happened that the normally stout rush D has seemingly gotten quite soft.

2. It used to be said about Peyton Hillis that he almost never had a negative play. Against Panthers he ran very well, but as the game wore on, the negative plays began to occur....with the lowlight being the failed 4th down conversion attempt. Can you give insight as to why this is happening?

Adkins' Answer: The Browns rushing defense has never been considered a strength this season, though there had been improvement.

Missed tackles and wrong gap recognition/responsibility will make a solid player look foolish, when taken out of a play. What we are seeing is a combination of things creating negative efficiency from the run defense.

Missed tackles, being off balance against the offensive scheme and being out of position have been common occurring in the past weeks. The loss of Scott Fujita has hurt this defense, as he has quickly become a vocal leader and was very strong in recognizing and communicating the scheme.

The Panthers, like any team from here on out are going to attempt to pressure the Browns at the point and force the hand of the offense and QB. Teams are beating the Browns, not only to the gaps, but in physical confrontation throughout, and especially in critical times.

This rushing game has gone from lining-up and smashing people into the mouth to being somewhat apprehensive, and this facet has cost the offense.

There is no reasonable excuse not the have Lawrence Vickers on the field on the fourth and one call. Also, I wouldn't look to run behind LG Eric Steinbach either, as he outside the RT may be the weakest link.

Another area of concern with not only the rushing game but the offense in general is the play of the offensive line. A week ago I noted that center Alex Mack has spent too much time on the ground and missing on assignments. Again against the Panthers, Mack struggled on occasion missing key blocks.

The offensive line is playing like individuals and not as one, which has been a strength of this unit. Communication appears to be lacking and the overall efficiency has dropped considerably.


Has Elam Improved?

racmpc: Abe Elam has had a lot more high profile big plays in the last several weeks.  Has the rest of his game solidified as well?  Any chance he could still grow into a viable long term option at safety?

Adkins' Answer: Elam has been increasingly aggressive overall and his play has improved. While he has played better, it should be noted that the Browns defensive backfield play, despite some issues in communication has been improving.

Elam was asked to step-up and he has. He's far from an elite talent, but he is gaining consistency and is serviceable or better at this time.


Question on Sacks

idrthrbnclevel: It looks like most of our Sacks are really coverage sacks.  It takes awfully long for our LBs and linemen to get to the QB and they almost (although the safety sacks yesterday are an exception) never get there unless the QB can't find a receiver and holds on too long.  Therefore maybe our secondary needs a little more credit and the LBs a little less because the QBs seem to have a lot of time.  Is that how you see it?

Adkins' Answer: The lack of pressure created by the front-seven has been a disappointing development in the 2010 season, as the expectations were much higher.

Being said, the overall play of the LB 's has been better this season -- but again, the lack of pressure has made for some difficult situations for this defense to overcome.

Of course, if you can't get to the QB, the DB's have to cover longer -- which has been a long given dilemma in Cleveland.


Rob Ryan Defensive Design for Sacks?

ramllov: This is a little off the wall, which I will free admit going into the message.

Does Rob Ryan design his defensive scheme focusing on specific players for potential sack opportunities depending upon the opponent?

Abe Elam gets two sacks?

Did Rob Ryan evaluate the opposing team, find the major weaknesses in the offense and design the defensive scheme seeing the high potential for Abe Elam to be the sack guy this week?

I remember last year the Browns had say 40 sacks (I don't remember the exact number).  They had somewhere between 15 to 18 players get at least one sack.

Abe Elam has had three pretty special games the last three games.  Has his light come on?

Adkins' Answer: Ryan schemes to the strength of his personnel, the weakness of the opposition and matches-up strength versus weakness in the game-day scheme.

Elam has been asked to play a somewhat differing role in recent weeks. Whereas Elam was spending considerable time floating in coverage, certainly not his streength -- he has been playing closer to the line and required to be physical and aggressive moving forward.

The Browns have been working more added DB into the mix, as Adams has returned, Ventrone has been on the field a lot, etc.

Elam has played the best ball of his career during this stretch.


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