OBR Daily Blog 1/10

Eight teams remain in the NFL playofs, two from AFC North, one coached by Belichick. *sigh*

Latest Links from the OBR Newswire
OBR Newswire on January 10th, 2011 AT 6:00 PM

These are links from the OBR Newswire for January 10th from 15:09 to 17:04:

Tales From the NFL Playoffs: Part Two
Dave Kolonich on January 10th, 2011 AT 5:37 PM

Unfortunately as a Browns fan, the NFL playoffs have become something of a vicarious experience.  Since the Browns "narrowly" missed out on a postseason spot (by some six games), the closest we can get to the action is via 50 inches of HD Plasma wonder or by rooting against teams such as the Ravens and Steelers. 

Of course, yesterday's Chiefs-Ravens matchup provided some catharsis as Romeo Crennel's defense was yet again shredded by an average passing game. 

Anyway, at the least, the playoffs can represent a blueprint of sorts for the Browns – as they head into the unknown of yet another transitional offseason.

Yesterday, I briefly commented on how the Saints' secondary collapse against Seattle proved the value of drafting quality defensive backs.  In this sense, the Browns have already gained a footing by adding Joe Haden and T.J. Ward this past April.

However, on Sunday, the faults of the two losing teams again turned my attention back to the Browns.

The first example came in Kansas City, where the Chiefs were victimized by what appeared to be a one-dimensional offensive attack.  As for that one dimension, I'm assuming the Chiefs are still defined as a run-first offense.  Yet on Sunday, this running game proved meaningless as Matt Cassell melted down against the Raven defense.

Anyway, the comparisons to the Browns' offense were quite remarkable.  At the moment, the Chiefs possess one downfield threat in the form of Dwayne Bowe.  Naturally, this is one more deep threat than the Browns currently boast.  Anyway, without a secondary receiver to take pressure off Bowe, the Chiefs' passing game ground to a halt. 

As it relates to the Browns, the front office combination of Mike Holmgren and Tom Heckert desperately need to add a playmaking wide receiver in the offseason.  Consider this point as the Browns essentially being two receivers behind the rest of the league's playoff contenders.

However, one thing the Chiefs do have going for them is a big play threat out of the backfield in Jamal Charles.  Despite a lack of overall touches, Charles was effective in running to the edges of the Raven front seven.  Perhaps this is the best way to attack the Ravens' front line, as their bulky linemen are not used to tracking plays horizontally.

Unfortunately for the Browns, there is not a player on the current roster capable of doing so.  While Peyton Hillis was a revelation in 2010, his strength does not lie in sprinting to the outside.  While Hillis can be exceptional, the point here is that adding a complementary back should be considered a priority for 2011.

Moving to Sunday's nightcap, I could totally relate to the fourth quarter shot of Eagles' right tackle Winston Justice sitting by himself on the bench.  After having been repeatedly victimized by Green Bay's Clay Mathews, Justice was pulled from the game.  In a scene reminiscent of much of John St. Clair's Cleveland career, the value of an effective right tackle could not have been better demonstrated.

Heading into 2011, adding a quality right tackle needs to be an early-round draft priority – particularly if the Browns are going to further emphasize the passing game.  For the offense to become consistent, a plodding veteran like St. Clair finally needs to be replaced.

Conversely, the play of Mathews was extraordinary.  Using his speed and great body placement, Mathews was disruptive throughout the game.  Even on the plays when he didn't pressure Mike Vick, Mathews was able to throw off the timing of the Philadelphia passing game. 

Of course, back in Cleveland, we all know that six years worth of the 3-4 defense has not produced a pass rusher even remotely comparable to Mathews.  For the Browns to truly evolve in 2011, this situation has to be addressed – either in the form of adding a top-flight player or changing the defensive philosophy.

Or both – if it results in actually gaining a real playoff experience in the coming years.

Browns sign three players
Don Delco on January 10th, 2011 AT 4:22 PM

The Cleveland Browns signed three free-agent players Monday for the 2011 season in quarterback Jarrett Brown (6-foot-3, 225 pounds), defensive lineman Scott Paxson (6-4, 290) and defensive back Ramzee Robinson (5-10, 190).

Brown, out of West Virginia, spent last season on the 49ers practice squad while Paxon, out of Penn State, spent last season at the Steelers training camp and Robinson, out of Alabama, spent last season on the Redskins practice squad

8:22 AM

Joe’s Personnel Evaluation: Offense: With the season complete, Joe Brownlee examines of Browns’ personnel. Today… http://bit.ly/gFyp2F

OBR Newswire updates for January 9th through January 10th
OBR Newswire on January 10th, 2011 AT 8:00 AM

These are links from the OBR Newswire for January 9th through January 10th:

The OBR Top Stories