This Fly is Buzzing

Vinny the Fly returns and he brings the goods from in and around the Browns.

In the weeks since I last landed here at TheOBR.com, plenty has changed in the football world of the Cleveland Browns.

The Good:

•The Browns scored on an opening possession.

Colt McCoy has completed a few passes downfield.

•The Browns have won a game or two.

•We have witnessed personnel moves.

The Bad:

Disappointment is beginning to seep into some on the roster.

The fly has been buzzing around the Browns in recent weeks. This is what I have learned:

Montario Hardesty needs to get on the playing field and show something in the remaining weeks of the 2011 season. The Browns' brass views at the oft-injured running back as a player with talent, but a player that lacks the dependability factor the head coach seeks.

If Hardesty's calf injury isn't improved to the point where he can contribute, the Browns are expected to look in another direction this offseason. That emphasis has grown after Hardesty pulled himself out of pregame warm-ups a week ago.

Peyton Hillis gained kudos with his performance against the Cincinnati Bengals. Hillis, who carried the ball 19 times for 65 yards, gained some slight appreciation from those in the locker room and the head coach. Still, Hillis is far from being looked upon as the guy many believed he was following the 2010 season.

To date, there has not been any more contract discussion between the representative for Hillis and the Browns' front office. Indications are the team is not going to settle into any in-depth talks and will they let Hillis play out the string and become a free agent.

•Whereas Hardesty and Hillis have baggage that a team does not care to deal with, Chris Ogbonnaya is a player those within the team structure like and appreciate. Ogbonnaya walked into Cleveland, worked hard and had played well in the two weeks leading up to Hillis' return.

Hillis gained the vast majority of reps during the Bengals game. Yet some players on the team questioned why Ogbonnaya did not have the opportunity to play more of a role, especially with the knowledge that Hillis' hamstring limited him to being a straight-line runner.

Evan Moore could become a man without a team. Moore did sign a contract extension, but he has become the forgotten man in Cleveland. A significant threat in the red-zone, Moore hasn't been utilized when the Browns have entered the red-zone for weeks.

The Fly has been told, the head coach isn't particularly fond of Moore's inability and lack of determination in the blocking facet of the game. The tight end in Pat Shurmur's West Coast offense must display the ability to do things other than catch the ball.

Because of Moore's inadequacy to block, opposing teams have found it relatively simple to determine what the Browns offense may do when the tight end is on the field.

•Following the Browns' loss in Cincinnati on Sunday, Josh Cribbs expressed his disappointment in the team's losing ways.

Cribbs isn't the only player feeling that way. Numerous players on the offensive side of the ball are disappointed in their amount of opportunities on game day. One player notes he feel as if he is being ‘ignored' regardless of whether he is open or not.

•Adding to the growing discontent is the lack of execution. Some in the locker room point to the head coach as being regimented and steadfast in his scheme, while others point to the inability of McCoy to get after a defense when a match-up favors the Browns' offense.

•The play of McCoy is a touchy subject within the team structure. He is well liked and known as a guy that'll do whatever he has to do to win, but McCoy is lumped in the offense's issues.

McCoy isn't playing freely and isn't one to go against the grain in this West Coast Offense. Rather than heeding the words of those on the playing field — namely wide receivers — McCoy generally stays true to the scheme. He doesn't let himself attack opportunities, as many other quarterbacks are known to do.

The disappointment has become an issue residing within the receiving corps and that issue can only be resolved by the head coach and quarterback.

Offseason Roster Building

•Don't look now, but the Browns are believed to be gearing toward a slight change in course this offseason.

Team president Mike Holmgren is 100 percent behind the roster building efforts of general manager Tom Heckert, but there is a belief the team cannot enter the 2012 season without improving the difference-maker aspect.

The Browns have scouted college quarterbacks, running backs and wide receivers heavily. There is little doubt the organization sees what fans have been complaining about since the new CBA was signed. If you don't have playmakers, you don't win with any regularity in this league.

While the draft is going to be the avenue in how this team is built, the organization appears — now more than ever — willing to consider trade opportunities and free agent player signings as a measure to improve the quality of talent and depth within the roster.

Time to buzz back toward Berea. Look for the next installment to run prior to the game Sunday.


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