Thoughts and Premium Notes

Pittsburgh Steelers 27 – Cleveland Browns 11. Different year yet the result remains the same.

Pittsburgh Steelers 27 – Cleveland Browns 11.

Different year yet the result remains the same.

QB play stunk, turned the ball (yet another interception return for a TD, but at the least the Browns didn't have a punt blocked this week) and the continued failure to display any desire to establish a threat of running the football……

This is your 2013 Cleveland Browns.

Another disappointing loss furthers the Browns from what has been a false sense of playoff contention in Cleveland.

Simply put, this team is not nearly ready for prime-time. A few missing pieces separate the Browns from being a legitimate contender in the AFC North.

It all STARTS at the quarterback position.

Not the inability to run the ball. Nor is the inability to get the defense off the field on third-down (which has greatly improved over the past 10 quarters of play).

It all STARTS at the quarterback position.

Dropped passes, questionable play-calling (abandoning of the run) and the lack of play-makers (LB's, RB's and everyone not named Josh Gordon) only enhance the mediocre performance of a Browns game-day experience.

It all STARTS at the quarterback position.

The inability to execute the basics on game-day goes a long way to success. The inability to get the ball down-field only magnifies the deficiencies within the present Cleveland offense and the player lining-up under center.

The losses of the past two weeks aren't only reflective of QB Jason Campbell, but the Browns offense, including the coaching staff.

Campbell is injured (ribs and concussion) and hasn't played well of late. The Browns being reluctant to hand the reigns over to Brandon Weeden is a telling tale as to the confidence the organization has in the QB as well as to the lack of future Weeden has in Cleveland.

The veteran Campbell isn't looked upon as "the guy" long-term, he was "the guy" for the now. Media and fans alike make issue of Campbell checking down quickly to secondary receivers and this is a legitimate issue –as well as the injury factor contributing to the outcome.

On Sunday, the Browns did not solely lose due to the play of their QB.

But, it all STARTS at the quarterback position, as witnessed by the Browns season thus far in 2013.

As disappointing as the losses have been, the loss of QB Brian Hoyer (ACL surgery) may be the biggest disappointment this season. Hoyer may not be the answer to the Browns QB woes, but the local native provided a spark and leadership long missing from the equation in Cleveland.


* In watching the Browns, especially offensively there appears to be a lack of emotion or excitement. A common factor just may be the QB's, Jason Campbell and Brandon Weeden are very low-key personalities which display little emotion -- no spark, no fire. The opposite is true about Brian Hoyer, who just happens to be describer as very excitable and a leader.

* The NFL is a QB driven league. If you don't have one, the odds are long a team will taste success on a consistent basis. Scheme plays into the equation as does execution and trusting the QB. In seeing the difference between Pittsburgh's Ben Roethlisberger and the Browns' Jason Campbell and Brandon Weeden, the difference in talent and utilizing the talent is evident.

* Pass happy teams generally don't win at this level, especially when the QB isn't very good and the receivers are questionable as a unit. In Pittsburgh, Roethlisberger can audible out of plays, in Cleveland the wrath of Norv Turner is to run what is called. Even the worst of QB's have the ability to see mismatches, etc – now the execution would be the challenge.

* Running the ball isn't a bad thing, especially when you have a struggling and injured QB on the field. The Browns inexcusable method of abandoning the run has added pressure onto a QB and passing game which isn't talented enough to win individual battles on a consistent basis.

* ILB D'Qwell Jackson has played some of his best football the past few weeks.

* CB Joe Haden was embarrassed about the TD reception surrendered to Pittsburgh's Antonio Brown. Haden has attempted to be more aggressive and got caught looking at the QB when beaten by Brown as Haden also viewed a receiver uncovered underneath and over top help was late.

* I am still confused as to the reluctance of the Browns defensive staff to pressure receivers more often. As has been the case in nearly every game this season, the Browns provide too much cushion and a good QB can pick them apart in the short game, setting up vertical opportunities. It's understandable to a point due to coverage issue at safety, but watching a Browns game every week is nearly a rerun defensively.

* My question to get to the bottom of this week is, "Has DC Ray Horton over-complicated matters in scheme, which has reflected in lessening results from specific defensive personnel of impact?"

***More thoughts on the loss to come***


* With his 14-catch, 237 yard performance against the Steelers, WR Josh Gordon continues to gain experience and put up solid numbers for a Browns team lacking play-makers. Whether he can remain a good soldier or not, the Browns were right in not trading the budding star…………now, get a QB and a viable number-two receiver on the field to open this offense up.

* Gordon is the first Cleveland Browns receiver to have five 100-yard receiving games in the same season in team history. When talking about Gordon with a member of the organization, what was relayed was quite interesting, "To think we (the Browns) seriously considered trading him for the right price is just insane. He is the one player that could actually pull in 100-yards a game, if we could get him the ball."

* The Browns have talked to the agents of free agent QB's over the past two weeks and have discussed at least one free agent QB Sunday following the loss to Pittsburgh.

* QB Jason Campbell (ribs, concussion) right now doesn't look good to be ready, even in a backup role next week against Jacksonville. At times the rib injury has restricted his ability to throw the vertical ball without serious pain. The concussion suffered during the game will only further hamper the veteran signal-caller.

* Browns rep quote, "The belief is we have a player in (Brian) Hoyer we need to see more of, but are very high on him. His time as a backup helped him as a young player to learn how to play the position and lead. He is the most physically gifted, but does everything you want to see from a starting quarterback in this league."

* On the draft and free agency (Browns rep), "We will not see the same group of QB's on this roster next season. We will have Hoyer here, we will add a player or two from the draft and free agency."

* The Browns have wanted to establish the run in internal discussions, but lack the confidence in the RB's as a group to have a chance to gain success. The lack of persistence in sticking with the run has only added further pressure on a passing game which has been terribly inconsistent due to execution issues.

* RB Fozzy Whittaker will continue to gain reps. The Browns want to see whether Whittaker has the ability to run the ball between the tackles. Presently, the Browns believe Whittaker has the ability to be a potential third-down type RB, but have reservations due to dropping some balls in practice and game situations.

* When RB Bobby Rainey (former Brown) rushed for over 160 yards and scored two touchdowns for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers a week ago, a question was posed to a member of the Browns organization as to their thoughts. In gist the response was, "he never had an opportunity to establish himself here and he didn't grasp the opportunity either. He is what he is and isn't that player, game-in and game-out."

* Late in the week rookie LB Barkevious Mingo was talked up as being a player the team needed more from in the coming weeks. Mingo got off to a quick start to the season and has faded into oblivion over the past month. Mingo will work this off-season to gain strength and learn the art of hand-fighting.

* In the weeks to come it's likely the Browns will be flip-flopping OLB's Jabaal Sheard and Paul Kruger more. The Browns defensive staff is looking at match-ups in situation packages as a means to potentially getting each player into an increased role of impact.

The OBR Top Stories