We plan to continue this year what we did last year on this blog. For home games we will spend the pregame time going to different establishments and tailgates near the stadium. For away games we will go to popular local watering holes, or visit with a Browns Backers club at their choice of establishment. If we are on the road doing a college game on Saturday, we will try to find the nearest local Browns Backers club and spend Sunday with them. It’s been a blast in the past and we hope it continues for this year!
For the game at Pittsburgh this past Sunday we wanted to go to a place that was going to be fun to be at and had a lot of energy. With the Tribe still in the playoff race and having a home game at the same time as the Browns Steelers game, we decided on Panini’s at East 9th and Huron. It was a great choice. We were able to watch both games at the same time on big screens, plus there was a lot of energy in the place with people coming and going from the baseball game and really becoming energized as the Browns came back in the second half.
What can I say about the game that hasn’t been said? I loss is still a loss, especially to the Steelers. But I think there are some positives we can take away from this game.
The Browns have a reasonably talented roster with a lot of young solid players. It is amazing with all the changes in the front office and coaches that they have been able to accumulate the talent they have. And in the second half last Saturday they showed what they got.
However, at least for the time being, the Browns at times are going to look like a team that has had three coaches in three years, four in the last five. And remember, with all the rookies on the team are in their second systems in two years, so everyone on the team has a lot of lingo and ideas and philosophies floating around in their heads. But I really like this current coaching staff, Ray Farmer and his staff for the most part have done a good job, and hopefully a period of stability has finally come to the sidelines and the front office.
And looking like a team with three coaches in three years is exactly how they played in the first half. Tentative, hesitant, unsure what to do. But what ever was said and done at halftime worked, and the team played a lot better in the second half.
Rookie cornerback Justin Gilbert had a rough afternoon, but he is playing the toughest position in sports and you have to learn on the job. The next time the Browns face the Steelers he will be facing their receivers for the second time and things should go better. Evan Hanford struggled as a young corner. Once the whole defense got n a good rhythm in the second half I really liked what was going on. Players like Paul Krueger and Barkevious Mingo were moved around and doing different things and it was showing results. The defense could be very, very good.
The offense, like the defense, needed some time to get its rhythm. You had to like the running game, especially the work of the two rookie backs Terrance West and Isaiah Crowell. We still don’t know the extent of Ben Tate’s injury, hope it isn’t serious, he played well too. The offensive line got dominated in the first half and dominated in the second. Lets hope they can start putting four quarters together.
The passing game showed promise. After Jordan Cameron’s shoulder acted up again, the other tight ends Gary Banidge and Jim Dray made some nice plays. You got to like the little guys out wide, especially Taylor Gabriel and Andrew Hawkins.
If Josh Gordon really comes back he will help everyone on offense. The Browns without him do not have a deep threat. Plus there is the big ugly secret that fans and the media do not talk about but every defensive coach in the NFL knows. Neither Browns quarterback can consistently go deep out of the pocket, and I am talking NFL deep. Deep like John Elway and Tom Brady and Carson Palmer and Jim Plunkett deep. Brian Sipe did not have the strongest arm, but when he had to go downtown he could. Almost all of the long touchdown passes in both Hoyer’s and Manziel’s careers, both college and pro, have been short to medium range passes with a lot of running after the catch. For a team to win a championship in the NFL they must be able to run the ball and attack all of the field with a passing game. I don’t see that happening with either Browns quarterback.
But I don’t want to end this as a downer. The Browns are greatly improved and should keep getting better. And don’t blame the Browns for their quarterback situation. How many quality downfield true NFL quarterbacks are there? Manning, Brady, Brees, Big Ben, and Carson Palmer are all on the north side of thirty. The kids in Cincinnati and Atlanta are still too inconsistent. Kyle Kapernick and Cam Newton are still works in progress. There is just not that many good quarterbacks around the league.
The excitement of the Indians win and the Browns loss, both games that went down to wire, had really worn on me. Even though the game had ended and hour earlier, everyone went to see the Indians play went to a near by restaurant or bar to watch the end of the Browns game. The streets were still crowded with post game traffic as I walked back up Prospect where my car was parked. Even though they had lost, the Browns comeback as well as the Indians win put a buzz through the people on the street.
We are always looking for new places to go to watch the games on television when the Browns are on the road. Drop us an email if you have a suggestion at firstname.lastname@example.org.