Are the Browns everything we thought they were?
That question certainly isn’t meant in a positive way.
My football game-day week from Sunday through Tuesday generally consists of watching the game live, watching again, taking in the All-22, talking to a handful of players and team confidants and working through the usual mess.
Only, the mess remains the same.
There are so many ways to say the Cleveland Browns are not an inspired football. There are only so many adjectives to describe the levels of inconsistency and inadequacy this team portrays.
When watching this team, the story remains the same — ineptness reigns, coach-speak bellows to closing ears of a cultivating culture which has amassed 10 losses in the past 12 games.
Void of playmakers, an inability to consistently execute the fundamentals, player utilization and simply questioning the overall talent within the roster are come to mind when sifting through this Cleveland Browns team.
On the defensive side of the ball they’ll play solid, fundamental football, they will tease you with execution (not yourself, mind you), only to seize in the moment, failing to make the most common of play — such as tackling a ball carrier, an art taught at the earliest level of playing football as a child. In an era when shoulder blocking a ball-carrier is the norm, not the exception, the Browns whiff aimlessly.
Billed as a physical team that will run the football — this Browns team has a serious problem. They can’t run the ball, the horses you ride to strip the will from the opposition are not in place - not in the trenches and certainly not on the coaching staff.
The highly touted Cleveland offensive line has been a huge disappointment. Much as playing run defense is part attitude and desire, the Browns offensive linemen are not physical in any regard. While not built to be a man-blocking, punch your opponent in the mouth type of group, these Browns show little fire off the snap and have gained the reputation of being soft — on film it’s difficult to disagree with the sentiment.
This isn’t to point toward all the issue being due to the Browns offensive line, but the reality is this group plays on their heels. While the game evolves, one particular part of the game doesn’t change — you have to be able to play in the trenches and the Browns have been a monumental failure in this regard.
I could sit and write 5,000 words on what occurred during a game, breaking down plays, describing what should or could have happened for them to be successful. In Cleveland there is no cohesion, the chemistry of a unit, a position working in unison is muddled. The act of running the football, an ages old art couldn’t be more lost than it is in Cleveland.
Why is this so? How could running the football, blocking for the QB be such a dire issue for an offensive line consisting of highly drafted personnel?
We see a group of technicians along the Browns offensive line, talent better suited to be zone-blockers. In Cleveland we see the Browns play a combo-line scheme, not simply man-blockers, not solely zone-blockers.
Football hasn’t changed in one regard — it’s still a physical game and you must win individual battles if you expect to win the war.
And getting into the ass of the opposition is what good teams do.
The next Mike Pettine press conference when the head coach doesn’t discuss the numerous penalties, the various mental errors his team commits, the injuries and what they could have done better — will be the first
The shoulder injury suffered by Josh McCown is not deemed serious, not structural. But he will be limited, the Browns way of saying he is not going to be doing much but observing in practice on Wednesday. McCown has insisted he believes he'll be ready to go for Sunday, in the meantime Johnny Manziel will be gaining starter reps.
According to a team confidant, the league has not gained any additional information to date - other that what has been subject of police reports and statements Manziel gave the Avon Police Department and the Browns regarding the incident with his girlfriend.
TheOBR has learned Browns team owner Jimmy Haslam was VERY disturbed with the team - organization during and following the loss in St. Louis. Haslam was believed to have been as disappointed in the effort of numerous team personnel and the outcome of the game as he has been in some time.
LB Craig Robertson will be returning to the practice field this week and dependent on how he looks/feels, could play on Sunday
Safety Tashaun Gipson will test his ankle in individual drills to see where he is physically -- at this time the safety is questionable.
CB Joe Haden has cleared the concussion protocol and will be on the practice field.