Browns Report Card

Our friends at TheInsiders have supplied us with this report card on the Browns play last Sunday, with some additional notes. This report card would get my kids grounded.

The Cleveland Browns played Sunday's game in New England without William Green and four starters on the offensive line, but the team's problems go beyond the injuries.

The offense has scored 14 or fewer points in six of eight games. Twice the defense has given up nine points to teams, both times the Browns lost.

The wide receivers, supposedly a team strength, are not getting open and not making plays, and both quarterbacks -- Tim Couch and Kelly Holcomb -- have been mediocre at best.

"I don't know what it is; I really don't," Couch said.

The team's offense lacks an identity. When Green plays, they try to run. When he didn't they couldn't pass.

The Browns head into their bye week 3-5 and sinking.

Three weeks after the team's best game, a big win in Pittsburgh, the Browns are stumbling badly. The bye couldn't come at a better time.

Browns Report Card Vs. Patriots

PASSING OFFENSE: D -- Tim Couch and Kelly Holcomb have been baffled all season by the Cover-2 schemes that defense are using against them. Teams are daring the Browns to beat them the short way by dropping deep and taking away big plays to the team's wide receivers. New England played man when it blitzed, but it used a lot of Cover-2 to hold the Browns to one measly field goal.

RUSHING OFFENSE: C -- James Jackson averaged 4.7 yards on his 15 carries, which was good. The running game, though, never really was a major threat to the Patriots defense.

RUSH DEFENSE: D -- One week after LaDainian Tomlinson ran for 200 yards on the Browns, Kevin Faulk gained 96 yards. The significance: Faulk is no Tomlinson. Yet time and again, Faulk was able to pick up five, seven, 12 yards when the Patriots needed it.

PASS DEFENSE: C -- Tom Brady threw for 259 yards, but the Patriots never got near the end zone. Brady's throws moved the Patriots, but the Browns were able to keep him from getting touchdowns.

SPECIAL TEAMS: C-plus -- Chris Gardocki's punting was outstanding, but the Browns needed a big return from Dennis Northcutt or Andre Davis to beat the Patriots. They didn't get it.

COACHING: C -- Give Butch Davis credit for keeping the Browns playing hard even though they have many injuries. The team fights hard every play. But the offense's struggles are baffling, and need to be solved if the Browns are to have a chance at a playoff charge in the second half.

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