Of Course Winslow Should Have Been In!

<BR>Les offers up his mid-week look at the Browns, including his thoughts on what was right - and wrong - about how the Browns handled their last-gasp moments in Dallas. Plus, thoughts on the injury situation and why Jeff Garcia's <i>real</I> passing rating from last Sunday. Here's this week's Truth and Reason... <BR><BR>

The Browns deserve a lot of criticism for the way they played and for what appeared to be a lack of a good game plan (and for not adjusting very well at halftime) against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday, but anyone who knows anything about football knows that it is unfair for Butch Davis to be criticized for the Kellen Winslow, Jr. injury. 

Winslow will miss the next 8 to 10 games, or most likely the rest of the season, after breaking a bone in his leg when his own teammate landed on it while going after the successful onside kick in the last few seconds of the game.  As long as the game has been played, the ‘good hands' people are the ones that are on the field, offensively and defensively, for plays like that.  Besides, part of Winslow's value is his ability to be a special teams player, and Davis has claimed for some time that Winslow would block a punt in a crucial situation this year.

If you want to criticize the Browns for anything regarding the use of Winslow, the reason jumps out at you on the stats sheet. 

In the opener against Baltimore, Winslow had just three catches (he did drop one other), and he had just one catch for 11 yards against Dallas.  There has to be a way to get the ball to him 8 to 10 times a game, especially when the wide receiving crew has trouble holding on to the ball for the few times Jeff Garcia has been able to find them.  The Cowboys, with outside weapons like Keyshawn Johnson and Terry Glenn, had no trouble finding their tight end all game long, and he isn't signed to a $41 million contract.

If you are looking to criticize Davis for anything regarding the onside kick, it would be that it took place too late. 

When the Browns started their ‘drive' on the two yard line, with no times outs remaining, and trailing by 5, Davis appeared upset when the holding penalty was called on Joaquin Gonzales in the end zone, resulting in a safety, to bring the margin to 7 points. 

In reality, that was the only chance the Browns had to get into position for the ‘Hail Mary' pass.  Had they taken an intentional safety on the first play, instead of running off time with a sideline pass for ten to fifteen yards, they would have been able to attempt the onside kick with ten seconds more on the clock, which would have allowed them a sideline pass or two to get into better position for Luke McCown's pass attempt. 

It was a long shot, at best, but I know that Bill Belichick would have done it.


Much has been made of the 0.0 Quarterback rating that Jeff Garcia ran up on Sunday.  The truth is that the NFL has their own version of the Little League Mercy Rule.

The actual figure was –9.4, but the NFL treats it like the college SATs---if you spell your name right, you get some points. 

While it doesn't take a genius to figure out that 0.0 isn't very good, not many understand how the rating is figured.  Third string QB Luke McCown came into the game to throw an incomplete desperation pass at the end of the game, and he racked up a 39.6 rating.  How is that possible?


As the season rolls on, look for the spinmasters to place the blame on some losses on the injuries, especially the ones racked up against Dallas.  Incredibly, three first round draft choices will be lost for much or all of the season as a result of that game. 

But, while the injuries probably will be a factor the rest of the way, they were not the reason the Browns lost on Sunday. 

Winslow's broken leg took place in the last few seconds, and the injuries to Courtney Brown and Gerard Warren didn't change the fact that the defense gave up 17 points (enough to win NFL games), and came up with three interceptions in the last quarter to put them in position to win the game, when Vinny went back in time and reverted back to the Vinny we know and love.

Every team suffers key injuries.  Some of them involve more important players than others, but at least 36 first stringers around the league will miss at least this week's game.

The coaching staff and players can't allow the injuries to be an excuse.  They must find alternative ways to be successful.  This is the fourth year of Butch Davis' tenure with the Browns.  The injuries should not give him ‘a pass' with the ownership or the fans if this year is written off.


‘More Sports & Les Levine' can be seen nightly Monday through Friday from 6-7pm with replays at 11pm on Adelphia Channel 15.  ‘More Les' is aired after selected Cleveland Indians games on FSN OHIO.  Les can be reached at www.leslevine.com

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