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.