The Owl: Break Up the Wake

The Owl fluttered down once more before the sun rose with an urgent message to Browns fans and quarterback Jeff Garcia. He has been talking with his West Coast counterparts and had a concerned expression on his face as he dropped his latest message and flew off. More sage wisdom from the deepest and most secret realm of the Berea forest...

Last week The Owl flew in to crash the party after the Browns beat the Ravens in the season opener.

This week it's time to break up the wake.

There is no way the Browns offense can be as bad as it was in Dallas. They have 14 games left and are bound to score a touchdown before Christmas.

The Owl wants to see more patience from Jeff Garcia. He has nervous feet. You see that a lot in young players. You shouldn't see it in a guy in his 11th year of pro ball, his sixth in the NFL. Even Coach Butch Davis said Garcia "got a little bit nervous" after Garcia's protection broke down in Dallas.

Whether the problem is Garcia, the offensive line, or a combination of both, it is fair to wonder how well Garcia fits into the scheme offensive coordinator Terry Robiskie is using. The offense is not drastically different from what Bruce Arians used the last three years. It's just that Robiskie is placing a greater emphasis on run plays than Arians did.

Robiskie and Garcia have been hanging out in film rooms and practice fields since March 8, yet Garcia says Robiskie ‘is probably still feeling out what kind of player I am as far as how he wants to best utilize me.'

If Robiskie doesn't know how to use Garcia yet, we have a problem, Cleveland.

Davis agrees with The Owl about the need for patience. Or maybe The Owl agrees with the coach since he said it first and The Owl was only thinking it. But since The Owl has been around Coach since the beginning of camp, maybe there's a little telepathy going on here.

 "I want us to become efficient and do what we do best and not try to do things we can't do," Davis said. "Things we can't do today, we might be able to do in two weeks or four weeks or six weeks. We're going to get better.

"Guys have to quit trying to trying to score 70-yard touchdowns on one play. You don't eat an elephant in one bite. Sometimes it takes you thousands of bites to eat that elephant. We might have to make it at six or seven yards a whack. Touchdowns will come as a by-product of making first downs."

Who was trying to score that 70-yard touchdown on one play in Dallas? It was Garcia, the man who plays football like his pants are on fire and a defensive lineman is chasing him with a can of gasoline. Garcia missed wide open Quincy Morgan on one play last week and then tried to complete a long one to Dennis Northcutt on the next play. Kellen Winslow Jr. was open and Garcia didn't even see him.

Don't get the wrong idea, here. Last week The Owl praised Garcia for his leadership, and that's still the situation. That leadership is vitally important with the injuries the Browns are trying to overcome. But part of being a leader is knowing when to run at 80 M.P.H. and when to slow down.

Garcia lost his 49ers team last year, from what The Owl's cousin, The Hawk, in San Francisco says. It must be true, because when Garcia got here he talked about how he and the 49er receivers never talked after getting to the sideline.

Garcia is playing here like he wants to be the hero from Day One. He doesn't have to do it all by himself.

Chill, Jeff. The receivers here love you, but they won't for long if you don't get them the ball. Drop back five steps and chuck the rock. Don't run out of the pocket so quickly. This offense is not designed for that. The Browns might have told you in March they would alter the offense to suit your style of moving around, but you're playing behind a wall of 300-pounders hired for their strength and power. They were not hired because they're light on their feet and able to go where you want to go.

"I have to be very good about evaluating myself as far as ‘Do I move too soon?' ‘Am I leaving the pocket too early?' ‘Did I have a chance to stay in the pocket?' Garcia said. "I don't believe I was leaving the pocket early (in Dallas). I think because of the situation I was forced to move. At that point, I was just trying to make a play and we got out of our rhythm.

"I know come Sunday, I will be prepared as well as possible physically and mentally for the New York Giants and play better football than I played (in Dallas). That's just my own passion and belief in myself as to what I bring to this team."

We believe in you, Jeff. You just have to believe in the 10 other guys around you.


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