The Browns are about to start the toughest part of their 2004 with a home game against the undefeated Philadelphia Eagles. During the next six weeks, not including the bye week, the Browns will be facing two other currently undefeated teams, the New England Patriots and New York Jets.
Quarterback Jeff Garcia has openly complained that he and his receivers are not on the same page, and they have been together since March, so it is hard to believe that Bryant would be any kind of factor until at least after the bye week, even though Andre Davis is now day-to-day with a toe injury.
Cowboy fans have been expecting a trade of Bryant since training camp, when he threw a jersey at Head Coach Bill Parcells. Bryant has been moping since Keyshawn Johnson took top receiver billing in Dallas.
But Bryant's attitude is nothing new. He had attitude problems in college at Pitt, and, from the beginning in Dallas, despite changes in the coaching staff. You would think that a change of scenery would help him, but his track record is not good.
Problems with Morgan in Cleveland, however, just began to surface over the past couple of weeks, when he complained about the amount of balls thrown in his direction. His pre-draft reputation was that he could get open, but didn't run precise patterns and had trouble hanging on to the ball. He lived up to that reputation.
Trades during the season are rare these days in the NFL, especially ones involving players at the same position.
This one has a chance to work out. Bryant obviously needs a change of scenery, and Morgan will get to play closer to his home and family in Garland, Texas.
At least the Browns were able to get more for their disgruntled receiver this year than they were able to get for Kevin Johnson last year, which, of course, was nothing.
For the first time in recent memory, Butch Davis opened up his Cincinnati Bengals post-game press conference with an admission of guilt in the handling of time management at the end of the first half.
He got bailed out by a Jeff Garcia to Aaron Shea touchdown pass on third down with :00 showing on the clock. Had the pass dropped incomplete, the Browns would have left to a thunderous chorus of boos. Instead, they trotted off with a 21-17 halftime lead, despite two Garcia interceptions and a lost fumble.
Clock management has not been a strength of Davis during his four years here.
Once he waited until there were just 7 seconds left in the half, he almost compounded the problem by letting Garcia use a time-developing play, which almost back-fired. At that point, he might have been wiser to just kick the field goal and get out of there with a halftime tie, but as I said before, his players bailed him out.
In the recent Pittsburgh game, down by 21 points late in the third quarter, he chose to kick a field goal, even though he would still need three touchdowns to tie or take the lead.
I know coaches like to put points on the board whenever they can, and they do have point-charts available for strategy purposes, but I would rather see him use a ‘gut feeling' when there is math involved, than a ‘gut feeling' involving starting quarterbacks.
Interceptions are part of the game and are understandable. But fumbled exchanges by the center and quarterback, either in regular formation or in the shotgun, are not.
One of the four Garcia fumbles this year could be attributed to a high snap in the shotgun, but the other three were probably Garcia's fault, either because he lost concentration while planning to avoid getting killed, or he is still suffering from lack of playing time in the pre-season with the first unit.
The Browns got away with four turnovers against a bad Cincinnati team, but they will not recover from giving away field position in the next six games against quality teams.