A guy stopped me in a restaurant on Tuesday night and said, ‘I am really optimistic about the Browns chances on Sunday, because of the success Romeo Crennel has had against Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts'. I responded that ‘Romeo had the personnel to do that, and I doubt that he actually made any tackles against the Colts over the years'.
At Wednesday's meeting with the media, Crennel said virtually the same thing. He said ‘I look over past tapes and as far as I can tell, I didn't make one tackle'.
There is no question that the Patriots had success against the Colts in recent years, but the weather in New England had a lot to do with it. Manning, while still the outstanding QB in the game today, is a different player in the controlled environment of his home indoor stadium, than he is in the swirling winds and cold of November/Decembers games on the road.
Offensive and defensive schemes always work better when the proper personnel is in place, and nobody, especially Romeo, feels that the Browns are anywhere near where the Patriots were while running three out of four Super Bowls. Not yet, at least.
Trent Dilfer, the AFC Player of the Week, said that he is very familiar with what Manning does on the field, but doesn't think there are any other QBs out there (himself included) who have the proper mix of athleticism and understanding of the game to be able to do the same. Dilfer said that several quarterbacks are envious of the no-huddle offense and Manning's ability to thrive in it, but it is just too complicated for anyone else.
Crennel was asked whether Manning is in a controlled chaos situation. Crennel said it wasn't as bad as it seemed, because, by running the no-huddle offense, there is plenty of time on the play clock to go through all of the reads that he must do. Added to that is the problem of not being able to make wholesale substitutions on defense. Many times, only one change can be made, and usually for conditioning purposes, rather than down-and-distance situations.
Dilfer's performance in Green Bay should silence the chants of ‘Charlie, Charlie, Charlie' when the Browns return to Cleveland Browns Stadium after the bye week next week. Dilfer did exactly what he was brought in here to do. He has the perfect temperament and ability to be the transition quarterback until Charlie Frye is ready.
Chris Palmer's firing, after only two games into the season, as offensive coordinator in Houston, confirms what I have always said about expansion teams. Now that there are 32 teams in the NFL, I would doubt that expansion is in the near future. But, based on what happened in Cleveland with Tim Couch and in Houston, with David Carr, expansion teams should NEVER use the first pick of the draft to take the ‘franchise quarterback of the future'. By the time that quarterback is ready to really contribute, assuming he was the right choice to begin with, he will be too beat up because of the inadequate line play in front of him over the first few years.
Troy Aikman was probably the exception to that theory. Archie Manning, the father of Peyton and Eli, was a great player for a lot of years with New Orleans, but the rest of the team never caught up with him. In the future, whether it involves an expansion team or a bad team that has the worst record in the NFL, if the top player on the board is a quarterback, that pick MUST be traded for depth at other important positions. By the end of Year Six of the return of the Browns, they still hadn't recovered from the pick of Couch, coupled with the lack of ability to surround him with any weapons.
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